Ex-poll official to testify in Senate on alleged discrepancies of VCM’s data in May 2016 elections

UNTV News   •   February 2, 2018   •   2584

MANILA, Philippines – The Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System (AES) wants to inquire on the alleged discrepancies of data in vote counting machines (VCM) in some regions used in the May 2016 elections.

Senator Francis Escudero said a former poll official approached him last year and told him that there were discrepancies in the data in the backup and main drives of the VCMs.

“May printout kaming nakuha, pero mas magandang mangaling sa testigo mismo na nagsasabing hindi mirror image yung back-up drive nung main drive,” said Escudero.

(We got hold of a printout, but it would be better if it actually came from the witness who will confirm that the backup drive of the main drive is not a mirror image.)

One of the features of the VCMs that were used in the May 2016 elections was that once a physical ballot is fed in the VCM, it will scan the ballot and will store the image in the SD card.

The committee wants to know how many backup drives were able to transmit and their possible implications on the result of the votes.

“Ang sunod na tanong ilan ba sa backup drive ang ginamit dahil kung hindi siya accurate picture o carbon copy ng main drive e mag-iiba ang result to a certain degree to what extent hindi ko alam,” said Escudero.

(The next question is how many of the backup drives were used because if it’s not an accurate picture or carbon copy of the main drive, the result will change to a certain degree. To what extent, I don’t know.)

But despite this, outgoing acting poll Chairman Christian Robert Lim assures there are no discrepancies in the data based on their official records.

“Ang sa akin kapag hindi magmatch yung main at backup, ibig sabihin hindi makalabas ng resulta ang machine. Medyo kakaiba iyon, but we are confident that this system was tested,” said Lim.

(In my opinion, if the main and backup do not match, it means the machine would not have been able to release results. It’s uncommon but we are confident that this system was tested.)

The committee clarified that the inquiry has nothing to do with the protest of former senator and losing vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos.

Marcos claimed that there is an anomaly when he presented some of the copies of ballot images from the 2016 elections. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

Comelec expects influx of registrants amid last-day of voter registration

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting an influx of ‘last-minute’ registrants at the voter registration for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Comelec will officially close the voter registration at 5:00 p.m. on Monday (September 30). Comelec Spokesperson Dir. James Jimenez said their office is prepared to handle the number of registrants.

“An influx of registrants is to be expected. The COMELEC has anticipated this, and we are confident that our employees in the field are prepared to handle the last-day registration scenario,” he said.

Based on Comelec Resolution 10549, Comelec will implement the following protocol for the last day of voter registration.

  • If there are still applicants lined up to register within the thirty (30) meter radius from the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) by 3:00 P.M. of September 30, 2019, their names will be promptly and consecutively listed down.
  • Each name will be announced repeatedly three (3) times in the order in which the applicants’ names were listed. Applicants who are not present when their names are called shall no longer be allowed to file their application.
  • When an applicant’s name is called and he/she is present, his/her application will be processed and his/her biometrics data will be captured. The process continues until all those listed shall have been processed.
  • An Express Lane is provided for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and Heavily Pregnant Applicants.

There are around 2.6 million registered voters in the country as of August 1 this year, according to Comelec’s data.—AAC

9 of 10 Filipinos favor automated election system — Pulse Asia

Maris Federez   •   August 7, 2019

Majority of the Filipinos still favor continuing the holding of elections through an automated system in the future.

Based on Pulse Asia’s recent survey conducted last June, nine of 10 or 91% of Filipinos would still prefer having the elections done electronically.

They said an automated election system is faster and the results are immediately released.

“They feel that faster results made the Elections more credible and then it’s also easier compared to let’s say how we use to vote where you have to write the surname of the candidate,” Pulse Asia president Dr. Ronnie Holmes said.

An election watchdog, however, said that since election results were difficult to manipulate under the AES, reports of vote-buying increased.

“Vote buying became more rampant after we automated our Elections because candidates, politicians did not know how to cheat the machines,” said LENTE executive director Atty. Ona Carritos.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) believes that President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts the automated election system despite his earlier pronouncement in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) favoring the termination of the contract with Smartmatic. (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Namfrel favors investigation of election mishaps

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 20, 2019

Courtesy : Election photo by Rodel Acuvera Lumiares‎ of PVI-PRESS

The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) favors a congressional investigation into reported mishaps during elections.

“The unfortunate thing about the multiple mishaps in the May 13 elections is that the problems were preventable. The May 13, 2019 Midterm Elections is the fourth time that the automated elections systems was used. For all these problems, the COMELEC should be held responsible,” according to their statement.

Namfrel National Council Member Lito Averia also said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should face investigation in Congress on June 4.

“Pabor kami diyan kasi nga nakalagay sa batas nitong automated elections system. Dapat tinitingnan nitong joint congressional oversight committee both the Senate and House of Representatives na tingnan kung papaano nagtrabaho ang automated elections at evaluate nila ulit. May assessment iyan (We are in favor of it, because it is stated in the law on automated elections system. The joint congressional oversight committee, both the Senate and the House of Representatives should look into how the automated elections work, including an evaluation. There should be an assessment there),” he said.

Meanwhile, Comelec admitted that the number of vote counting machines (VCM) that malfunctioned tripled during this elections compered to the 2016 elections.

Comelec said that over 1,600 SD cards were needed to be replaced in this year’s elections while only 120 SD cards needed replacement in 2016 elections.

According to Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas they are already investigating the issues.

“Definitely, pinapa-review ko na sa Law Department iyong magiging penalty just in case or may violation ng kontrata but again syempre kailangan din natin marinig iyong side nila, (Definately, I directed the Law Department to review the possible penalties just in case there is a violation of contract. But again, we also have to know their side),” he said.

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