No clean polls in 2016 – Comelec

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No guarantee, but Bautista vows to avoid past mistakes

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DESPITE vast powers and logistics at its disposal, Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials on Thursday said they could not guarantee clean, honest and orderly elections next year.

“How can you guarantee clean, orderly and honest elections? But we will do our best,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista told reporters.

At Comelec’s disposal during the elections are billions of pesos in funding.

It also has the authority to deputize the police and the military as well as other government agencies, ban the carrying of guns and regulate the conduct of campaign and other election-related activities, impose a ban on the sale of liquors, transfer government personnel and suspend public works, among other powers.

Bautista said the poll body is doing everything to make the 2016 political exercise transparent and credible, among other measures, to avoid a repeat of problems that cropped up in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

The Comelec, he added, has also scheduled an earlier local source code review for interested political parties and other legitimate organizations accredited by the poll body, including duly accredited citizens’ arms, information technology experts and educational institutions.

Bautista explained that the conduct of a local source code review “seeks to provide
interested parties and groups an opportunity to inspect the source codes in the Automated Elections System [AES].”

Covered in the review are the source codes of the Vote Counting Machine (VCM), the Consolidated Canvassing System (CCS) and the Election Management System (EMS).

“The source code review shall involve two phases. The first phase covers the review of the baseline source codes. The second phase covers the review of the source codes after the systems have been customized and configured according to the preference and needs of the commission,” according to Comelec Resolution 9987.

Bautista said that to increase transparency, the Comelec will conduct a base source code review before October 15 and another one next year after it has been customized in accordance with the needs of the poll body.

The Comelec earlier signed a $766,000 or P35-million contract with SLI Global Solution for testing and review of the source code, a voting software program customized for Philippine elections that would be installed in the OMR (Optical Mark Reader) counting machines.

As certifier, SLI will make sure that the source code submitted by Smartmatic, the OMR
supplier, meets specifications and performance and adheres to deliver what the Comelec needs.

SLI president and chief executive officer Mark Phillips said part of their job is the so-called secure code review, which would protect the system against hacking or unwanted entries.
SLI, a US-based company, is the same firm that conducted the source code review during the 2013 elections.

Bautista said the Comelec would give all election stakeholders enough time to scrutinize and test the source code, unlike in 2013 when the customized review was done one week before the polls.

Commissioner Christian Robert Lim explained that the source code is basically an independent auditor to ensure that system is running free from possible malicious lines.

“Basically, the source code review will ensure how the system will run. To make sure one vote for Mar [Roxas] is one vote for Mar, one vote for [Jejomar] Binay is one vote for Binay, not one vote equals five. One person, one vote,” Lim said.

The Comelec will use some 5,000 to 10,000 units of the original 82,000 old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) counting machines to supplement the 93,997 units of brand-new OMRs for use in the 2016 elections.

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13 Comments

  1. Hilario Martinez on

    granting that what smartmatic declared as unhackable OMRs, that could only mean that manipulation of data (votes cast) can only be done internally, that is somebody or a group from the inside who is familiar with such system and protocol. the OMRs may not be faulty at election time, but somebody should check on the tabulation or canvassing process/softwares and the transmission protocols. who knows, there is a big difference between now and election day and a day after

  2. Patriotic and pro-active Filipino people must keep tabs on Comelec chair Bautista and Aquino’s LP administration, we must always check, watch and keep a close eye on what they are doing and planning to frustrate their evil designs to cheat the Filipino people of their chosen leaders and precious votes.

  3. The people must register their extreme opposition and strong protest against the illegal election contracts entered into by and between Comelec and Smartmatic PCOS. The 2016 election will be bloody different from the illegitimate result of the 2010 and 2013 Smartmatic-PCOS elections that produces a BS Aquino 3x presidency and LP majority in the senate.

  4. Rodan Guerrero on

    Aquino installed Bautista to rig and manipulate the 2016 elections. This is a desperate move he will do because of his fear to be jailed as a result of the crimes he did in his incumbency. Opposition president to take over will surely indict him of his abuses. Let us join hands to fight another duplication of 2010 and 2013 elections.

  5. With this kind of comment coming from the Comelec chairman itself, in the bag na ang panalo ng bata ni Abnoy Porknoy, ngiting aso na ang mga dilawan at LP panatic tuloy ang ligaya ng mga p#$^%nginang mga magnanakaw na LP…

  6. It is not only about clean and honest election but more on the BOBOtante that will be voting again the same crook politicians.

  7. Gloria B. Wilhelm on

    Dumb statement. No wonder people are discouraged to vote because in their thinking, what’s the use? Their votes will be invalidated anyway because of cheating. Really dumb. Think first of the consequences of what you speak before opening your mouth.

  8. jesus nazario on

    The system is DEFINITELY NOT transparent. Transparency and trust are the two faces of the same coin. Without transparency, there can be NO trust, Therefore, since there is no transparency, there is no trust and in turn NO credibility credible ? Ergo the 2016 election will track the same track the 2010 and 2013 followed. Illegitimate election again !

    Source code review via virtually blindfolded reviewers is a total farce. A JOKE in fact ! Why are we paying SLI (the international testing authority) who will certify the system when in the U.S., it is the vendor (Smartmatic in this case) who pays for the certification work ? And besides, SLI has a bad track record of colluding with vendors in the past and was suspended by the U.S. authorities.Why did Comelec buy new PCOS units when the more than 80,000 used units when refurbed by a non-Smartmatic provider at a cost 7-8 times cheaper than the new ones will be much much better (state of the art scanning technology and computing components) than the new ones (still using Jurassic – 20-year old computers – components and old inaccurate vote scanning tech). Is it also true that many of the used PCOS were NEVER returned to the Comelec warehouse after the 2013 election and were found in places where they can be used to transmit fraudulent results in 2016 ? How about those which were not found ? Has Comelec ever done a complete inventory of the used PCOS with independent observers participating and reported the result ?

    Ergo, Bautista in fairness is NOT lying naman that he cannot promise an honest, transparent and credible election next year unlike all past Chairmen who all lied. With this clear admission of his incapability to deliver that basic mandate of Comelec then what is he still doing at Comelec ? He should quit pronto ! With a new Chairman (not a sitting Commissioner acting as Chairman please !) who is not a Smartmatic-fanatic, a completely manual election can be implemented in 3 to 4 months as happened in 2007 when automation was dropped due to lack of time.

  9. What a ‘defeatist’ attitude? Is this pre-conditioning of the minds of the people that in case something goes wrong, because of what was claimed to be the ‘hocos PCOS’ machines results in the last presidential elections, will be ‘duplicated’, Comelec can always say, “we told you so”?

  10. What happens when defects will be seen or discovered when election time is close. Will Bautista follow what Sixto Brillantes did in the past 2 elections and removed the security features of the program and system?

    • From what I heard and saw in TV there is no big difference between present Comelec chair Bautista and past chairs Sixto Brillantes and Ben Abalos. They are all full of s#itz.

  11. There goes the election process – straight to the sewer. Can you believe this statement? Clean, honest election not guaranteed. Why?

    • jesus nazario on

      Because he admitted he cannot deliver (or even lie that he can deliver) and therefore a self-confessed incompetent. Ergo he should quit NOW ! Nobody who will just sing the “I told you so” chorus after May 9, 2016 should be allowed to sit on the Chairmanship position any nanosecond longer. He should have ended his speech yesterday with an irrevocable resignation statement and a signed letter indicating so.