The one that got away

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It is not the hit song The One that Got Away of Katy Perry. It is about Smartmatic that got away already from all its violations of our laws (e.g., RA9369, RA8792, RA9184), rules (e.g. Rules on Electronic Evidence by Supreme Court and Rules of Government Policy and Procurement Board), terms of reference (e.g., 99.995% accuracy and digital signatures), post qualification procedures and inquiries (e.g., Jarltech case), project implementation (e.g., failed to electronically transmit 24% of the election results or 18 million votes in 2013) and tons of other issues and concerns since they landed in the Philippines. And how could they do that to us Filipino people – to our government, lawmakers, professionals, workers, Muslims and Christians.

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Recently, even insiders of Comelec are having big question marks about Smartmatic’s push in trying to violate the Government Procurement Reform Act or RA 9184! Comelec’s Legal Deparment Head, Director Esmeralda Ladra, said, “It behooves upon us to ensure that this Extension of Warranty for the repair and maintenance of PCOS machines, which is a clear example of direct contracting or single source procurement, be made to undergo the tests of validity under R.A. 9184.” Cesar Flores of Smarmatic insisted, “Smartmatic has the capability to handle the refurbishing project, and it will be advantageous if Comelec awards the PCOS repair project to Smartmatic instead of holding a public bidding.” As if Flores is the engineer of the PCOS machine and that they can do the job when in fact the Dominion Voting System (DVS) is the real owner of the PCOS hardware and software technology and not Smartmatic.

Flores knows that they deceived us, the Filipino people, when he and his Smartmatic cohorts did not disclose the ownership information during the Comelec bidding exercise in 2009. Now, Flores is intimidating us into not to hold a bidding for that P 1.2 billion repair project and just give it to Smartmatic without public bidding…Mabuhay ka Atty. Ladra!

Smartmatic also got away by not attending the last hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on Automated Election System (AES) on December 4, 2014. Sen. Koko Pimentel commented, “Okay, they sent an excuse letter. They are too tired to attend. What made them tired? The Chairman and the Commissioners are here.” Ms. Evi Jimenez of Center for People Empowerment and Governance (CenPEG) replied, “And I am not glad that Smartmatic’s Cesar Flores is not here xxx, a major company stakeholder in the elections.” Just imagine, Smartmatic, a company that bagged multi-billion peso contracts taken from Filipino taxpayers’ money, was not able to send not even a single representative!? Mahiya naman kayo sa mga Pilipino!

Let’s have some of the JCOC hearing highlights, based on the transcript:

MS. JIMENEZ. Mr. Chairman, I just like to ask this Committee to pursue, please, up to conclusion the case of the killing of the two journalists. We believe xxx that it is all related to the overprinting of ballots (even after the May 13, 2013 elections). No. 2, we would like to xxx ask this Committee to do something decisive xxx Smartmatic is still allowed to bid with all the thousands and one glitches unexplained. xxx I have here the report of CenPEG. xxx And Chairman Brillantes carried this with him when he was first appointed as chairman of the COMELEC and he said sarcastically, “Why, all of these things stand…” You know the key answers, 30 vulnerabilities that the PCOS machine provided by Smartmatic xxx The third case, we would like to ask this Committee [is]to please do something about the source code xxx. So we asked that Smartmatic be blacklisted for that reason alone.xxx

MR. BRILLANTES. xxx we admitted that there was no source code review in 2010. But in 2013, the source code became available two days before the election.xxx

MS. JIMENEZ. xxx Before the elections, Mr. Brillantes, sir, we were good friends. You invited us a lot of times to give briefing to your political parties where you were election lawyer before. xxx We provided briefings on the 30 vulnerabilities of the PCOS machine and the 30 safeguards. Now that you xxx are the chairman, sir, I really cannot understand now why you have changed a lot. First, you said, “Okay, let us go and ask for the source code review xxx The source code is very, very important for independent review.” xxx But now that you are the chairman, you now tell us, “You are not cooperating. You did not come to the office. xxx” After listening to Chairman Brillantes for the ninth time…now denying and actually now accepting, I really do not know if I will ever believe Chairman Brillantes again, for the record.

The admission of Chairman Brillantes regarding no source code review and the glitches of PCOS machines (http://www.manilatimes.net/will-transparency-2016-elections/139285/) only proves that massive disenfranchisement of votes is inevitable come the 2016 elections.

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3 Comments

  1. concerned citizen on

    I don’t know what can be done to save this country from doom as these things are not being reported by the conscript media, which seem to be ultra-loyal to the current administration (perhaps because they’re part of the yellow brigade and are owned by big business, which is thriving under Aquino). Unfortunately, so many Filipinos rely on the conscript media for their news and are thus in the dark about this matter. God help our country!

  2. If Sixto Brillantes is not the problem in Comelec, he certainly is one of the main problems and of course, his boss and sponsor, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino. III.