• Gordon sues Comelec

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    Compel poll body to use paper trail feature, SC asked

    Gordon

    Gordon

    SAYING the Commission on Elections (Comelec) violated the law twice in the past, former senator Richard Gordon on Monday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the commission to activate the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) feature of the automated election system in the May 2016 balloting.

    In his petition for mandamus, Gordon said the Comelec should be compelled to implement the security features required under Republic Act 9369 or the Automated Elections System Law of which he was the principal author.

    The poll body decided not to activate the VVPAT security feature, claiming that it could be used as a tool for vote-buying.

    Activating this security feature, the commission noted, would also extend the voting period by seven hours.

    The VVPAT feature allows voters to verify if their ballots were cast correctly through issuance of a receipt.

    The receipt shows the names of the candidates chosen.

    Some groups argued that the feature would serve as deterrent to election fraud and provide a means to audit stored electronic results.

    “Several safeguards were put in place to ensure the sanctity of the ballot. Among these safeguards was the VVPAT, which consists of physical paper records of voter ballots as voters have cast them on an electronic voting system.

    The voter-verified part refers to the fact that the voter is given the opportunity to confirm that the choices indicated on the paper record correspond to the choices that the voter has made in casting the ballot, Gordon pointed out.

    “Under Section 6(e) of Republic Act 9369, which amends Section 7(c) of Republic Act 8436 [Automated Election System Law], one of the minimum system capabilities of the automated election system is that there must be a provision for Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). The VVPAT is therefore a critical and indispensable security feature of the automated voting machine. Regrettably, however, the inclusion of this mandatory requirement under the automated election laws was previously and flagrantly violated by respondent during the 2010 and 2013 elections,” he said.

    Gordon warned that the credibility of the May 9 local and national elections may suffer if the Comelec is again allowed to flout the law.

    “The Comelec has been a recidivist in violating RA 9369. The last two automated elections in the country have not been credible because of [the poll body’s]failure to implement the safeguards such as presenting the source code for review, the use of digital signatures was disabled and the random manual audit of this continued failure, the integrity of the elections [has]not been restored as the automated elections law intended. This has got to stop,” he said.

    “The right to suffrage is a powerful tool placed in the hands of every Filipino giving them the ability to change the course of our country’s future. Therefore, it is essential that the sanctity and credibility of our election system be continuously protected from threats putting its results in question. In order for the system to be protected, it is essential that implementation of various security systems must be complied with,” Gordon added.

    A group of bishops, former military and police officials and IT experts also earlier said they will be filing a petition asking the High Court to compel the Comelec to use the VVPAT.

    The Reform Philippines Coalition, led by seven bishops from various denominations including former Ligayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, said they will file a petition for mandamus in March.

    “We are asking the Comelec to restore the VVPAT as this is the only way we are assured that our votes are counted. It will also act as our way of verifying if the canvassing is correct,” said Greco Belgica, who is running for senator under the tandem of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

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    18 Comments

    1. Sen. Dick Gordon has to further push Comelec to the wall. Being an author of AES Law, kailangan pulbusin nya ang Comelec na ipatupad ang batas….lahat ng mga safeguards ay ilagay. Puro palusot ang Comelec to circumvent the law. Sila ang numero unong pasaway sa mga batas ng ating bansa. Naturingan pa naman mga ABOGADOng…….ewan! Mabuhay ka Sen. Gordon.

    2. Dick Gordon mentioned everything from legal standpoint to the sanctity of the ballot and the credibility of the election if VVPAT is not activated. However, he failed to mention that the possibility of “HOW” the election returns can be compromised by manipulation of DATA that was inputted in the voting machines. He went on to say that “VVPAT is the only way that our votes are counted”. Even those IT expert that were mentioned to file petitions, I think are not expert at all. Let me input my two cents on how these voting machines work, to enlighten Dick Gordon and other candidates thinking they might be cheated in this election without the VVPAT feature.

      The COMELEC determined that there are over 5 million registered voters in this coming election. Why registration of voters were needed? To identify the legitimacy of these voters. The registration involves giving so much personal information, and given some type of voter’s ID. All these information about the voters were then stored in the memory of the voting machines. When a voter is ready to vote using the machine, the voter must be able to satisfy all the field requirements on the program before it (the machine) will let you go to the menus for the candidates. If any of the field(s) were not satisfied, the machine will not let you move on.

      In layman’s term, a voter must be able to input the correct information, that was stored in the memory of the voting machine. Otherwise, it will not let you move on to the next stage of the program, like giving you the menu for the candidates to select from.

      After voting, the whole information (data) is then stored in the memory. This means that Dick Gordon, a registered voter of Makati, voted at precint XX, and the history on how he voted. A carbon copy (cc) might be sent automatically at the COMELEC HQ. for validation that indeed, Dick Gordon, a registered voter of Makati, voted at precint XX and so on. A voter can always verify who he/she voted for on a big screen TV inside the polling place where everybody can see, and this is what it called “TRANPARENCY” A hacker cannot just go in any voting machine to create a vote on any candidate, nor change any of the data that was inputted by somebody else. The reason being is that, no information was stored to satisfy all the fields. It is like few passwords that must be inputted correctly.

      On the other hand, if VVPAT is activated and each voters is given a receipt on who they voted for, the vote buyers will be happy to give you the money, only and if your receipt shows that you voted their candidates. Whoever candidate can offer the highest price per vote, will get the most votes. When there is a big money involved during elections, the integrity of election and the sanctity of the vote are no longer exist.

      ** Manila Times, please print this opinion and I hope Dick Gordon, The Justices of the Supreme Court read or scan some of this articles and it might open their eyes to reality. Lastly, Pardon my grammar.

    3. COMELEC should be compelled to issue the VVAT. As to vote buying? Simply ask the voter TO LEAVE the receipt with the COMELEC for future audit in case discrepancy in the results of counting in that particular precinct/s arises.

    4. vovotante qurapsy on

      Magagamit nga iyang resibo sa “VOTE BUYING”. Simple lang, Ipakita mo ang resibo sa handler ng mga watcher ng pulitiko,kapag ang nasa resibo ay pangalan ng kandidato nila ay nanduon ay saka ka babayaran. Alam ko iyan, naging watcher din ako sa mga eleksiyon. Ang mga flying voters,at mga botanteng ipag-papalit ang kanilang boto sa karampot na pera ay napakarami.

      • Pwede ang sinasabi mo pero, kung iiwan ang mga resibo sa isang box at bawal ilabas o kuhaan ng picture eh di okey na okey!

    5. If it the law why skip it?
      The 7 hours delay doesn’t matter provided we got credible result.
      There must be hidden reason why COMELEC skip that provision.
      Sen. Gordon, please push that case until we got satisfactory result from SC.

    6. Filipinos! what are we waiting for? as Sen.Gordon has stated that since 2013 Cumolec has violated the AES Law twice. Are we just going to accept the whims & caprices of this benighted agency or are we going to assert our rights. let us give Gordon & co. all the support that we can possibly muster. God helps those who help themselves!

    7. The COMELEC’s alibi that the Voters receipt will encourage vote buying is too shallow. With or without the receipt, you can not prevent and electorate to sell his vote. It is a rigid fact..Enough of this alibi, Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw maraming dahilan. Makonsensya sana sila..

    8. The voters will be counted and their votes can always be displayed on the big screen TV inside the voting precint where everybody can see and this is what a transparency looks like. On the other hand, if voters are given receipts on who they voted for, those people can take the receipt to the vote buyers’ place and collect their money.

      There are four safety features on the voting machine and the one Richard (Dickhead) Gordon wants is the issuance of hand receipt so the voters would know who they voted for. In reality, this hand receipt is the only acceptable evidence that the vote buyers can accept in making sure that their candidate(s) got their votes.

      To Richard (Dickhead) Gordon, a moneyed candidate named Juan Delacruz is running for President of the Philippines. I have cash money of P25Billion and I instructed my personnel to distribute this amount to 1,490 municipalities throughout the country at P500 per vote. My personnel would be checking for the hand receipts that was given to the voters to make sure they voted for me before they pay out.

      I would be getting 20 million votes or more and that would gives me the landslide victory. How would I get back the money I spent? I would overprice every infrastructure built by the government, such as buildings, highways, housings, and everything that comes into my way. I would make sure that I have a healthy (ROI)
      Return of investment and more money. After 6 years, I would move to the U.S. to have a comfortable life and have enough money to support me for a lifetime.

      I hope this explanations and hypothetical situations are clear enough for everybody. Honesty and Transparency are the keys and what the COMELEC are trying to achieve this coming National Election. There will be some foreign observers as well.

    9. Florencio Bernabe on

      A move in the right direction Sen. Dick Gordon. The sanctity of the ballot must be protected! Congratulations!

    10. the catholic church ppcrv effort on 2016 election should include supporting this initiative of ex-senator Gordon and that of Atty. Chiong 0n the same issue. Who in hell are comelec people to tamper our law on election.

    11. if the catholic church is indeed serious about safeguarding the integrity of this coming election thru ppcrv they should support this initiative of ex-senator Gordon aswell that of Atty. Chiong. while there is still time.

    12. I can’t believe this country has done away w/ VVPAT. What a corrupt banana republic we still are!!! Wake up stupid citizens!

    13. Let us support Gordon and the religious leaders in this regard. We cannot accept that the Comelec will make the same short-cuts in the election process. This paper trail requirement should be intact as a main feature that our votes are counted. Let us stop trusting Comelec to do the right thing.