The Church and the military must save the country


Hacking Comelec
We are now facing a national security crisis of monumental proportions whose implications go far beyond the viability of holding the May 9 election. But its first real casualty could very well be the actual non-holding of such election. There are many reasons for this. But the first important reason is that the state’s most important electoral resource has been irreparably damaged, and there can be no legitimate and credible election without it.

I refer to the official voters’ list in the hands of the Commission on Elections. Attacked by hackers, the list proved to have been padded by the Comelec from a total of 54.3 million to a bloated listing of 70 million. In the process of committing a crime, the hackers exposed a major crime at the Comelec.

The breach
When the website attack was first exposed, the list was identified as the resource downloaded by the hackers. The initial reactions to this breach focused on its implications to the integrity of the elections. However, when online IT publications and ICT professionals started calling it one of the most dangerous breaches in the digital age, the extent of the damage and the threat spilled far beyond the elections.

On Thursday, April 21, a site called started circulating in social media channels. This page claimed to contain the data downloaded from the Comelec, and was searchable. If one entered the Last Name, First Name and Mother’s Maiden Name in the respective fields, the site would show all available results.

In my case, I searched for Tatad Francisco Sarmiento and obtained two results. Clicking the first one, it reflected registered address at 44 Ifugao St., date of birth 4 October 39, and fingerprint fields. The fingerprints were not visible via my machine’s monitor but I am told that an off-the-shelf device can probably decipher that information with ease.

The site was quickly blocked by social networks such as Facebook. IT security experts had advised that the site could fish for the user’s passwords to social networks and email. It appears that the site’s ability to exploit is far more dangerous than the data it contains.

The personal data contained is what is required to register as a voter. However, the same data is commonly used to verify a person’s identity by banks, credit card companies and telecommunications firms. Adding to the problem, Overseas Voters have another bit of information contained in the Comelec database—their passport numbers.

In sum, all the information needed to stage identity theft has been released into a public and uncontrolled domain. This involves, as the hacked data have revealed, 70 million “voters.”

While it is too early to say anything definitive on this, it is likely that anything reliant on this personal information and biometric data can be or has been compromised. E-commerce, online banking, and credit cards are immediate concerns. Fraud in the use of internet, online gaming and even mobile phone accounts is possible.

The government will have to explain to the citizenry and perhaps other governments how this leak affects the integrity of passports, visas, and individual accounts in the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth.

Security and integrity of applications for new services (whether government or private) are also affected. These consequences will remain a threat to the people, long after election season has ended——assuming the election could still be held.

Where is the data now?
It is certainly all over the place. After the site went viral, it was soon discovered that the data had made its way into sharing sites. Within hours, reports said the data was already present in “torrents.”

Torrents are file-sharing networks that formed the backbone of online piracy of films and music in the early 2000s. A file is broken up into many portions and seeded across members of the torrent’s network. If a user wants to download the file, the system sends him the requisite parts coming from the seeders who have the component files. In this way, not one seeder has the complete file and so none of the seeders are technically in violation of intellectual property law.

As of Friday, April 22, it seems the data is already available from the local pirates in places like Quiapo. The launch price was at P100,000, but has dropped to P50,000 in a day. We have no idea how many people are buying, but it seems there are enough people selling the data openly.

Two problems
Between now and May 9 is but a few days. How do we expect this problem to go away, and allow us to hold a clean, honest, orderly and credible election? There are at least two problems here. First, the Comelec needs to protect itself from hackers; two, the voters need to protect themselves from the corrupt elements in the Comelec.

With respect to the first, if the hackers could hack the Comelec voters’ list, what else can they not possibly hack before, during, or after the election? How then do we protect the official files of our government? With respect to the second, if the corrupt operators at the Comelec could inflate the voters’ list from 54.3 million to 70 million, what else could they not fool around with?

In 2010 and 2013, the Comelec, together with its Venezuelan partner Smartmatic, manipulated the entire process, first by removing all the security and safety features and accuracy mechanisms of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine, and by rigging the transmission system. They are about to do the same thing again, while padding the voters’ list, and presumably the turnout.

Bongbong cheated
In the advanced voting of Overseas Filipino Workers, the first case of individual cheating has already been reported. Despite the use of the voter’s receipt, which is supposed to show accurately the name of the candidate one has voted for, one OFW has complained that another candidate appeared in place of the one she had voted for—Vice Presidential Candidate Sen. Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos, Jr. Bongbong is, of course, the candidate PNoy has threatened to lead a “people power” revolt against, should he win.

Given these conditions, it is not hard to understand why as the date draws near, more and more people seem to question the need to go through the election. They have no doubt that the Comelec, Smartmatic, and the various presidential players will try to cheat each other, and that none among them will try to prevent the cheating.

All are now jockeying to top the paid propaganda surveys, and are equally determined to win the “post-election” even if they lose the election. One is reported to have equipped his military group with AK47s in case he’s cheated in the official count.

PNoy’s role
Aquino has been no help at all. He wants to choose his own successor in order to escape criminal prosecution from his political enemies after he steps down on June 30. This has caused certain steps that have disfigured the Constitution, the rule of law and the actual conduct of the forthcoming election.

Although Aquino openly “supports” Mar Roxas, the LP standard bearer, he has also established a strong personal line to Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, the former American citizen of no known biological parentage, whom nine of the 15 members of the Supreme Court have declared “qualified” to run for President.

Aquino was reported to have personally intervened to make the nine Justices decide in her favor, even though she is not a natural-born citizen nor a 10-year resident of the country immediately preceding the May 9 election.

Aquino was reported to have met with Mrs. Llamanzares a week before the High Court junked the three Comelec rulings that disqualified her and cancelled her Certificate of Candidacy upon four petitions. The ponencia by Justice Jose Perez said the Comelec had no authority to pass upon her qualifications, even though the Court had long sustained Comelec’s authority to do so in many previous cases.

‘Poe-quino’ confirmed
Malacañang and Mrs. Llamanzares have denied the “Poe-quino” meeting, but my original Palace sources have stood steadfast by their story, and some highly placed diplomatic sources have since confirmed it. As this story goes, Aquino has assured Mrs. Llamanzares that if by April 25, which means today, Roxas’s “survey” rating does not considerably improve, his financial and manpower support would shift to her.

And the next big “survey” is expected to be released today.

Because of Aquino’s and big business’ intervention, and the Justices’ failure to defend the Constitution, we now have a presidential race where 130 natural-born citizens and 10-year residents of the country have been summarily excluded as “nuisance candidate,” but a truly “nuisance candidate” whom Solicitor General Florin Hilbay claims is a “natural-born citizen by disputable presumption and statistical probability,” could be elected President.

A matter of honor
Mrs. Llamanzares is the first such person to run for the Philippine presidency. Not only is she a former American, she also has an American husband and family. That fact alone should have inhibited her from running, and others from supporting her candidacy. But no, this is how low we have sunk as a people and as a country. Unlike our neighbors, we do not care much for our national honor or sovereignty.

Mrs. Llamanzares says her husband and her children are all dual citizens, who would renounce their American citizenship if she gets elected to the presidency. They should have done so before she ran for the Senate. But the husband, Teodoro Misael “Neil” Llamanzares, may not even be a Filipino.

According to a Filipino paper in the US, and to the Daily Tribune here last Saturday, Neil is a natural-born American citizen of Filipino descent, but not a Filipino. He could have become a Filipino by going through the appropriate legal process when he reached the age of majority, but he did not.

He is, therefore, in the country as an alien, reportedly employed as ‘IT special consultant to the Chief Executive Adviser of San Miguel Corporation,” whom the media have identified as the principal financier of Mrs. Poe Llamanzares. There are allegations that Neil does not have an Alien Employment Permit, which is required by law.

Security threat?
Some sources describe him as potentially dangerous to our national security because of his reported previous background, as a member of the US Air Force, and later as an area manager for Scientific Applications International Corp., said to be a major contractor of the US National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency. His interests are not those of a patriotic Filipino.

My lawyer Manuelito Luna, who represented me in my disqualification case against Grace before the Comelec and the Supreme Court, believes Neil’s case is inseparable from that of his wife. So we have decided to ask the Bureau of Immigration to look deeply into it. We shall be filing the appropriate petition today.

What alternative?
All these seem to make the May 9 election the last thing we need. The only problem is, what is the alternative? Do we have to extend the Aquino presidency? It would be unthinkable if Aquino, after causing all this mess, should end up benefiting from it. Since he has destroyed virtually all our institutions, the institutions that are still standing should now provide the appropriate alternative.

There are two such institutions: the religious and moral sector, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. With the possible help of the SC Justices who still care about the Constitution, these two institutions must now begin talking to each other on how to save this country.


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  1. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    26 April 2016

    It would be reckless for people who get to read this column, “The church and the military must save the country,” by Francisco S. Tatad in The Manila Times of 24 April 2016, to rush to judgment one way or the other.

    If the hacking of all those data and the illegal manipulating of the number of voters at the Comelec bear any semblance of TRUTH, or if in reality they are false, it is the duty of the Comelec to say what it needs to say about these accusations–and do it now before the May 9 elections.

    The suggestion for the Church and the Military “to save the country” is, in my opinion, completely without basis, is absolutely premature and sounds like “a cry in the wilderness.”

    Where is the monumental CRISIS which could ever fully justify such a wild suggestion?


  2. I believe the Church also has a moral obligation to support the leader who can truly lead this country . The Constitution as the guiding light . No human being is perfect but Church /Civil/Military servants must help find the balance and reason to see the sincerity and the capability of each presidential candidate to tackle the real issues of the Land.
    It is irresponsible to be carried away with the emotions and excitement of the candidates words and showbiz appeals . The media and surveys are the most guilty of this irresponsibility. All they care about is self interest and not our countries well being.

    Why don’t we just shut down the coverage of this campaigning process and just let the candidates walk the talk , so people will read and study more their candidates ,rather than relying on sound bites and gossips and hi tech marketing?

  3. Kit, if you have to ask the Immigration people to do something, you do not need to tell your enemies that you are going to do it. JUST DO IT. You are lacking in street-smart wisdom?

  4. Keep the church out of this, as they are the most corrupted and its because of it the Philippines is in such a mess, and so many social ills in the country..They have no right to interfere.

  5. adonis b. rocha on

    In all these messes and butcheries of our poltical system, the last bastion and protector of the people in this brewing anarchy is but the Armed Forces of the Philippines and PNP. None of the generals from the top will ever wager their plum and juicy positions and perks to save the country…never there will be.

    But make no mistake there are patriotic junior officers waiting in the wings to do surgical strike and restore order. Those RAMs and mutineers of the pasts are but a spent force, we Pinoys do not trust these tricksters who have past their primes and are now rabid dogs of the oligarchs and tradpols. The church institutions are just by-standers and will just maintain the status quo….there are only few of them who have liberation theology in their hearts and minds, nothing much can be expected of them, our leadership is too beholden to the vested interests of foreign countries whose interests comes first than the Philippines. We are a nation of failures… a mendicant society …not because of the people….but because of the political leaderships…whose only interest is to rake more money for themselves, preserve their survival and sell the nation to foreign interests, that make the Philippines the corrupt and sick man of Asia now !

    The Philippines have become a basket case society without morals, direction and sense of national pride. Without these attributes how do we expect to rise up from these bullshits and rise as a nation with pride, dignity and a sense of hard work and discipline. South Korea is worse of than the Philippines many years back from the ruins of war, but the leadership have national pride and were able to instill in the populace that unless the people have in their hearts and minds a sense of nationalism, hard work, discipline and dignity, the nation is doomed to fail in oblivion. Thats is where the Philippines is now, ….waiting for self destruction and implosion at the hands of the chosen few ruining the economy for their vested interests in cahoots with the traditional politicians.

    The May 9, 2016 election is doomed to failure and anarchy is brewing. The young turks in uniform will step in to save the Philippines. A 36- member revolutionary council composed of technorats, academe, business people, legal eagles, workers, farmers, religious and other stakeholders in society will be in place to restore order, overhaul the constitution and usher a new era of a REFORMED Philippines for the next 12 years. Thereafter, the revolutionary council cease and institute real democratic elections. Thats the only last hope we have, for what we have now are all bullshits. South Korea and to the lesser extent Thailand and even Vietnam are examples who traversed this route, whose economy are way better off than the sick Philippines we have. A tiny nation like Singapore with no natural resources became first class developed nation in less than two decades because of firm and decisive leadership that instill in the people the value of hard work and nationalism,…. to achieve the real democractic freedom from want, hunger, shelter, food and so forth. We the Philippines can only boast of; economic data of so-called ” vibrant fastest growing ecconomy” that benefited only the chosen few high up, but leave the stomach of the common people….” kakalam-kalam”, with many living in dreadful hand to mouth existence and jobless.

    Because of the wretchedness of the many Pinoys in all classes of society, they even wager and flocked to the likes of Rodrigo Duterte,…the “Rambo” that the Pinoys identified with, to even up the score with the tradpols and the “priviledged establishments”. Things ordinary folks cant do and are helpless in this present set-up, they found in Digong as their attack dog “para makaganti man lamang”. What is noticeable about Digong is his penchant intellect to capitalize on the present predicament of many… exploit it and parlay his political marketing strategy in this election and capture the hearts of many in their common language….never mind his foul mouth and perverted mind. Thats superb strategy eclipsing many times the magic of Erap, FPJ, Kris Aquino, Manny Pacquiao combined. This dude, Digong Duterte is a master communicator abreast of issues in the hearts of many…”kung paano makaganti”. Thats why he is selling himself as the “tough cookie and last card”, as the only hope of Pinoys. This Duterte is like Ronald Reagan… a great communicator of ideas….who can rally the people. Hopefully if ever Duterte wins, he can rally the Philippines like Singapore and South Korea…but again; …. will the foreign interests and oligarchs let him be? Bayan Gising !

    Make no mistake, I am not voting for Digong nor anyone of them and will boycott this election. This May 9, 2016 election is but a SHAMMMMMM !

    • EVIL had taken over. We had made wrong choices. We are doing it
      again & again. How do we want to learn? …push our kaMANGMANGAN
      to the brink of self destruction, … not even be able to rescue ourselves but perish. That will probably be justified, because we chose to destroy each other, rather than service to one another to rescue ourselves.
      We can no longer contribute for the good of all. We are thieves of the highest kind.

    • PLEASE! The Philippine Political system is a SHAME, BECAUSE IT IS A SHAME!!! And you were part of it in the past. You are a hypocrite, very much like the Philippine church and it’s leaders! Those dumb Cleegy can’t even save their own worthless souls! They are given too much power that they feel too entitled! They think they are gods! They still use religion to control people, and you sound like a puppet! We are not one of the most corrupt countries in the world for nothing!

      Who brought religion to this country? Who brought corruption and advice to this country? The Spaniards? No! It s the priests! The church! Have them save this country? That have a big stake in the current suit state we are in! And it is getting worse. Yes. I blame those hypocrites in robes!

      People get passed when one attacks the Philippine church. Don’t be blind and stupid. Think deep before you defend them!

  6. my mother also has 2 records, the Palace was also one of the downloaders and ‘seeders’ of this activity, 54million voters became 70million, Comelec dont allow receipts for voters nor a picture of it, the safeguards are off- our OFW voters already HAS PROOF!, How can an ordinary street hacker download Terrabytes of data on a flimsy connection? NOW CONNECT THE DOTS and ask WHY? and one word comes to your mind – CHEATING! We are seeing a prelude to another ‘Hello Garci’, but this time its ‘Hello Andy’!…….

  7. Amnata Pundit on

    Yung pinakamalaking factor was not mentioned, yung mga Kano. Handa bang bumangga ang Simbahan sa mga iput(baliktad ng puti) na to? Mukhang magkasama nga sila together with the Oligarchs represented by the Makati Business Club at silang tatlo- ang Simbahan, oligarchs at Kano- ay nananahimik lang sa gitna ng lahat ng ito. Uulitin ko, kung sa gitna ng lahat na ito ang presidente ay hindi si Boy Sayad kungdi si Ferdinand Marcos, mananahimik kaya itong mga Makati Business Club, Simbahan at mga Kano na ito? To repeat, this yellow regime is resting on three pillars, the oligarchy, the Church and the American-led West, the politicians are just their puppets. With this knowledge, it should be clear who is really screwing us in broad daylight.

    • The United States will not choose a candidate this time. They got burned when they choose Cory and sent Marcos to exile to Hawaii and they lost the Naval Base. The CIA will not mess with the May 9 election and they are going to see to it that the will of the people will be respected. The Philippine military (not the generals who are in the pocket of the Liberal party) will not let Aquino and the yellow party steal the election.

  8. Baby Marcos threatening to lead a citizens revolt if he is not elected? The man’s family was responsible for creating the mess that continues today by overthrowing the rules and declaring martial law, then stealing nearly all the resources of the country, topping it off with killing thousands of its citizens, making making many more disappear, torturing and raping many others. Any sensible country would have tried and then imprisoned them. Not let them return and continue to poison this country.

    • Galing ng mga wordings mo, mag research ka naman kahit lamang sa youtube kung sakto yang sinasabi mo.

  9. Mario Arocha on

    The writer’s views and arguments jell,however, the conclusion lacks wisdom and a clear perspective.