Smartmatic taking machines-what was worth 7 Billion then?

May 30, 2010

(a short editorial on Smartmatic’s latest revelation.)

If in case Mr Cesar “Asar” Flores and his crew of Smartmatic get to leave the country, that is, if he is not going to jail,  they are leaving Manila and taking all the PCOS machines we had made with them! This is the first time I hear of this as I was under the impression that for 7 billion plus plus, we owned those machines. Now, according to that useless Chairman Melo, after voiding all other bidders to make room for Smartmatic (under orders from you know who), and all the studies and testing, etc. which showed how defective the PCS machines were, it seems that the PCOS machines are only loaners. Don’t let Smartmatic come and say that they paid for the manufacture because if you recall, the general impression that we were having them built in China after Smartmatic’s deal with Taiwan was inconvenient to them. But I thought that the 7Billion ++ included the machines. It turns out we built the machines for Smartmatic. Smartmatic’s paid-up capital in the Liberian or Nigerian Company they used to close the deal, and this is usually done by crooks to keep their companies offshore and with a very limited paid-up capital but not too hard to use for money laundering.  If I remember right, Smartmatic said they were a company with capital of 250 million dollars in some third world country.  So how did they find the money to build thousand upon thousand of PCOS machines with that kind of loose change.  What is that compared to the 7 Billion we paid them?  And you wonder why the machines were all screwy and all that. But the point of this is to put a finger and ask a question, and that is, what was the overprice of 7 Billion paying for? Expertise? Whose?  On TV all you see are our IT experts questions at Smartmatic and getting out of this world answers.  That is the problem when you deal with Latinos but working with a company located somewhere in Africa or some third world country like Liberia, etc.  These guys registered but are ready to run.  It is obvious that the expertise that our IT guys are eating them for breakfast.  That is because they are con men, snake oil salesmen and not IT experts. Experts present are not only Comelec but mostly of local volunteers offering to testify to point out Smartmatic PCOS defects, of which there were plenty, yet the company the Comelec hired again screwed up by failing to point out important defects in the operation of these machines yet what did they do? They issued an ALL OK NO PROBLEM Certification to COMELEC re Smartmatic’s machines and operational system. If that was true, then there would be no reason for a Senate investigation. This company that is now causing us all the problems we see being pointed out at the Senate and Congress has not been called to testify and say their piece. Since we started reporting on Smartmatic last August, we have gotten nothing but negative BS from them. That and more lies.

As if we had not enough problems, the story on the Times that talked about our having to lease or buy machines again from Smartmatic for the next elections. Yet another 7 Billion?  I don’t think so…

Everbody, it seems, except some Senator and Congressmen and Chairman Melo may NOT BE AWARE that by the time the next elections come, the PCOS machines will have been more obsolete than Melo himself.  What a wild ride. Poor Filipino, screwed yet again by their leaders.  There oughta be a law.  And it has to have something to do with firing squads. Grrr.

Election workers prepare ballot boxes for canvassing of votes for the candidates for president and vice president at the House of Represen-tatives in Quezon City. Photo by Ruy Martinez


Chairman Jose Melo of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and his fellow commissioners are satisfied that the first Automated Election System (AES) experience of the Philippines has been a success―they
are now deciding whether top purchase the Precinct Count Optical Scan  (PCOS) machines or just lease them from Smartmatic- Total Information  Management (TIM) in the next elections.

He says the successful conduct of the first nationwide automated national and local elections on May 10 “is a beginning” for a more honest, clean and credible polls in the future.

“Over all, it was a very, very efficient process. Of course, we learned some things also that we can fine tune [for future elections],” the poll body chief told The Manila Times.

He said though that the commission has yet to decide on whether or not they will be purchasing some 82,200 PCOS machines from the joint venture of Smartmatic and TIM, the supplier of the machines that was used for the P7.2-billion automation project.

“The PCOS machines are on lease because we don’t want to be locked in with Smartmatic,” Melo said, adding that in the future, there may be more advanced technology that the next poll body administration would like to make use of.

“Maybe may mas maliit na machines or results can be transmitted through telephone or Internet right?” he mused.

And although he said that there were some hurdles that the poll body had to go through to conduct automated elections, Melo insisted that the commission has learned a lot along the way that will enable them to “fine tune” the process.

The poll body chief maintained that he still believes the recently concluded May polls was a positive indication of what lies ahead for the country’s electoral system.

“Of course, may mga complaints, but these are coming from old-time politicians,” Melo told The Times.

He was referring to the congressional inquiry of the committee on electoral reforms and suffrage that currently holds hearings where grievances of some losing candidates are aired, alleging that massive electoral fraud was committed during the May polls.

Allegations of fraud
Various allegations of fraud have been aired in the hearings of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms. But not proofs have been presented.

In a video, an alleged whistleblower who goes by the alias “Robin,” or “Koala Boy” as branded by Rep. Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. of Makati City, said that electoral cheating happened during the May 10 elections where vice presidential frontrunner Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati City, who is running under the ticket of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, paid about P1.4 billion to ensure his victory over his rivals in the race.

He also alleged that Binay chose presidential frontrunner Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd of the Liberal Party to receive additional votes instead of Binay’s running mate, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

The supposed architect of the 2010 election cheating also pointed out that votes were shaved from presidential candidates former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi CMD, Brother Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas and Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party.

Teodoro, Villar and Villanueva have all conceded to Aquino after the son of former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino and martyred hero former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. started leading unofficial tallies by Comelec and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the poll body’s accredited watchdog.

Also, various allegations have been made against the automated elections system after incumbent Rep.
Mary Ann Susano of Quezon City, who recently lost the mayoralty race to newly elected Mayor Herbert Bautista, showed that she has in her possession two compact flash (CF) cards.

The CF cards were read the other day and showed a log.

CF cards are installed in the PCOS machines with specific per-precinct information. The cards also instructed the machines on how it will count and transmit the votes to canvassing systems at the municipal and national levels.

The Comelec said it will investigate how Susano got hold of the CF cards since she was not authorized by either Comelec or Smartmatic-TIM to possess them.

Susano refused to say where the CF cards came from, saying only that she has more of them in her possession.

Earlier, five days before election day, Smartmatic decided to recall some 76,347 deployed CF cards from all precincts nationwide after finding out that the cards were configured wrong. One week before the May 10 polls, several testing and sealing procedures failed because of the wrong configuration in the CF cards.

Smartmatic-TIM’s knee-jerk reaction was to recall all deployed CF cards and reship new ones at least two days before the May 10 polls.

The Comelec, however, said that the various misapprehensions about the AES―even the misconfiguration of the CF cards, the wrong time stamps and the lack of digital signatures―did not affect the accuracy of the voting results.

For the first time in the history of the country’s electoral system, the poll body was able to proclaim 12 winning senators in less than two weeks.

Previously, canvassing of votes for national positions took at least one month.

Redundant complaints
Melo, however, said most of the complaints from the lawmakers and losing candidates who now troop to the House of Representatives are just repetitions of what were already discussed during the drafting of Republic Act 9369, or the poll automation law.

“Yun debate na yun nanyari na years and years ago. These have been set aside already by Congress and they decided that there will be fully automated nationwide elections in 2010. They discussed these during [meetings of] the joint congressional committee on poll automation. Binubuksan na naman nila na parang ngayon lang napakinggan,” Melo said.

“Iba’t-iba ang angles nila ng reklamo. I don’t know . . . baka meron silang investment,” he added.

The poll body chief said that things like vote-buying, harassment and terrorizing of members of the board of election inspectors (BEIs) cannot be eradicated completely; but hopefully, with the AES, all these can be minimized.

“The automation helped a lot,” he stressed. “Yung mga botante, ayaw na nila ng madaming hassles.”

The 2010 polls reflected the highest number of voter turnout in history. About 75 percent of more than 50 million registered voters trooped to polling precincts to vote on May 10.

Melo said that before, Board of Election Inspectors (made up of teachers and a Comelec person) would have to physically transport the ballots to the municipalities in their areas, which is “the most dangerous part of the job―the [possibility] of ballot-snatching.”

But with the automation, the Comelec chief said that there was less danger for the BEIs.

“In just a matter of minutes, they were able to transmit the votes [to the canvassing centers],” he said.

Under the manual system, BEIs would need to count and interpret each ballot as well as the handwriting of the voters.

But the automation allows for the process of shading the correspondent ovals beside the candidate’s names.

Upon completion of the pre-printed ballots, voters would then feed the ballots to the PCOS machines, which, in turn, would take a JPEG or photograph-like copy of both the front and back page of the ballot.

By the end of the voting period, the BEIs printed a copy of the election return, which would be distributed to various political parties, as well as the Comelec central command center, the PPCRV and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

Using major telecommunications company in the country like Philippine Long Distance and Telecommunications Co., Globe Telecoms and Smart Telecommunications, the BEIs were able to simultaneously transmit the votes to the municipal and national canvassing levels.

During the May 10 elections, initial uncanvassed tallies for all local and national positions were known merely hours after the closing of the polling precincts.



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