Filipino people helpless against untrustworthiness of Comelec

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OUR banner headline yesterday—“Election machines tampered with”—was shocking to newly arrived foreigners with a good impression of our country and Filipinos who naively think the days of election shenanigans have long been over. Actually, it was merely a reiteration by a living witness of a fact to those who know that Philippine elections continue to be a travesty of the most essential element of democracy.

The headline was an election watcher’s personal testimony of his and other people’s knowledge that 1,356 Smartmatic vote-counting machines (VCMs) that were in a warehouse in Santa Rosa, Laguna were used illicitly, illegally and criminally in the May 2016 elections that gave us President Rody Duterte, Vice-President Leni Robredo, or possibly Vice-President F. M. Marcos Jr. (if the latter’s election protest wins), 23 senators and hundreds of congressmen and other elected officials.

Each VCM uses a digital card, the SD card, on which the voters’ entries are recorded. Now we learn that something wrong had happened with one of the VCMs and that possibly many more strange things had occurred involving all the VCMs, not just the 1,356 in Santa Rosa.

Lawyer Glenn Chong, a former congressman representing Biliran and an activist with the NGO Tanggulang Demokrasya (TANDEM), said at least one SD card was tampered with. This, he said, was evidence the election system provided by Comelec contractor Smartmatic was “very much open to hijacking or sabotage.”


Chong pointed out that at an average of 500 votes per SD card, 5,000 extra SD cards, could have produced 2.5 million votes for favored candidates by switching machines.

“With 5,000 unnecessary extra SD cards accompanying 5,000 extra VCMs, switching bogus results contained in these extra SD cards with the genuine results under the guise of replacing malfunctioning VCMs is a feat that is all too easy to accomplish. All it requires is for the cheats to feign a malfunction in order to get a replacement machine with an SD card bearing bogus results in it,” he said.

Last October, in preparation for their return to Smartmatic, 127 VCMs were stripped of their SD cards. The SD cards were read and found to contain either intact or corrupted data.

On Monday, January 23, the Comelec scheduled the decryption of the 127 SD cards. But the Senate Electoral Tribunal, which is hearing the election protest of former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino against Senator Leila de Lima, ordered that 93 of these SD cards be preserved, so only 26 suspect SD cards were decrypted.

“Of these 26, 13 were found to be blank while the remaining 13 indeed contained data. The question arises as to how come an initial determination having been made three months ago that these 13 suspect SD cards contained data, they have suddenly become blank three months later. Definitely, someone is pulling dirty magic tricks right before our eyes,” Chong said.

Chong revealed that of the 13 suspect SD cards that contained data, at least one, with Serial No. BUF0631C, was tampered with.

Smartmatic’s representative, he noted, confirmed that they used only the Linux operating system in formatting SD cards. “Yet, this one showed evidence that it was accessed using a Windows operating system (OS). The Windows OS left its visible telltale marks on this SD card for everybody to see,” Chong said.

These strange things happened despite the Comelec’s assurances that it had custody every second of the SD cards from Santa Rosa, Laguna, to the poll body’s headquarters in Intramuros.

How could the SD cards that had been read and found to have data in them suddenly become blank when they reached Intramuros?

This, and the strange things that happen in every election, show how unreliable and, therefore, untrustworthy the Comelec has become.

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8 Comments

  1. ISKO

    The official protocol of the COMELEC calls for the original SD cards already being used in the malfunctioning machines to be inserted to the contingent machine that is brought to the precinct to replace the malfunctioning one. This is so because the original SD cards already contained votes prior to the malfunction. Now, the big big question is why did the COMELEC specifically ordered SMARTMATIC to provide 1 extra SD card in each of the 5,000 extra or contingent machines when in fact, they are actually and in reality not to be used at all.

    With 5,000 extra SD cards in 5,000 extra machines, switching them for cheating purposes is all to easy to accomplish. As for the existence of the this extra SD card in each extra machines, no less than the general manager of Smartmatic admitted this when I asked him the question why there is an extra SD card in each box. The admission was recorded by many news cameras because we did it at the Laguna warehouse.

    I have fought this syndicate (COMELEC/SMARTMATIC) in the last 6 years, mostly in the senate hearings. I have provided many evidence of tampering of the CF cards complete with pictures of the 13 laptops right there inside Comelec Intramuros, tampering of ballots after the elections in protest cases, documented multiple transmitted results from one and the same precincts using multiple IP addresses, and many more. I have publicly accused the COMELEC of selling public offices for money. You can check my Facebook account for the price list and the terms of sale of the syndicate which I posted prior to the May 2016 elections. I publicly accuse them. Now, I challenge them to sue me if I am not telling the truth. I will see them in court, if they have the balls to hale me.

  2. The Manila Times continues to be one of the very few mainstream media outfits which continues to champion the cause of honest and credible elections as the most essential element of our democracy and freedoms.

    While the huge public relations money of Smartmatic has hopelessly poisoned the voices of the many who could have well amplified the truth in a bid to effectively fight this modern day ‘colonialists,’ their collaborators, and their tools of subjugation and control, it gives much hope and encouragement that there are others, though they may be few, who refused to betray their country for 30 pieces of Smartmatic silver, who stand their ground, and lend their voice to and for the people.

    The Manila Times is one of that few. And we are very grateful.

    For as long as the likes of Manila Times continue to expose the truth when many others choose deafening silence and indifference, the Filipino people will definitely be one step less helpless against the untrustworthiness of a criminal Comelec.

  3. The government must not allow the Comelec, Smartmatic, the Robredo team and Marcos team touch the hardware, SD cards, soft-wear connected with this discovery. If possible, let the SAF under the leadership of General Bato guard these before an independent forensic be conucted to establish the truth about the cheating operations orchestrated by the yellows. It was also alleged that the camp of Mar Roxas also sliced the lead of Pres. Rody by 3 million votes thinking that the fight between Mar and Rody will also be close. Fortunately for the people, the lead of our President was huge so that the 3 million deducted from him and added to Mar Roxas was not enough cheating. Now it will be up to Bongbong to also watch those evidence.

  4. I disagree with your assumption that COMELEC has been in cahoots with any one group or groups to cheat the results of the last election. Just like the PNP, the COMELEC is striving to perform its duty but there COULD be individuals within COMELEC that could have been bought / paid to tarnish the end result of the last election.

    The principal complaint of loser Marcos was the ‘script change’ while counting was in progress. That was easily explainable that an examination of the system will show the operating server machine is distinct from the database machine which contained the system PROTECTED data which contains the will of the voters. Two or more operating server machines used either simultaneously or one at a time WILL SHOW the same data results when accessing ONE database machine. THE SCRIPT change was done in the server machine – NOT in the database machine.

    Now that the VCM’s are being questioned and with fairness I should add, this CHONG observation needs to be placed in its proper perspective. AFIK, the SD cards are used for two reasons: back-up and data portability. The VCM will still have the data that was copied into the SD cards.

    In cases where there have been VCM malfunctions, I KNOW that there is a 90% or more chance the data prior to the malfunction is RECOVERABLE. If the SD cards are questionable, the original machine can be examined.

    Based on the above, the Marcos complaint will be an extremely expensive case to process but the end result will be very unlikely to favour Mr Marcos. This is all brouhaha.

    Mr Chong’s revelation/s if not interspersed with his own interpretations of what might have been could have more credibility. However, the complainant’s money (derived from Phil coffers) is too persuasive indeed for a lot of people.

  5. The machines should of been secured and comelec should not have had access to them until a professional team investigated the cheating. Like all things in the Philippines the system hardly moves when fast action was needed. Allowing Comeelc to preside over allegations of cheating is just stupid.

  6. So what are the principled organizations, including the catholic church, doing if the senate, congress, judiciary will not lift a finger? Why silent now, is it because the “vp” might be exposed?