The JCOC meeting on September 18, at the Senate gave Smartmatic a chance to explain why the mysterious 76 percent was the actual transmission rate of election returns in 2013. At the start of their explanation, Smartmatic relayed to JCOC that their contract with Comelec in 2010 elections for transmission was only P200 million but it actually shouldered P350 million. Because of this bad experience daw of Smartmatic, the budget for 2013 election transmission was increased to P400 million but the bidding for it even failed twice. Ergo, negotiated bidding with Smartmatic ensued for the P494-million contract. At the end of its statement, Smartmatic insisted that the P494 million was still not enough and concluded that it caused the 76 percent issue.
Guess what? The actual transmission rate of election results in 2010 was 92 percent! What? You mean to say, you increased the contract price to P494 million and our country only got 76 percent from Smartmatic who acted as an aggregator of all the telcos (i.e., PLDT-Smart-Sun, Globe, etc.)? An aggregator consolidates multiple telco services into a “Meet me Room” setup as explained by Smartmatic. But with P494 million for one-day elections, AES Watch doesn’t logically accept in having “pasangawa” grade of 76 percent and spending that much in one day!
Does it mean that the contract price is inversely proportional to the actual transmission rate? Meaning, the lesser the contract price, the higher the transmission rate; or, the higher the contract price, the lower the transmission rate!? Mathematicians will have a hard time to prove this new phenomenon.
The problem with transmission also happened when Comelec piloted the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) and Central Count Optical Scan (CCOS, similar to PCOS but counting is done centrally in a voting center) technologies in ARRM elections on August 11, 2008. At least, these technologies were piloted as mandated by RA 9369 compared with PCOS that was never piloted anywhere in our country. Anyhow, the problem with transmission was reported to Comelec (https://www.facebook.com/njcelis/media_set?set=a.1 0152704919541661. 1073741932.546351660&type=3) on August 19, 2008 and it is stated therein that “there were errors in the transmission of the results of six (6) precincts from Bumbaran resulting in zero (0) totals as received in the Smartmatic-SAHI server.” This was also reinforced by the report of Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) in November 2008 which exposed that “there were some problems with the transmission of data, particularly in Maguindanao, and it took BEIs and Smartmatic staff a long time to realize the failure.”
Then how can we achieve 100 percent transmission rate of election results in 2016? Do we need to increase the budget from P494 Million to more than half a billion pesos (P0.5 billion) for Smartmatic . . . again and again? By the way, I learned years ago that in putting up a telco business, you would need to invest at least P300 million. It looks as if Smartmatic is like a telco in this regard.
Under Article IX, Section 2, Subsection 4 of our 1987 Constitution, “the Commission on Elections shall exercise the power and function to deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.” Why not use their internal wide private transmission networks which Comelec could tap. It makes sense as these are controlled by our government as well. Anyhow, it’s only one day and a non-working day on May 9, 2016. And these agencies are also hooked up with the commercial networks of PLDT, Globe, etc. The AFP, PNP, GOCCs (e.g., financial institutions), DepEd, etc, may be able to help! If allowed, Comelec can even have a partnership with the banking industry to use their vast ATM networks. One day lang naman para sa bayan!
Let’s be factual on what happened during the Yolanda disaster last year. Do you remember that communications was cut in the Eastern Vizayas at that time? It was impossible for the high ranking officials stranded there to communicate to Manila and vice versa. Which among the government agencies was able to link them up? It was the AFP! And here is a foreign company telling us that the P494 million was not enough!
On the other hand, acting as an aggregator, Smartmatic poses a threat due to an issue of conflict of interest as perceived by AES Watch. How do we know which transmissions were valid or not since no digital signatures as required by law were implemented? Smartmatic just simply accepted transmissions from unknown sources. In fact there were cases of multiple transmissions from the same precinct but from different networks (e.g.,the Biliran case-https://www.facebook.com/njcelis/media_set?set=a. 10150699369621661. 429989.546351660&type=3).
As early as now, Comelec needs HELP to strategically plan on how to MANAGE the transmission of election results in 2016. We don’t want the unwanted 4th STRIKE in the 2016 elections!