Sunday, June 27, 2010

In Search of the Truth of the May 10, 2010 Philippine Automated Elections

THE recent Philippine automated elections were held on May 10, 2010, the 113rd anniversary of the murder-by-execution of the "Father of Philippine Revolution," Andres Bonifacio. A month after, on June 19, the 149th anniversary of the birth of Jose Rizal, a coalition seeking mainly to "unravel the truth surrounding the May 2010 elections" held a seven-hour forum that explained the mechanics of the AES and its failure and showed the many blatant lies perpetrated by both the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM. Could the apparent historical coincidences timed with important days associated with the country's two national heroes forebode of the ultimate revelation of what really happened during the Filipinos' first experience with automated polls?

The MIGHT e2010 (Movement for Integrity in Governance and Honesty and Truth in the May 2010 Elections) forum also presented surprise witness Jonathan Manalang, the Operations Director of the technical support center of Smartmatic. Manalang, whose testimony before the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms was cut short by Makati Cong. Teddy Boy Locsin made some rather surprising revelations about the AES elections. He revealed that there was a  "superserver" located in Antel Building in Quezon which Smartmatic lied about and that excess PCOS machines were delivered to certain areas.


The resource persons also pointed to the glaring illegality of the automated polls. Election lawyer Araold Bayobay listed the actions and decisions committed by no less than Comelec itself in clear violation of the Poll Automation Law. Former Assemblyman Homobono severely criticized congress for its the proclamation of now-"President-elect" Noynoy Aquino despite the absence of a quorum, which he says is blatant violation of due process and the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Conspiracy of Cheating?

Former Assemblyman Homobono Adaza and Atty. Arnold Bayobay categorically spoke of cheating at both the local and national levels. Adaza referred to documents showing the nationwide pattern of improbable zero vote results. Suspiciously, the joint congressional oversight committee on automated elections or JCOC-AE has refused to investigate the glaring anomaly.

Striking evidence of apparent fraud at the presidential level was also shown. Bayobay presented election returns from a precinct in Pampanga that showed former President Joseph Estrada as the winner, followed by Sen. Manuel Villar and now-"President-elect" Noynoy Aquino trailing as third. However, he says that the transmitted report reflected Aquino as the winner. 

Mainstream Media Co-Optation?

The collusion of mainstream media to failure and probable cheating in the polls was also questioned. Manalang also testified to how at one point, the media was reporting on the supposed transmission Of 50 percent of the Certificates of Canvass or COC despite the fact that only 20 percent transmission was reflected in the headquarters of Smartmatic-TIM. Presidential candidate Nicanor Perlas had earlier wondered where the excess media-reported votes were coming from.

The group as a whole criticized the mainstream media for "conspiring" with both Smartmatic and the COMELEC in keeping facts away from public knowledge. According to Adaza, the mainstream organization's selection coverage of elections have worked against fomenting nationwide awareness of the conduct of the recent automated polls, hinting of the deliberate co-optation of media in electronic fraud.

The transcript of a video presentation of the forum follows:

"As we struggle to get to the truth. The truth that will give honor to each Filipino's vote."

-- Patricia Ilagan, MIGHT e2010

"We wake up one day and the votes are set and we do not even know how our votes were counted. I think we owe it to ourselves to look for the truth. And we thank you for being here in search of the truth, so that each and every one of us can make our own conclusions, but we should not let democracy be assaulted if there is any question of the 2010 elections being fraudulently conducted."

-- Sen. Jamby Madrigal

What Really Happened with your Votes?

"What really happened with your votes? what went through this election on May 10. It's anything but not perfect." 

-- Mr. Edmundo G. Casino (Philippine Computer Society, Board of  Director)

Legal and technical explanations from I.T. experts and lawyers

"... if one of those people puts something malicious in the software and is distributed to all the machines, then that one person could be responsible for change of, possibly tens of thousands of votes, maybe even hundreds of thousands across the country. That's the very danger of the situation."

"So if you can hack the memory cards, you can control an election"


"The good commissioner decided... this May 10, 2010 ... that practically debunks the provision of the law with regards section 6 of Republic Act No. 9369 under the title minimum system capabilities."

"One, it did not minimize cheating; in fact, it opened up more windows of opportunity to cheat in manners which would be very difficult for non-IT familiar watchers to comprehend."

--Vice-Gov. Emmanuel Pinol, North Cotabato

First Automated Polls Fail

"If this goes unattended, this country goes kaput in every elections."


Proof of Fraud from Known Politicians      -      Modern way Cheating
"I was surprised when he asked me if I am willing to engage his services, including those of his partners to guarantee the victory of my entire slate in the province. He further told me that they could manipulate the PCOS machines and as a matter of fact, all PCOS machines will be reprogrammed before elections to accommodate all politicians who will enlist their services"

-- Gov. Ace Barbers, Surigao del Norte

"It is easier to cheat in this elections because it is all automatic"

-- Pastor Ronald Tan, Vice-Mayoralty candidate, Tagaytay City

Those who Deny the Truth to be Heard

"It is not their right at all to hear it in my committee. The committee has the right to hear this in executive session. If he wants to speak, the cameras please go down to the parking lot and listen to him."

-- Cong. Teddy Boy Locsin

Truth that Every Filipino Deserves       -    For a Country Free of Fraud & Corruption

"We must uncover truth now. I am saying this: we must prosecute this individuals now. If it is really his desire and claim to rid this nation of corruption, start here, start with this election."

-- Pastor Ronald Tan of Tagaytay City

Uncovering the Truth

Question: "Are you guys telling us that Noynoy Aquino and Jejomar Binay are not the winners?

"To really uncover truth, now whether or not it is Noynoy or whether or not it is Erap or whether or not it is Villar, that is actually a... that's beside the point."
-- Pastor Tan

Who made the Problems

"The Problem is not about the law. It was about the implementation and the people behind."

Knowing who Really won the Elections

"Erap Estrada won. But in the election returns that was used in the canvass, it was Noynoy Aquino who won."
-- Atty. Arnold Bayobay

Leaders willing to Tell All - Know how they Made Fun on the Elections

"The Elections held on May 10, 2010 is illegal and unconstitutional. Here, you don't come out with a receipt, insert your card...ah, the ballot and you get "Congratulations." 'Congratulations, stupid.'... hehe.

"The sooner we throw this fellow out into the Mindanao Pit, the better it will be for us."

-- Ex-Cong. Homobono Adaza

Be Strong, Fight for the Truth    -    Learn the Whole Truth

"Let us build the house of this country that is founded on rock, beginning today."

-- ex-Assemblyman Adaza

[Media Complicity?]

"Nothing is changed since Martial Law, except that the people following you are more invisible and have more power because if they can control media, they can control the way you think. And we cannot allow the mainstream media to control the way we think, into thinking that this was the cleanest elections that we ever had."
-- Sen. Madrigal

Question: "The question is right behind our guests. Where did our votes go? What do I tell my family?"

The forum  held at the Manila Polo Club was attended by some 500 people that included intellectuals, civil society leaders, NGOs, academics, corporate executives, religious, student leaders, retired military and police officers, socialites and a few European diplomats.

The MIGHT e2010 coalition includes the Philippine Computer Society, Bro. Eddie Villanueva's Bangon Pilipinas, Councilor Jc de los Reyes' Ang Kapatiran Party, Anti-Trapo Movement of the Philippines, Brigada Berde, Bantay Garci 2010, Mahal Ko Bayan Ko, Center for Alternative Development Initiatives, Buklod National Political Party, Quezon City Political Coalition for Truth,  Para Sa Bansa Movement, Buklod Political Party, ATRIPPEDA.


Posted by Jesusa Bernardo

Additional references at SOBRIETY for the PHILIPPINES

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Secret “backdoor” allows complete control of PCOS machines used in May 10, 2010 Philippine polls

 by Rolando Verzola

HALALANG Marangal (HALAL) calls the attention of the COMELEC and the public to an unpublicized finding of the IT experts’ forensic examination of the Antipolo machines, conducted a few days before the incoming president and vice-president were proclaimed on June 9.
We have learned that a secret “backdoor” was found in the PCOS machines which, if exploited, would enable an intruder to easily control the machine completely. This backdoor is a little-known port on the PCOS called “console”. Smartmatic had given government IT experts the impression that this port could only be used as output, for monitoring the status of the PCOS.

The forensic examination at the Senate, however, has determined that the console port could in fact also be used as input. Thus, with a simple connection using a special cable, the PCOS can be controlled from another computer, and the operator on the controlling computer gains “superuser” access to the operating system of the PCOS without need for username or password. A superuser, which is similar to the “Administrator” account in Windows, can do things like save, modify, erase or overwrite files, including programs. A knowledgeable insider with superuser privileges can do practically anything on a machine.

HALAL has further learned that the PCOS operating system permanently records an application log only, which is saved to an audit log file in the removable Compact Flash (CF) card. The operating system log is saved not to the CF card but to volatile memory, also called a RAM disk, whose contents are lost everytime the PCOS machine is turned off. Thus, intrusions through this secret backdoor leave no record for forensic examination. In addition, intruders can also overwrite a recent audit log file with an old copy, allowing them to hide their tracks from the application log as well.

In the House committee on suffrage hearings, Smartmatic had admitted that the PCOS machine could be used to commit fraud during the elections, but had assured the committee that this will always leave a trace. But with the discovery of this secret backdoor, HALAL concludes that any trace of the intrusion can also be erased by the intruder.

What more has Smartmatic not told the Comelec and the public?

HALAL urges the COMELEC to investigate this security lapse and to determine the liability of Smartmatic for supplying us with a voting machine with a secret backdoor for controlling the machine, for withholding this information secret from government IT experts, and for exposing the 2010 elections to high-tech fraud.

HALAL also reiterates its proposal that all ballot images be unencrypted and put online, grouped by clustered precinct, so that candidates and voters may see for themselves if the PCOS machines counted their votes properly. This is the only way to determine if this backdoor was exploited by cheats or not.

Reference: Roberto Verzola, Secretary-general (0929-856-1930)


Posted by Jesusa Bernardo

Source URL:

Also posted @ BLOG by Taga-Ilog News


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Arroyobamaquino conspiracy theorist

“You can always trust the information given to you by people who are crazy; they have an access to truth not available through regular channels”—Sheila Ballantyne

Safely ensconced in his adopted country, thousands of miles away from the reach of any libel suits, self-exiled communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison boldly accused a sister of President-elect Benigno S.C. Aquino III of conspiring with Gloria Arroyo and the CIA to cheat in the 2010 elections. I decided to interview the man hiding in the Netherlands.

“Let me read to you what you said in your interview with Pinoy Weekly.”


“There are indications that the automated electoral system of Smartmatic, which is controlled by the US and its agents, was pre-programmed to make Aquino and Binay win. It’s obvious that a large number of votes were stolen from Manny Villar and Loren Legarda. Their precipitous decline was overkill and unbelievable. There are reports that high officials of the CIA, the Aquino family and the Arroyo regime decided on the pre-programming six weeks before the election. The meeting between Pinky Aquino-Abelleda and Mrs. Arroyo paved the way for the arrangement.”

“I said that in Pilipino.”

“Did I lose anything in the translation?”


“Good, then we can proceed.”

“Fire away.”

“Your allegation of an Arroyobamaquino conspiracy is unbelievable.”


“I cannot imagine any of Cory Aquno’s children singing kumbaya with Gloria Arroyo.”

“You don’t understand how the ruling class operates.”

“How did the ruling class operate the 2010 election?”

“The conduct of the 2010 elections shows the rottenness of the US-dominated ruling system of big compradors and landlords. It was a process dominated by the coalitions, parties and candidates of the reactionary ruling classes. Beforehand, it excluded the leaders of the working people who were repressed or who were without campaign funds. It was merely a personality-based contest of the political agents of the same exploiting classes.”


“It foisted a personality-based election on the oppressed masses. It excluded the leaders of the working people who were repressed or who were without campaign funds.”

“But didn’t you order Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza of Makabayan to ally themselves with the richest candidate?

“The alliance with Villar was a collective decision.”

“I heard it was not very popular with your rank-and-file. How did they vote in the election?”

“Makabayan got nearly 10 percent of the actual nationwide voters for each of its two senatorial candidates.”

“Ocampo and Maza got a little more than 3 million votes each, that’s expected, but why did Villar only get about five-and-a-half million. What happened to your command votes?”

“Most of the votes for Villar are equivalent to the basic electoral base of Makabayan and the progressive party-list groups.”

“Ah, so in other words, if not for your command votes, Villar would only have about 2 million votes?”

“Definitely, Villar benefited more from the NP-Makabayan alliance than Makabayan did. But by his refusal to denounce the Arroyo regime as strongly as did Aquino and Estrada, Villar prejudiced not only himself but also his Makabayan teammates.”


“It prevented the Makabayan senatorial candidates from benefiting from the anti-Arroyo sentiment and increasing their votes beyond their basic electoral base.”

“So Villar spoiled Makabayan’s chances of winning a couple of Senate seats?”

“The public knows that revolutionary forces are not equivalent to any electoral party. They measure their success in terms of increasing the revolutionary mass base and armed strength in the people’s war and not in terms of taking seats within the reactionary government.”

“Then why do you and your revolutionary forces participate in elections?”


“Your revolutionary rhetoric is getting old, Joma. Really old. You’re becoming an outdated revolutionary. Oops, I just turned you an oxymoron.”

*Most of Joma’s verbiage are direct quotes from his interview in

Source: Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The 16 Presidents of the Philippines--a historical satire

Satirical text version:

1ANDRES C. BONIFACIO (1896-1897) 
TUNAY na Unang Pangulo. Ayaw kilalanin ng mga elitista.

2.  EMILIO F. AGUINALDO (1897/98-1901) 
Orihinal na mang-aagaw. Berdugo 2x. Nagpa-onse sa mga Amerikano.

3.  MANUEL LUIS M. QUEZON (1935-1944)
Panahon ng Imperyalistang Kano. Pinataob si 'hero-killer' Aguinaldo sa Halalan 1935.

4. JOSE P. LAUREL (1943-1945)
Panahon ng 'Takot ako Hapon.'

5. SERGIO S. OSMENA (1944/45 - 1946)
 Hindi suportado ng Amerika ang pagtakbo noong 1946. Hindi nagkampanya kaya tumiklop kay Roxas.

6. MANUEL A. ROXAS (1946 - 1948)
Ginoong "Parity Rights." Aming likas na yaman ay inyo rin, Amerika!

7.  ELPIDIO R. QUIRINO (1948 - 1953)
Panahon ng Hukbalahap. Pinatalo daw ng Amerika noong Halalan 1953.

8.  RAMON F. MAGSAYSAY (1953 - 1957)
Care of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Makataong "Amboy."

9.  CARLOS P. GARCIA (1957 - 1961)
  "Filipino First" policy. Period.

10. DIOSDADO P. MACAPAGAL (1961 - 1965)
Kalayaan daw ng bansa ay Hunyo 12, 1898.

11. FERDINAND E. MARCOS (1965 - 1986)
Diktator ng Martial Law. Pero medyo inayos ang bayan.

Santa de Santita. May "Kamag-Anak Inc."

13. FIDEL V. RAMOS - (1992 - 1998)
Nanalo DAW noong Halalan 1992. Salamat sa brownouts.

14. JOSEPH  EJERCITO ESTRADA (1998 - 2001)
Mabisyo. Pero may nasyonalismo, patriotismo, at populismo (maka-Masa). Biktima ng mga tampalasan at timang.

Mangaagaw # 2. "Pangulo" ni Hello Garci at Ampatuan. Ang Pinaka.....   grrrrrrrr! Matagal nang hinihintay ni FPJ.

16. BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO (2010 - ___) 
Automated Hello Garci a.k.a. HOCUS PCOS # 1. (?).  Aba eh, anong nangyari kay dilawang Gob. Rafael Nantes ?!?


by Jesusa Bernardo

Also posted at SOBRIETY for the PHILIPPINES

Friday, June 11, 2010

PCOS Machines in Antipolo – The Untold Story Part I

by Nicanor Perlas

I wanted to tell the story of the Antipolo PCOS machines more than three weeks ago. At the time, and until today, the media have continued to post one-sided stories regarding my involvement in the controversy surrounding these PCOS, the machines that were at the heart of the first national automated elections in the Philippines.  This one-sided and clearly biased and manipulated media reporting had, in some instances, also resulted in the loss of support from a few supporters who voted for me.

So I wanted to give a complete picture to surface a fuller truth regarding the Antipolo PCOS machines, to neutralize the media spin on this issue, and to enable supporters and the general public to make an informed judgment regarding the highly controversial events that surrounded the drama around the 60 PCOS machines in Antipolo City.

However, preparation for and participation in events connected with the investigations at the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms as well as the Senate and House Joint Committee acting as National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for President and Vice President, ate up most of my time. But now the Joint Congress Committee has authorized a Technical Working Group (TWG) to conduct a forensics of the 60 PCOS machines in Antipolo. The Antipolo PCOS machines are now back in public consciousness. It is therefore time to reveal the untold story surrounding the PCOS machines in Antipolo.

The PCOS machines, short for Precinct Count Optical Scanners, were at the heart of the recent automated national elections in May 2010. A few days after the May 10, 2010 elections, tri-media reported that 60 PCOS machines were found in the house of a Smartmatic technician in Antipolo City. Smartmatic was Comelec’s (Commission on Eections) contractor for the automated elections.

The news immediately raised alarm bells in a social climate where presidential candidates, including myself, were asking whether the recent national elections were clean and honest. What were the 60 PCOS machines doing in a private house instead of a polling place or another authorized location? Where they used for fraud?

Unknown to most of the public, on 23 April 2010, Comelec passed Resolution 8823 directing Smartmatic to store the PCOS machines in the central warehouse of Smartmatic in Cabuyao, Laguna, after elections.

So clearly, here, was a violation by Smartmatic of the Comelec resolution. The Smartmatic technician was illegally in possession of the PCOS machines. The suspicions of the residents of Antipolo were right. The PCOS machines were not supposed to be stored in the house of the technician. It was illegally being held hostage in a private house.

At this time, the residents of Antipolo were not aware of this legal violation by Smartmatic. They were just very suspicious about the PCOS machines being housed in a private house. Therefore, they immediately mobilized their neighbors and friends to surround the private house to prevent the PCOS machines from being taken away. They also contacted Congressman Lito Gatlabayan, who ran for mayor of Antipolo City in the recent elections, to come to their assistance.

The number of concerned residents swelled. Smartmatic knew it could not take out the machines. Both sides called the police to ensure peace and order.

On May 14, 2010, Smartmatic Area Manager Vicente Carlos M. Serrano and Atty. Andrei Zapanta, Counsel for NPC-NP and representing Congressman Lito Gatlabayan and the concerned citizens of Antipolo, signed a memorandum of agreement. The MOA was witnessed by Comelec City Election Officer Atty. Arnulfo Pioquinto, Rizal Province Police Chief, PSSUPT Jonathan Ferdinand Miano, and Philippine Army Lieutenant Arnel Marcos.  In that agreement, they agreed to transfer the 60 PCOS machines to the Ynares Center Building, the seat of the Provincial Government of Rizal. All parties agreed that the Ynares Center was a neutral site for the safe-keeping of the PCOS machines.

In the MOA, all parties also agreed that, at the soonest possible time, given the tension surrounding the machines, IT personnel from Smartmatic, Comelec, and Congressman Gatlayan would jointly inspect the machine and examine its contents, especially the data inside the secondary flash card. By that time, a crowd of almost 5000 residents had camped outside the Ynares Center Building. They were guarding the PCOS machines, 24 hours a day.

On May 15, 2010, responding to an urgent request from Congressman Gatlabayan and his leaders, presidential candidates Jamby Madrigal, JC de los Reyes, and myself hurriedly went to Antipolo City. Congressman Gatlabayan was concerned that Smartmatic would bring in the police to disperse the crowd and snatch back the PCOS machines. Because of this possibility, and believing that the PCOS machines contained evidence of fraud committed against him and other local and national candidates, he also wanted to examine the contents of the Compact Flash Cards (CFC) that were inside the PCOS machines.

When we arrived, a crowd of around 2000 people warmly greeted us. All four of us (the three presidential candidates and Congressman Gatlabayan) briefly spoke before the crowd and congratulated them for their bravery and what they had done. We emphasized that they were doing a tremendous service to the nation for protecting the integrity of the PCOS machines.

We then proceeded to the office of Congressman Lito Gatlabayan. His office was also inside the Ynares Center Building. There we discussed, then debated what to do with the PCOS machines. A much smaller crowd of around 15 local leaders and lawyers listened to our discussion/debate.

Because of the urgency and the uncertainty of the situation, most wanted ALL the machines to be opened on that day. However, I and the lawyer of another candidate, resisted the attempt to open all the PCOS machines on that day. I argued that the MOA clearly said that Smartmatic and Comelec had to be there to witness the opening and testing of the PCOS machines. And one lawyer, whose name escapes me for now, argued the importance of due process. He was insisting, with my support, that we had to inform Smartmatic and Comelec regarding our intent to do an examination of the PCOS machines.

Finally, everyone agreed to do the audit of the PCOS machines on Monday. We also agreed to inform Comelec and Smartmatic about our intention to open the machines on Monday, 17 May 2010, a decision that was duly implemented by the lawyers of Congressman Gatlabayan.

The following Monday, before going back to Antipolo, Jamby, JC, and I filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking a Temporary Restraining Order against Comelec. The latter announced that it was going to destroy Compact Flash Cards that operated the PCOS machines as well as delete related data in their laptops. We all thought that this was a very irresponsible act by Comelec as this could taken as tampering with election results.

After the Supreme Court, we headed straight for Ynares Center in Antipolo City. When we arrived, we noted high emotional tension in the area.

Congressman Gatlabayan informed us that his lawyers had informed Comelec and Smartmatic of our intention to investigate the PCOS machines for fraudulent use, if any. However, Comelec washed its hands on our joint investigation of the PCOS machines. Their officer, Atty. Pioquino, said that the PCOS machines were the property of Smartmatic. Therefore, we can do the investigation provided Smartmatic agreed.

In addition, Smartmatic did a very dishonorable act. Its lawyer penned a handwritten note saying that they would not honor the MOA between them and Congressmen Gatlabayan. Instead Smartmatic’s lawyer asked the Governor not to give the key to the security room containing the 60 PCOS machines. And not contented with this obstruction, Smartmatic also then asked head of the provincial police to take possession of the 60 PCOS machines.

Since we had an authentic and duly executed MOA in our hands, we all agreed and decided as follows. First, we concluded that Smartmatic and Comelec had relinquished their legal right to be present in the IT investigations of the PCOS machines. Second, Smartmatic had no right to prevent us from entering the room containing the PCOS machines. Therefore, we were going to open the door to the PCOS machine and we were going to do this forcibly, if necessary. And, third, we, together with several thousand other Antipolo residents, would prevent the police from snatching the PCOS machines away from the Ynares Center.

We then implemented our decisions. But, first, we, through Congressman Gatlabayan, made several attempts to convince the Governor to release the keys to PCOS room. These attempts failed. Meanwhile, the police informed Congressman Gatlabayan that they were moving forward to secure the PCOS machines.

It was clear from these two developments that we all had to move swiftly to access the PCOS machines. Thereafter, the followers of Congressman Gatlabayan forcibly opened the door of the room containing the PCOS machines. They broke the lock (which they replaced later on) and entered the room. Simultaneously the large crowd cordoned off the PCOS area to prevent the police from entering the room and forcibly taking the PCOS machines.

When we entered the room, most of the leaders, probably due to the emotional demands of the crowd outside, wanted to open all PCOS machines. I strongly argued that we should open only one PCOS machine as we wanted to preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the rest of the machines. Besides it would be easier to closely examine one machine rather than 60 machines all at once.

I also argued that we should have the media take footages of our investigation. I wanted the public to know how we were conducting the investigations. I also wanted to prevent wild rumors and gossips that could emerge alleging that we were damaged the PCOS machines. The group agreed.

That media would later on spin the story irresponsibly is their own fiction, not what really happened. They never gave our explanation a chance to be fully aired to the public.

So we opened one PCOS box. We found a back-up flash card and tried to read its content. We failed in this effort due to software incompatibilities. Meanwhile, we opened the metal casing protecting the hardware of PCOS machine to find out what was inside. As I was overseeing the process, I explicitly instructed the person opening the machine not to tamper with the hardware of the PCOS machine. And he followed my instruction.

After several hours, the technician managed to start the PCOS machine. When it started, it printed out a date: 11 May 2010, 1139am. This was our first evidence that the machines had been used after the elections! Under Comelec General Instructions, election officers were supposed to shut down the machine after use on the day of the elections, that is, on 10 May 2010.

I went outside to report to the crowd our first preliminary result. They heartily cheered this report. Later, we found out that other PCOS machines in other parts of the country had been used at different times, times that were not connected with the official milestones authorized for the PCOS machines.

As we were doing our investigation, we received word that the police force was increasing in numbers. It was clear that they were up to something. Tensions increased again. I therefore decided to personally lead a small group to negotiate directly with the provincial police chief, PSSUPT Miano.

From the negotiations, it was clear that the police had been given orders “from above” to secure the PCOS machines. The provincial police superintendent also informed us that they now had over 500 policemen securing the area. He also informed us that they had sealed off the area to prevent the thousands of other residents outside the perimeter fence from joining their 2000 PCOS watchers inside the compound. Both these developments alarmed and agitated the 2000 or so PCOS watchers inside the compound. They braced themselves for a physical encounter with the police.

The negotiations continued for more than 6 hours. During these negotiations, the police negotiating team consisted of PNP head for the province, his deputy, and their regional deputy head. The negotiations were generally respectful and cordial. It was clear that there had been probably some miscommunications between the police, Smartmatic, the Governor, and Congressman Gatlabayan.

However, there was a time that the negotiations could have ended abruptly. In the midst of the police was a lawyer from Smartmatic. This lawyer kept on putting stumbling blocks on the negotiations, making all kinds of wild claims. It seemed that all he could say was “No” to all kinds of suggestions.

The point was reached when I had to pointedly ask the provincial head of the police: “Whom would you follow – the governor or Smartmatic?”

The governor, who has authority over the police in his province, was sending exploratory signals that he would allow the residents to continue having jurisdiction over the PCOS machines, especially since Smartmatic, in the MOA referred to, agreed to having the PCOS machines in the Ynares Center. So I wanted to know directly from the police chief if the power of the governor was enough authority for him to leave the PCOS watchers in peace.

Not surprisingly, the police chief answered “Smartmatic!”.  I was not surprised because the provincial police chief had shown his partiality for Smartmatic early on during the negotiations. Also, the provincial police chief reminded me that he had yielded to everything I had requested, including allowing the food of the 2000 PCOS watchers to be brought in beyond their barricade.

With his answer, it became clear to me that we had reached the point of stalemate. The negotiations would only move forward if we had documented evidence, from a higher or the highest authority of the land, that we had the right to safeguard the PCOS machines.

I went back and forth from the PCOS room to that adjoining place in the Ynares Center where the police were gathered, to consult with my colleagues regarding our stand and report to them on the progress of the negotiations. In the process, I saw that the hundreds of policemen and policewomen were aligned in battle formation and were in full anti-riot gear. I saw also that heavily armed personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines had joined the police. Clearly the police and the military were preparing a joint operation to forcibly snatch the PCOS machines away from the area and hand it over to Smartmatic.

After my report of developments to our leadership group, Senator Jamby Madrigal contacted Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Senator Madrigal convinced Senator Enrile to have the Senate of the Philippines take custody of the PCOS machines. Upon this agreement, Enrile immediately called an unnamed Commissioner of the Comelec. Because of the potential for a violent confrontation, Enrile requested the Commissioner to convene an en banc meeting of the Comelec the following day and pass a Comelec resolution authorizing the transfer of the PCOS machines to the Senate.

While Senators Madrigal and Enrile were having their conversation, I thought of a solution that would be acceptable to both sides. By then, I had successfully convinced the negotiating team of the police to go inside the holding room of the PCOS machines and be there together with the leaders of the PCOS watchers. In this way, we could speed up the negotiation process. I assured the policemen their safety and that no untoward event would happen. People were tired on both sides and all parties wanted a peaceful resolution of the matter.

I convinced my colleagues to allow the police to move closer to the holding area of the PCOS machines. They initially objected because the followers of Congressman Gatlabayan did not trust the police. But then we said we can limit the number of the policemen not to exceed more than 10. I explained to my colleagues that the police had to be able to report to their superiors that they had secured an area where they can monitor whether or not the PCOS machines were going to be taken away or vandalized. In the end, my colleagues agreed to this arrangement.

As for the police, I convinced them to remain in their proposed specific area and to promise not to attack the PCOS watchers to avoid bloodshed. I also informed them of the agreement between the Senate President and a Comelec Commissioner. I assured them that this agreement would be backed up with the proper Comelec Resolution the following day.

Therefore, at around 2AM, Congressman Gatlabayan and I explained to the PCOS watchers our agreement with the police. They cheered their approval. Shortly thereafter, I facilitated the entry of a small police force near the holding room of the PCOS machines. In the end, the police sent a force of only 7 men and they properly situated themselves in the agreed area.

However, some local members of the leadership group continued to have fears about the trustworthiness of the police. And they were justified in their concern. Just shortly before the elections, unidentified men tried to assassinate Congressman Gatlabayan, wounding one bodyguard. Gatlabayan and his men chased the would-be assassins. The chase ended in a police office where the presiding officer, armed with an armalite, told Gatlabayan and his men to back off.

Thus, I went outside to the media and requested the GMA7 TV crew, the only TV crew left, to continue monitoring the area. In this way, the police will not be tempted to break the agreement. I also advised Gatlabayan to ensure that his followers put physical barriers in front of the door to the PCOS room and surround it with men. This would then pre-empt any surprise move by the police. He assured me that his men had already planned to do this.

After we made all these arrangements, the non-Antipolo residents, including myself, went home, knowing the PCOS machines would not be taken away. But we all knew that our task was not yet finished. After all, Comelec might still refuse to issue the required resolution.

After less than 4 hours of sleep, I then had to rush to attend a press conference organized by the CBCP in Intrmuros. Jamby, JC, and myself were invited to give some Bishops and the media an update of our investigations on fraud.

The press conference was significant as this press conference on May 18, 2010 became the venue for the first public DVD appearance of a masked man claiming massive fraud in the 2010 elections. Later on, Congressman Teddy Locsin would insult this whistleblower as “koala bear” due to the appearance of his mask. What “koala bear” and others like him had to say, however, will be the subject of another article.

After this CBCP press conference, Jamby, JC and I went to Comelec and directly to the office of Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal. Senate President Enrile had advised Senator Madrigal to seek out this particular Commissioner. An agitated and very unfriendly Larrazabal came out and said that the Comelec had just passed an en banc resolution transferring custody of the Antipolo PCOS machines to the Senate. He informed us that the said resolution would be ready in a few minutes at the Comelec Secretary.

We thus obtained Comelec En Banc Resolution No. 8926, dated 18 May 2010, directing all parties concerned to have the Antipolo PCOS machines moved to the Senate for custody. Armed with this resolution, we hurriedly drove from Intramuros to Antipolo City. We were in a hurry because we were receiving text messages and calls that the policemen, contrary to our agreement, were starting to surround the whole building and were planning to disperse the PCOS watchers and take possession of the PCOS machines. I personally advised Congressman Gatlabayan via cell phone to ask the police to hold off and wait for us as we already had the Comelec Resolution.

When Jamby, JC, and I arrived, we were greeted with wild cheers. We waved the copy of the Comelec resolution amidst the thunderous applause of the thousands who have gathered to protect the PCOS machines.

One by one, starting with Congressman Getlabayan, we all thanked the Antipolo people for their bravery and courage for staking their life in defense of the PCOS machines. In addition, I personally thanked the police force and its provincial chief for allowing a peaceful resolution of the standoff. We all realized how close we all were to a violent incident. And we were all glad that we avoided it. The crowd responded by giving the policemen an applause.

We then went into one last final negotiation with the police regarding the manner of accounting for and transport of the PCOS machines to the Senate. As directed by the Comelec Resolution, the local Comelec officer had to take a full inventory of the 60 PCOS machines. After this inventory, the provincial police chief was to deploy more than 50 police escorts to accompany the PCOS machines to the Senate.

The inventory process took more than 5 hours. We had to go thru all the 60 boxes containing the PCOS machines and take a full inventory of what was written outside the box, note whether the box was sealed or open, and then inventory the full contents of the PCOS boxes that were opened. We did not open the sealed PCOS boxes.

I personally directed this operation together with the Comelec. I wanted to make sure that the process was orderly and that the inventory was accurate. I personally stood behind the Comelec personnel writing the inventory to make sure that she was recording all the details properly.

Eventually, at around 10pm, we finished the inventory and started loading the PCOS machines in an authorized van hired by Comelec. I personally sat beside the driver to ensure that there were no questionable last minute maneuvers that would compromise the integrity of the PCOS machines. Twenty or so policemen in motorcycles, plus three police vehicles, containing high-level police officers were ahead of us. Behind us were the three escort vehicles of Senator Jamby Madrigal. Jamby was seated in the car immediately behind the van. And behind Jamby were the vehicles of JC de los Reyes and Congressman Lito Gatlabyan and his supporters. It was a long convoy involving more than 300 people.

Eventually we reached the Senate building. Senator Enrile and his people were waiting for us. One by one Senate personnel unloaded the PCOS boxes and machines and stored them in a special room in the second floor of the Senate building. The personnel of the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms took a careful inventory of the machines. They also received the original copy of the inventory that Comelec and I did in Antipolo of the 60 PCOS machines. We finished at around 1AM the following morning.

The journey with the 60 PCOS machines from Antipolo had been long and arduous. It was also filled with a lot of tension and a real potential for a violent clash between the police and the people seeking the truth regarding these 60 PCOS machines.

Why had Smartmatic and the Comelec, and their police apparatus, put up such a stiff, almost violent, opposition to the rightful investigation of these PCOS machines that Smartmatic had illegally stored in a private house in Antipolo? Were they hiding something inside these machines?

The Senate President promised to have a full-blown forensic investigation of these machines before the Joint Congress would canvass the votes for President and Vice-President. But Senator Enrile never delivered on his promise. Instead he rushed the canvass by a Joint Committee of Congress (not Joint Congress itself) and allowed only a truncated investigation to take place on June 4, 5, 7, and 8, the last days of the canvassing. These investigations were terminated yesterday and had no value as far as the canvassing and proclamation of the top elective positions in the country were concerned.

In a follow up article, I will report on some of the disturbing preliminary findings we have discovered in our official investigation of the contents of the PCOS boxes, the content of the compact flash cards of the machines, and the peripheral accessories inside these boxes. We cannot allow illegal maneuverings to hoodwink the Filipino people that they just conducted a successful and honest national election. We would then be abandoning and betraying our duty as active and concerned citizens of the Republic of the Philippines.



Perlas, Nicanor. PCOS Machines in Antipolo – The Untold Story Part I. 10 June 2010.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rat droppings

Look for rat droppings near your food supplies. A variety of sizes may indicate an established colony with both older and younger animals.—Rat Infestations-How to Tell if You Have a Rat Problem

‘The Arroyo administration spruced up the Arlegui Mansion just in case the incoming legitimately elected president decides to use it as his official residence,” my son informed me.

“What a nice gesture,” I commented.

“Gloria Arroyo paid for the renovation out of her official budget,” he added.

“Wow, that’s even more admirable. But why are you smiling?” I asked.

“Because she appointed the mansion with furniture from the Marcos era.”

“You see malice in everything Gloria does,” I told him.

“That would be true if furniture was the only questionable appointment she made,” he replied.

“Are you referring to those midnight appointments?”

“I prefer to call them rat droppings, those little mementos that a rat leaves behind after she goes through your pantry,” he replied.

I had to admit that “rat droppings” is a better term to describe what the press euphemistically calls “midnight appointments.”

“Well, Noynoy Aquino can hose them away after he is sworn into office,” I said.

“Wrong, pops,” he said. “Those rat droppings won’t wash away that easily. They have a protective cover called Supreme Court.”

“The Court will see through those appointments and rule accordingly,” I argued.

“Just like the way it ruled on the appointment of Chief Justice?” he replied.

“Touché, but Noynoy can still appeal to her appointees’ sense of delicadeza.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Why not?” I replied. “Her manicurist declined an appointment to the housing fund.”

“She’s different. She took care of Gloria’s nails, the other appointees tended another part of Gloria’s anatomy,” he said. “Look at the color of their noses,” he added.

“You don’t have to be so graphic,” I said. “Anyway, her spokesman, Gary Olivar, said that some of those appointments were made to provide continuity, that there was no irregularity involved, and that they were made in good form.”

“Olivar said ‘good form’? He should think twice before using ‘good form’ to describe things Gloria has done. Olivar’s appointment was not exactly in good form; as a matter of fact, it’s criminal!”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Dual citizens are barred from holding elective or appointive positions. It’s against the dual-citizenship law,” he explained.

“Well, he also said some of the appointments were made to provide continuity.”

“Continuity? President Aquino’s election was a wholesale rejection of the Arroyo regime! What continuity are you talking about?”

“So you want all those midnight appointees to resign at the end of the month?”


“But some of them might be qualified for their position.”

“Then there’s a chance President Aquino might reappoint them,” he replied.

“Why do you keep calling Senator Aquino president? He does not become president until the end of the month,” I said.

“I know but I’ve been waiting all of nine years for the chance to use ‘President’ again. Forgive me for the premature ejaculation.”

“At any rate,” I said, “Noynoy should be more reconciliatory. The least he can do is express appreciation for the sprucing up of Arlegui Mansion.”

“Yes, I agree he should reciprocate with his own gesture of goodwill. I think his first official act should be to order the sprucing up of the Women’s Correctional for its incoming resident.”

Source: Business Mirror

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Current Canvassing of Presidential and Vice Presidential Votes highly Irregular and Illegal

by Nicanor Perlas

On May 31, 2010, in the halls of the House of Representatives, a document was circulating discreetly. It had no name and date. It was not part of the official records of the proceedings. Yet, this document became the legal basis for the rapid canvassing of the presidential and vice-presidential votes that soon took place starting that day and continues until today. Objections from lawyers of candidates were simply “noted”, by the Chairs. That is, the legal objections were basically ignored.

Mr. Noted is back and is back with a vengeance. But this time, Mr. Noted, in the persons of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker of the House, Prospero Nograles, is perpetuating a highly irregular and illegal process that borders on a betrayal of a central feature of our democracy, the election process.


The document has a long title:  “ON THE ISSUE OF USING THE PRINTED CERTIFICATES OF CANVASS AS BASIS FOR CANVASSING AND PROCLAMATION.”  For short, we will call this legal analysis the “DOCUMENT”. 

The DOCUMENT had one task: To justify canvassing of presidential and vice-presidential votes on the basis of printed certificates of canvass (COCs) alone, not the electronic votes that lay at the basis of the printed COCs.

Why did it have this task?

The National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), composed of representatives of both the House and the Senate, had a dilemma. RA 9369, the law governing the Automated Election System (AES)  of the May 2010 elections, requires elections returns (ERs) to have digital signatures. But COMELEC disabled this feature in their AES.  If the millions of votes had no digital signatures, then there would be no legal basis to canvass the votes of all candidates, including presidential and vice-presidential bets.

The specter of failure of elections loomed on the horizon. And the only way to avoid it was to legally justify using the printed COCs and not the electronic COCs.


Argument 1: No Specific Legal Provision To Use Electronic COCs

The document said: “1. There is no specific legal provision requiring Congress to use the electronically transmitted COCs to be used as the sole basis for canvassing.” Then it cites specific provisions of RA 9369 to justify its claim.

“a. Section 23 of RA 9369 requires only that the certificates of canvass be electronically transmitted to Congress but the same does not direct Congress to canvass this document.

“b. Section 20 of RA 9369 which provides that ‘the certificates of canvass transmitted electronically and digitally signed  shall be considered as official elections results and shall be used as the basis for the proclamation of candidates’, applies only to provincial, city, district, municipal BOCs and not to Congress acting as the National BOC.

“c. Section 22 of RA 9369, which refers to the canvassing of results by consolidating the COCs electronically transmitted, is directed to COMELEC as the National BOC for Senators and Party-List Representatives. There is no similar directive to Congress.”

Unfortunately, a closer look at RA 9369 and related laws shows that this legal interpretation is not correct. Worst, it is littered with half-truths that mislead those who do not closely scrutinize the document.

Refutation of Argument 1:  a. Overview Considerations

Before we go directly to Section 23 as mistakenly interpreted by the DOCUMENT above, it would be important to take a closer look at the earlier Sections of RA 9369. These earlier related Sections will provide the appropriate context and basis for the proper understanding of Section 23. As will be demonstrated immediately below, the DOCUMENT incorrectly and fatally misinterprets the language of Section 23, thereby providing a fragile, and ultimately, unstable basis for the current canvassing of the presidential and vice presidential votes by Congress acting as NBOC.

First let us turn to Section 19 of RA 9369,  a section ignored by the DOCUMENT, but which has tremendous bearing on the interpretation founded in the other sections cited by the DOCUMENT.

Near the bottom of Section 19, we find the following directive.  "The election returns transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as the basis for the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of a candidate." [Emphasis added.]

This section provides a clear legal requirement for canvassing; that is, canvassing for ALL candidates must use “election returns transmitted electronically and digitally signed”.

Section 19, entitled “electronic returns” specifies in clear language what to do with the “printed election returns” which are derived from electronic returns. And in this specification, ALL candidates for president, vice-president, senators, party-list, House of Representatives and local officials are included. There is no special provision or exemption regarding presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

And after specifying in great detail what to do with the printed election returns, the second to the last paragraph of Section 19 ends with the specification that it is the “election returns transmitted electronically and digitally signed” that “shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as the basis for canvassing of votes and the proclamation of a candidate.” (Emphasis added.)

The printed election returns serve merely as a backup to the digitally signed electronic returns as can be seen in the statutory construction of the Section as well as in the design requirement of the AES itself.

The latter can be seen from Section 6 of RA 9369 which provides as follows:  “Minimum System Capabilities. - "The automated election system [AES] must at least have the following functional capabilities:  (f) System auditability which provides supporting documentation for verifying the correctness of reported election results;”

Clearly, digital election returns are primary and the printed election returns are secondary.  And this is also the reason why, as we shall see further below, digital election returns and electronic or digital COCs are emphasized throughout the different levels of canvassing.

Refutation of Argument 1:  b. Debunking DOCUMENT Section 20 Interpretation

Section 20 specifies the guidelines for canvassing of votes at the municipal, city, district, and provincial levels:

“The City or Municipal board of canvassers shall canvass the votes for the president, vice-president, senators, and parties, organization or coalitions participating under the party-list system by consolidating the electronically transmitted results contained in the data storage devices used in the printing of the election returns.” And a similar procedure, that is, the use of “electronically transmitted results”, is specified for district and provincial canvassing.

Section 20 ends with a repetition of Section 19: "The certificates of canvass transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as the basis for the proclamation of a winning candidate."

However, there is no longer a mention of the “canvassing of votes” as was previously done with Section 19 as discussed above. This is so because Section 20 also describes in detail how the various board of canvassers “shall canvass” the votes for president, vice-president, and other candidates by “consolidating the electronically transmitted results contained in the data storage devices used in the printing of the election returns”.

From the foregoing, it is clear that Section 19 has a broader language and more generic and all-encompassing application than Section 20.  The DOCUMENT, therefore, CANNOT use Section 20 as the basis for saying that the use of electronic ERs “applies only to provincial, city, district, municipal BOCs and not to Congress acting as the National BOC.” In fact it applies to all BOCs including Congress as NBOC for presidential and vice presidential votes.

Refutation of Argument 1:  c. Debunking DOCUMENT Section 22 Interpretation

Section 22 of RA 9369 contains the following legal provision:

“National Board of Canvassers for Senators and Party-List Representatives. - The chairman and members of the Commission on Election sitting en banc, shall compose the national board of canvassers for senators and party-list representatives. It shall canvass the results by consolidating the certificates of canvass electronically transmitted. Thereafter, the national board shall proclaim the winning candidates for senators and party-list representatives." (Emphasis added.)

The DOCUMENT argues that there is “no similar directive to Congress” to use digital COCs as the basis for its canvassing.

First it must be noted that there is an admission by the DOCUMENT that the language in Section 22, including the phrase in “bold”, means that digital COCs are the basis for canvassing the votes of senatorial and party-list candidates.

Second, the DOCUMENT is plainly mistaken to conclude that “no similar directive to Congress” exists. In fact, the directive to use digital COCs exists in Section 23, but not in the language of Section 22, but with a similar effect as Section 22.

Refutation of Argument 1:  d. Debunking DOCUMENT Section 23 Interpretation
Section 23 of RA 9369 specifies as follows:  “Congress as the National Board of Canvassers for President and Vice-President. - The Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session shall compose the national board of canvassers for president and vice-president. The certificate of canvass for president and vice-president duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be electronically transmitted to the Congress, directed to the president of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the Senate shall, not later than thirty (30) days after the day of the election, open all the certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of representatives in joint public session and the Congress upon determination of the authenticity and the due execution thereof in the manner provided by law, canvass all the results for president and vice-president and thereafter, proclaim the winning candidates." (Emphasis added.)
The DOCUMENT claims that “Section 23 of RA 9369 requires only that the certificates of canvass be electronically transmitted to Congress but the same does not direct Congress to canvass this document.”  The DOCUMENT is clearly mistaken in this interpretation.

In fact, Section 23 cited above clearly directs Congress that, upon receipt of the electronically transmitted COCs, it shall, as NBOC for president and vice president,

a. open all COCs electronically transmitted;
b. determine its authenticity and due execution as provided by law;
c. canvass all the results; and
d. proclaim the winning candidates.

There is zero reference in Section 23 to printed COCs.  On the contrary, there is only one kind of certificate of canvass or COC that is being discussed: electronic COCs. This is clear from the statutory construction of this Section as well as Sections 19, 20, and 22.  And as we shall see later on below, RA 9369 has other provisions connected with printed COCs.

Section 23 clearly speaks about electronic COCs and the canvassing of the same albeit in a different language than Section 22, but with the same effect. In short the language of Section 23 of RA 9369 is clearly referring to the electronic COCs, not the printed COCs. 

It is important to note in this context that RA 9369, among others, is “AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM . . .”   Note the emphasis on the word “system”, which means the whole substance and process of automation. 

RA 9369 defines the automated election system (AES) as follows:

"SEC. 2. Definition of Terms. - As used in this Act, the following terms shall mean:

"1. Automated election system, hereinafter to as AES - a system using appropriate technology which has been demonstrated in the voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, and transmission of election result, and other electoral process;” (Emphasis added.)

Note the term, “canvassing” and “other electoral process”.  The intent of the law is to automate almost ever facet of the electoral process, including canvassing and “other electoral process”.

So why should the canvass for presidential and vice-presidential candidates rely on PRINTED COCs and not on electronic COCs that have the appropriate digital signature as required by both RA 9369 and RA 8792, or the Electronic Commerce Act referred to in RA 9369, infra?

Refutation of Argument 1:  e. COCs must be based on digital signatures not of PCOS machines alone but also of duly authorized election personnel.

Let us grant, for the sake of argument, that Section 23 does not require the use of digital COCs and that, instead, printed COCs can be used as the basis for canvassing the votes for president and vice president.

Unfortunately, as we have seen above, the whole logic and AES infrastructure of RA 9369, including Section 19, require the use of digital signatures as the basis for ERs and COCs. Section 19 of RA 9369 capture this reality as discussed above.

Thus, if ERs, upon which both digital and printed COCs depend on, have no digital signatures, then even printed COCs cannot be canvassed. Sections 19, 20, 22, and 23, discussed above, are very clear about this requirement.

In particular, Section 23, as discussed above, requires first the determination by Congress that the digital COCs were properly authenticated and duly executed before canvassing can proceed. And this means nothing other than that the digital ERs, upon which even printed COCs rely upon, have the proper digital signature. Without these digital signatures, the whole canvassing process based on printed COCs are flawed.

Section 23 speaks about electronic transmission of COCs.  Even this is admitted by the DOCUMENT.  Section 8 of RA 9369 givers us an idea of what this implies and entails.

Section 8: "Communication Channels for Electronic Transmissions. - all electronic transmissions by and among the AES and its related components shall utilize secure communication channels as recommended by the Advisory Council, to ensure authentication and integrity of transmission."

Section 25 of RA 9369 then specifies the authentication process of electronic or digital ERs.

Section 25:  “Authentication of Electronically Transmitted Election Results. - The manner of determining the authenticity and due execution of the certificates shall conform with the provisions of Republic Act No. 7166 as may be supplement or modified by the provision of this Act, where applicable, by appropriate authentication and certification procedures for electronic signatures as provided in Republic Act No. 8792 as well as the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant thereto." (Emphasis added.)

The RA 8792 included in Section 25 is also known as the “Electronic Commerce Act”. RA 8792 has a number of sections that are highly relevant to our present considerations.

Section 8 of RA 8792:  “Legal Recognition of Electronic Signatures.- An electronic signature on the electronic document shall be equivalent to the signature of a person on a written document if the signature is an electronic signature and proved by showing that a prescribed procedure, not alterable by the parties interested in the electronic document, existed under which-

“(a) A method is used to identify the party sought to be bound and to indicate said party's access to the electronic document necessary for his consent or approval through the electronic signature;
“(b) Said method is reliable and appropriate for the purpose for which the electronic document was generated or communicated, in the light of all circumstances, including any relevant agreement;
“(c) It is necessary for the party sought to be bound, in or order to proceed further with the transaction to have executed or provided the electronic signature; and
“(d) The other party is authorized and enable to verify the electronic signature and to make the decision to proceed with the transaction authenticated by the same.”

“Section 9. Presumption Relating to Electronic Signatures-In any proceedings involving an electronic signature, it shall be presumed that,

“(a) The electronic signature is the signature of the person to whom it correlates; and
“(b) The electronic signature was affixed by that person with the intention of signing or approving the electronic document unless the person relying on the electronically designed electronic document knows or has noticed of defects in or unreliability of the signature or reliance on the electronic signature is not reasonable under the circumstances.” (Emphasis added.)

It is clear from both Sections 8 and 9 above that it is the digital signatures of duly authorized human beings that are being referred to, NOT the digital signature of the PCOS machine, as COMELEC and Smartmatic would have us believe.

One can use an authentic PCOS machine with its automatic digital signature but the receiving server will not know if official data are being transmitted by the PCOS machine. Only the digital signature of the BEI Chairman or members can certify to the authenticity of the data being transmitted by the PCOS machine.

UNFORTUNATELY, this was the VERY feature that COMELEC disabled. All ERs at the precinct level have no digital signatures!

DOCUMENT Argument 2: The Constitution has granted Congress authority to set its own rules for canvassing.

Because the DOCUMENT believes that RA 9369 was silent as to how Congress as NBOC should canvass, it justifies the use of printed COCs for canvassing as follows:

“2. Section 4 of Article VII [of the Constitution], gives Congress the authority to  ‘promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates’.” (Emphasis in the original.)

Refutation of Argument 2:  One-sided interpretation of the Constitution

The same Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution, also says: “ . . . the Congress, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof [of the COCs] in the manner provided by law, [in this case RA 9369] [shall] canvass the votes.

Yes, Congress has the authority to “promulgate its rules for canvassing of the certificates”.  But Congress itself has already passed the law, RA 9369. This law, as provided by the Constitution, determines the authenticity and due execution of the COCs as already elaborated above.

In short, the authenticity totally relies on the digital signatures that were removed by COMELEC. Furthermore, the same law, RA 9369, as explained above, requires Congress, as NBOC, to use electronic COCs, not printed COCs.

DOCUMENT Argument 3:  Using its Constitutional mandate, Congress deemed it proper to canvass printed COCs.

“3. Persuant to the aforementioned authority, Congress deemed it proper to canvass PRINTED COCs to comply with the provision on the determination of the authenticity and due execution under Section 37 of RA 9369.

“a. The law requires that it must be shown that ‘each certificate of canvass was executed, signed and thumbmarked by the chairman and members of the board of canvassers and transmitted or caused to be transmitted to Congress by them”. Only the printed or hard copy will bear the signature and thumbmarks of the chairman and the members of the board of canvassers. {Emphasis in the original.}

“b. The electronically transmitted copies will only have the ‘digital signatures’ of the Chairman of the BOC and not the thumbmarks and signatures of the Chairman and members of the board of canvassers. The COMELEC also admitted that not all members of the BOC have these digital signatures.”

Refutation of Argument 3: Flawed Legal Interpretation of Section 37 of RA 9369

The first thing to note is that the premise of Argument 3 does not hold because RA 9369 defined the precise conditions under which Congress, acting as NBOC, will canvass the votes. And, as we have seen above, Congress cum NBOC needs to use electronic COCs.

In addition, Argument 3 of the DOCUMENT is totally flawed because it does not disclose the context of Section 37.  Section 37 reads as follows:

“SEC.37. Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166 is hereby amended to read as follows"
"SEC. 30. Congress as the National Board of Canvassers for the Election of President and Vice President: The Commission en banc as the National Board of Canvassers for the election of senators: Determination of Authenticity and Due Execution of Certificates of Canvass.”

The RA 7166 referred to above is: “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS AND FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”. It was promulgated on November 26, 1991, way before RA 9369, a law passed on January 23, 2007. 

Clearly this part of RA 9369 deals with the non-electronic aspects of the AES. So there will be no reference to electronic COCs.  Of necessity, therefore, it deals with issues connected with the authenticity and due execution of paper, not digital, COCs.

To make it a rationale for conducting a canvassing based on printed COCs not only ignores all the previous sections connected to automation already discussed above. It also misleads the public into believing that, indeed, it is legal to canvass on the basis of printed COCs. 

DOCUMENT Argument 4: Amending Canvass Rules Would Be Difficult

“4. Moreover, amending the Rules . . . is vested with the Joint Session of Congress . . . It would, thus, be impractical to stop the proceedings of the Joint Committee and call for the convening of the Joint Session at this time, especially now that the Joint Committee has already started opening and canvassing the COCs.“

There is a very simple response to this self-serving argument of the DOCUMENT.  Since the whole current process of canvassing printed COCs is patently illegal, as demonstrated above, then Congress, if only to maintain its integrity and self-respect, can convene a joint session of Congress, no matter how “impractical” and difficult it may be. This should be so especially since Congress got itself into this mess. One cannot continue with a process that would enfranchise the entire voting population of the Philippines.


The DOCUMENT has clearly misled the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives regarding the right approach to canvass the results for president and vice-president. Worse, the whole canvassing exercise of Congress acting as National BOC is patently illegal and unjust.

And we have not even tackled the equally urgent reality of the wanton and wholesale violation of COMELEC of RA 9369, violations that have made the whole 2010 elections illegal in large measure.

We are standing in a precipice. If Congress does not rapidly amend its rules, then it is likely that it will plunge the country into chaos. For we are all racing at breakneck speed towards that dreaded “failure of election” scenario.



Posted by Jesusa Bernardo

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Time to go nuclear?

If stupidity got us into this mess, why can’t it get us out of it?

The top story in the Business Mirror's Monday edition was “Experts pitch BNPP to Aquino.” They didn’t actually pitch the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) to Aquino. They pitched it to the media at an orientation seminar and tour of the mothballed nuclear-power plant in Morong, Bataan.

What did the experts tell the media?

They said economic development is dependent on power. Bangladesh and our Asean neighbors are planning to go nuclear and we will be left behind if we do not address our power needs by going nuclear now. Fe Medina, special technical assistant at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, called on Aquino to keep “an open mind” and “look scientifically” at BNPP and not do what his mother did.

Mauro Marcelo, manager of the nuclear-energy core group of the National Power Corp., assured the media that nuclear power is safe. He said, and I’m quoting from this newspaper’s report, that “the industry currently uses high-quality design and construction; uses equipment which prevents operational disturbances; uses redundant and diverse systems to detect problems, control damage to the fuel and prevent radioactive releases.” Medina echoed Marcelo’s assurance. “The nuclear-energy industry, which is strictly regulated, would not allow any defect in a nuclear-power plant because that would diminish the credibility of the industry,” she said.

Marcelo added that “being a ‘green’ energy source because it has the least carbon footprint, a stable supply of energy and cost-competitive, there is currently a “nuclear power renaissance” with the growing number of nuclear-power plants being built worldwide.”

Experts opposed to nuclear power were not included in the media briefing so if one wanted a balanced presentation, he would have to undertake his own research.

My Google search revealed that opposition to nuclear power is grounded on threats to health, environment, economics, nuclear proliferation, and the unsolved problem of nuclear-waste disposal.

“These threats include health risks and environmental damage from uranium mining, processing and transport, the risk of nuclear-weapons proliferation or sabotage, and the unsolved problem of radioactive nuclear waste. They also contend that reactors themselves are enormously complex machines where many things can and do go wrong, and there have been many serious nuclear accidents. Critics do not believe that these risks can be reduced through new technology. They also argue that when all the energy-intensive stages of the nuclear-fuel chain are considered, from uranium mining to nuclear decommissioning, nuclear power is not a low-carbon electricity source.” Nor is it cheap.

The US, the world’s most scientifically advanced country, has not found a solution to the problem of nuclear waste. It recently ended its three-decade quest to turn Yucca Mountain in the state of Nevada as the main permanent storage site for radioactive waste because it realized that the site was vulnerable to climate change. That means 75,000 metric tons of spent fuel will continue to be stored in 122 temporary storage facilities spread over 39 states and the US nuclear-power industry will keep spending billions safeguarding them until a permanent site or solution is found. Meanwhile, US nuclear waste from 104 commercial reactors grows at 2,000 metric tons every year.

There is, as of today, no viable technology that can solve the problem of radioactive waste. Reprocessing is not a solution because that technology is prohibitively expensive—a reprocessing plant costs at least $40 billion—and although plutonium separated from reprocessing can be repackaged as mixed oxide and used in place of low-enriched uranium, plutonium can also be used to make a nuclear bomb. So there is a constant threat of theft and proliferation associated with reprocessing.

Medina told media that the Interagency Core Group on Nuclear Energy came up with an information and education campaign to inform the public about the benefits of nuclear power. “Let them decide if they want nuclear power,” she said.

Well, then her advocacy group should present both the benefits and the disadvantages of nuclear power in their briefings.

by Manuel Buencamino

Source: Business Mirror