Election tampering by a Smartmatic insider


THREE years of election automation—2010, 2013, and 2016. Surely the COMELEC has learned many lessons from the experience, one of which, hopefully, is that the anomaly of entrusting our elections—democracy’s most important activity—to a foreign company, should be corrected.

Ask yourself this question: Why are our elections managed and run by foreigners? And at a cost of billions of our pesos! It does not require deep thinking to see how wrong that is. Even worse, these foreigners, because of a badly designed automated system, have the power to determine who should win and become our leaders, and who should not.

For years, I have been saying that the Smartmatic PCOS/VCM (Precinct Count Optical Scan/Vote Counting Machine) system is very vulnerable to tampering by an insider, realistically, upon instructions from a higher official in the organization. By insider, I mean a technical person working with the COMELEC, or with Smartmatic.

I have said that so often—during radio and TV interviews and in my articles—that Mr. Sixto Brillantes, when he was chairman of the COMELEC, dared me to prove that statement. I suspected then that the reason he posed that dare was that he thought I would have to do the tampering myself! He probably got a bit confused with what “tampering by an insider” meant.

Anyway, he made the dare official during a JCOC (Joint Congressional Oversight Committee) hearing at the Senate. He asked me to list down the equipment I would need for the demonstration. I readily accepted the dare and told him to produce in the next JCOC hearing a PCOS machine, a laptop, and a Smartmatic technical person who knows the software.

I explained what I would do: that I would ask the Smartmatic technical person to point out to me where in the various computer programs the various functionalities are. I would then tell him what to alter in the programs, if, for instance, I would want to change the elections results.

Perhaps finally realizing what “tampering by an insider” meant, Mr. Brillantes withdrew his challenge and never brought up the matter again.

Actually, my being asked to prove the statement that the Smartmatic system was vulnerable to tampering by an insider was totally unnecessary … because Smartmatic itself has proven it—on four different occasions.

The first time was when Smartmatic “corrected” the results in several precincts in Wao, Lanao del Sur, during the canvassing of the 2008 ARMM election. I understand that they even did this remotely from Manila. The second time was during the 2010 National and Local Elections (NLE), when they “corrected” the number of registered voters, which reached 250 million! For these situations to occur, there must have been “bugs,” or errors in the Smartmatic software.

The third time was during the 2013 senatorial elections, when Smartmatic “corrected” the total votes of Sen. Poe that reached 12 million after only the first two hours of canvassing. The fourth time was during last May 9’s NLEs, when Marlon Garcia, of Smartmatic, “corrected” the “?” in some of the candidates’ names and changed them to “ñ”. Again, Smartmatic had to make these “corrections” because of software bugs.

It is so unfair that we would pay them billions of pesos for machines and software, which were not fully tested. We don’t even know if those “bugs” were planted so they would have an excuse to tamper with the programs.

An equally serious anomaly that needs to be corrected is the lack of transparency in the elections process.

No voter saw the precinct counting, so nobody knows if the votes were counted correctly or not. We just accepted the results given us by machines that were programmed by Smartmatic. (Yes, Virginia, there is human intervention even in an automated system.) What if some insider tampered with the software? We wouldn’t know. What if there were again “bugs” in those programs? We wouldn’t know.

Neither would we know if someone tampered with the Election Returns (ERs) while they were being transmitted electronically to the City/Municipal Boards of Canvassers. Nor would we know if someone tampered with the canvassing software and the results as they were being transmitted to the next canvassing level. We would know nothing because the process is so non-transparent.

We recommended a simple step that would have added transparency in the electronic transmission and in the canvassing, but despite the COMELEC’s commitment to incorporate that step, they didn’t implement it. Not properly, anyway. Were they averse to a transparent system? Or don’t the Commissioners appreciate the value of transparency? And the value of controls in an election process?

Three COMELEC generations—under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo, Atty. Sixto Brillantes and, now, Atty. Andres Bautista—and not one of them realized the anomaly of a foreign group managing our elections and of an election system that is not transparent, despite being required by law?

THESE ANOMALIES MUST BE CORRECTED. If the Commissioners can’t do it, then perhaps they should step aside for those who can before the 2019 mid-term elections.


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  1. Juan T. Delacruz on

    To all those people and morons claiming to be expert in computers, programming, or IT expert in general, the camp of Sen. Marcos, through his lawyers- Mr. Garcia and Mr. dela Cruz need your help. They need your expertise by showing them how the VCMs or/and the transparency servers shaved votes from some candidates and added the shaved votes to the other candidates. To those self claimed programming experts, they also need your expertise and show them how the added “script language” could change the vote count on the candidates. This is the only way the COMELEC can legally entertain or act to the “chis-miss” that election rigging or election tampering have occurred.

    • Matt Aliño on

      The IT experts know that the issue here is not about a defeated BBM. The real issue being tackled here is the integrity of Smartmatic and the honesty of Comelec.

      You should know! Otherwise, count yourself as one of the group you called above as MORONS.

    • Pilipino Ako on

      And you leading a team of non-morons, non-experts proving that vote counts were not affected by the adding of unauthorized scripts and that scripts are not executed by CPUs.


    we paid them to destroy the foundation of democracy.

    we do not have any democracy today because we sold them to foreigners and those who can pay their price.

    we only have the idol of money.

  3. Sir,
    The random precinct manual count will not be useful because the major tampering/intervention will be done on the transmissions from precinct cluster to municipal/city servers. They know how to intervene.

  4. HI-TECH machine is no use, it can be manupulated coz it is also a man-made equipment.

    Why not inform COMELEC to sudgest a law to safeguard this on-going untrusted election. ‘ DISQUALIFICATION may the key for those comfirmed cheater”

    But the law must be law & should be well practiced. yun mga kasabwat ikulong at pag-multahin ng malaking halaga. (connivance is a crime)

  5. Brian Blackwell on

    Let me see if I understand all this election rigging stuff in the Manila Times. I deduce that if Marcos had won the VP battle no such allegations would have surfaced? Am I right or what?

  6. Amnata Pundit on

    Hindi naman bobo si Brillantes, diba? Kaya alam na alam niya kung ano ang ginagawa niya kasama ng Smartmatic. Wala ng ibang conclusion diyan kungdi nananadya sila, at tahimik lang ang Simbahan, Makati Business Club at ang mga iput (Kano) na alam ng lahat na hinding hindi papayag kapag ang gumagawa nitong Smartmatic/Comelec scam na ito ay si Marcos. By the silence of these powerful forces we can easily tell now who are really sodomizing the people, and in broad daylight at that.

  7. Juan T. Delacruz on

    Last October, COMELEC invited all interested parties to come inspect and scrutinize the voting machines that they used in May 9 election. Therefore, Mr. Gus Lagman was given the opportunity to inspect the voting machines and should have asked many security questions about the hardware, software and firmware being used, what are the system capabilities and limitations are.

    There are no anomalies with the system used in the election since the beginning. The AES system anomalies only exist in the small brains of people like Mr. Gus Lagman, who do not understand how computers process DATA, and the configurations of the system used in the election. Manipulation of votes is impossible to achieve, for those people that understand how computers talk, such as “stimulus and response” and how these machines are NETWORKED, CONFIGUERED, and these systems communicate to each other by AUTHENTICATION, to ensure the connectivity are the same as how they were configured.

    There are two party password methods that they used and the parties must enter their assigned passwords before any of the SMARTMATIC technician or the COMELEC technician need to do something with the system. If they happen to load a virus or program such as adding or removing votes, the system will quit working because the added program is not recognized. By the way, there are over (2,000) two thousand programming languages developed which are used in different applications. Can anyone guess which programming language did SMARTMATIC used? Any such request to manipulate data is being executed by the CPU or the Central Processing Unit, and then go to compiler for translation and execution. It has to be translated to 1 (ones) and 0 (zeros), and in hexadecimal form, because this is the only language that computers understand.

    The VCMs throughout the Country were configured or programmed to send or transmit votes to the Transparency Servers, and the Servers were configured to receive votes from VCMs. Each of these devices have their own unique addresses as well and they are constantly communicating by means of “electronic pulses” to ensure that nothing else is in the loop. The bottom line is this: Whatever authorized DATA is fed or inputted to the VCMs’, it will send directly to the transparency servers and it stored there. If voting ballots were not shaded on Vice- President, the VCM identify them as zero votes and the COMELEC termed them as under votes. If voting ballots were shaded more than one on the Vice President block, the VCM also identify this as zero and COMELEC also calls this as under votes.

    Adding a “script language” does not change any vote counts or manipulation of votes. Script language was added, not introduced, to correct minor discrepancies and this type of program is executed by the existing program. In other words, the CPU did not execute this program, and therefore it did NOT go to the compiler to be translated. This means that the votes already stored in the hard disk of servers are safe and not affected at all in any way, shape, or form.

    • Frog RoamingI on

      A script was corrected.

      A script is still a program, or a sub-program, or sub-routine, and all these stuffs must be executed by the CPU, with the help of the system memory which houses the data and all program variables.

      Correcting a script may mean, editing a line in the program, deleting a line or adding new lines.

      New lines could be added to introduce further arithmetic operations that manipulates current data on system memory.

      New lines could also be added to retrieve data from external disk, to manipulate their values and to store them back to disks.

      From a programmer’s point of view…..

    • You can preload a VCM with an untampered software and did comelec show nor allowed the whole program to be scrutinized? Big No! They only selected few lines irrelevant to the computation of votes.

    • Pilipino Ako on

      Mr. Delacruz, you are no different from Mr. Lagman. He acknowledged there was tampering, you acknowledged a script was added. Hashcodes are there to protect the integrity of the system. Hashcodes changed when most people were sleeping. Unauthorized script resulted to changing of the hashcodes which violated the integrity of the system. Primary use of the system is to count votes, what’s the use of that script if it is not intended to affect the counting of votes. Both of you claim votes were not affected. How sure are you, Mr. Lagman and Mr. Delacruz, that vote counts were not affected by the tampering or adding of script?

    • Pilipino Ako on

      According to Mr. Delacruz: “Adding a “script language” does not change any vote counts or manipulation of votes. Script language was added, not introduced, to correct minor discrepancies and this type of program is executed by the existing program. In other words, the CPU did not execute this program, and therefore it did NOT go to the compiler to be translated.”

      “xxx this type of program is executed by the existing program. In other words, the CPU did not execute this program xxx”… Sigurado ka ba, Mr. Delacruz?

  8. Corruption is already ingrained in the Comelec and in order to change the systematic corruption of this office, it needs a complete overhaul. Can President Rody do anything to stop the abusesof they Comelec and Smartmatic? We thought that Andy Bautista will be different from the past Comelec chairs only to realize that they are of the same color.

  9. Automation should be led by people who at least understand how computers work. Brillantes was incredibly clueless, Bautista has but a slight idea. We can in fact design our own automated system that would fit our own unique needs. Filipinos are some of the best programmers around.

  10. So after all candidates are selected not elected. . .a powerful hand behind. . . powerful than the president?

  11. Yes Sir I agree the VCM is vulnerable to tampering by Smartmatic insider. See their system architecture published patent application #20090152350 via google and if you are have some IT konwledge you can see how Smartmatic can intervene. Only Smartmatic can do it as its very difficult by an outsider to hack it because its secured by the Rijndal encryption system.

  12. However sophisticated the program is, it is still “garbage in garbage out”. Human factor is still the bottomline.

  13. ernie del rosario on

    The only thing more painful than learning from experience is NOT learning from experience. This truth ay dapat isuksok sa kokote ng mga taga Comelec, kung kinakailangan kahit forcibly.. Strike 4 na di pa natutututo. Tinintingnan na naman ang 2019.

  14. ernie del rosario on

    Gus, impeachment is better. Di aalis sa puesto ang mga yan willingly.

  15. Maybe they really do not want the elections to be transparent as it would prevent them from selling tampered returns. Reports had it that senatorial candidates were offered positions in the magic 12 for certain amounts. I guess the one for vice-president would command a higher price.

  16. rey quijada on

    We are being fooled because we allow ourselves to be fooled not just by SMARTMATIC but by the people tasked to protect our sovereign will. Our constitution will soon be amended and the machine ordered by some powerful persons will decide for us. President Duterte should do something about this or else we will be destroyed as a nation. Determine the culprits, remove them from office and charge them in court and if they resist Duterte has the solution. We in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur have petitioned RTC Branch 6 to order for the manual recount manually of the ballots and the votes cast for councilors. Mr. Gusman will now have his time to prove his allegations. Hopefully interested persons who want our polls to be restored to its proper dignity can support us make this happen. We are fighting a lonely fight against powerful politicians.

  17. Mark Torres on

    Sir, make kulet Comelec of the system audit that is to be conducted.

    As a New Filipino, my Memory is no longer SHORT.

    Please make it as an Advocacy to force Comelec to be AUDITED.


  18. Pilipino Ako on

    And yet, Mr. Lagman, in an interview you said that the latest tampering by Smartmatic to “correct” the “?” did not affect the tally for vice president. You have no more credibility! Shame on you!