Comelec lawyers, PNP trainees to serve as BEIs in special polls in Lanao del Sur on June 3

INSTEAD of public school teachers, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has deputized its lawyers and police trainees to serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) in the special elections in Lanao del Sur on Thursday.

In an 11-page resolution, the Comelec ordered the replacement of election officers in Lanao del Sur’s seven municipalities with Comelec lawyers and Philippine National Police (PNP) trainees.

Comelec lawyers will be assigned as chairmen of the Board of Canvassers as well as election officers for the special polls.

At the same time, the Comelec also ordered police trainees from Regions 10, 11 and 12 to be on stand-by in case there would be a shortage of teachers who will serve as members of the special BEIs.

The police trainees will undergo training in the operation of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and procedures for voting and counting.

Earlier, the poll body declared failure of elections in the seven Lanao del Sur towns after teachers there refused to perform election duties last May 10 due to threats and violent incidents. (PIA-Bohol)

Special polls in 3 provinces moved to June 3

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has rescheduled to June 3 the conduct of special polls in seven municipalities of Lanao del Sur, two municipalities of Basilan, and in one municipality of Sarangani where there was a failure of elections.

In a five-page resolution, the Comelec said that it has rescheduled the elections in Lumba Bayabao, Lumbaca Unayan, Marogong, Masiu, Sultan Domalondong, Tubaran, and Bayang towns in Lanao del Sur; barangays Danapah, Kailih, Bato-Bato, Apil-Apil, Bucalao, Sangkahan, Cambug, and Look Bisaya in Al Barka and barangays Upper and Lower Mahaybahay in Maluso, Basilan; and barangay Poblacion in Gian, Sarangani.

The special polls were initially scheduled on Friday but the poll body said that it needs more time to prepare the logistical, manpower, and security requirements for the conduct of the elections.

Comelec Resolution 8921 says that no voting was conducted in the seven municipalities in Lanao del Sur because the teachers who were supposed to serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) there did not show up on election day. It likewise said that some BEIs in Basilan were not able to perform their functions on May 10.

The Omnibus Election Code gives the poll body 30 days to reschedule polls once the reasons for failure of elections in these areas disappear. (PIA-Bohol)

Gibo seeks ‘deeper inquiry’ into alleged poll fraud

AN alleged victim of vote-shaving in the May 10 automated elections, administration standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro Jr. has called for an investigation into allegations of fraud by an unidentified witness.

Teodoro, fourth in the ongoing tally of the presidential race, said he wanted a deeper inquiry into the claims of the masked witness in the interest of truth and to remove taints on the credibility of the country’s first automated elections.

“In the interest, therefore, of transparency which is a standard that we cherish in governance, I request all concerned to take the necessary steps in order to determine the truth of the allegations made by the whistleblower because if proven correct, they seriously affect the integrity of the election. If, on the contrary, there is no closure to this controversy, there will always be a lingering doubt on the outcome of the election,” Teodoro said in a statement Friday.

Teodoro has conceded to front-runner Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

The witness, described by Makati Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr., as a “koala bear,” said the votes of Teodoro, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino’s Joseph Estrada and Bangon Pilipinas’ Eddie Villanueva were shaved to benefit dilaw, or yellow, Aquino’s campaign color.

PPCRV concludes polls as ‘generally clean’

Manila, Philippines — The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) ended its parallel counting yesterday and concluded that although there were some discrepancies in the election returns (ER’s) that the group tallied, no systematic fraud occurred.

According to PPCRV, only .07 percent of the 43,035 ER’s from clustered precincts showed signs of

PPCRV Chairperson and former ambassador to Rome Henriettta de Villa characterized the 2010 Automated Elections as “generally clean”.

PPCRV chair and former ambassador to Rome Henrietta de Villa characterized the automated 2010 polls as “generally clean.”

“In the midst of the state of speculations, all the accusations that are now being thrown against the first fully automated election that was carried out nationwide, we, together with the majority of Filipinos, still believe that the AES (Automated Election System) must be here to stay,” De Villa said.

De Villa also added that if there were indeed attempts, it was not successfully pulled off.

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Tech Talk: 10 Myths About the May 10, 2010 Elections

The automation of counting of ballots at the precinct level on the May 10 national elections is hounded by a lot of controversy of malfunction and other issues. The latest and embarassing mistake made by COMELEC and Smartmatic involved a relatively simple program issue: single space vs. double space. It is something that is easily tested and fixed before they came out to the public. However, it is also possible to be an honest human error and nothing more. The machine just follows whatever instruction it is given and an erroneous instruction would lead to erroneous results. But this error is already fixed and should not be used a basis for calling the coming elections a failure.

In the last several weeks, so much misunderstanding, either due to lack of information or misinformation that has confused all of us and has created a cloud of doubt on the capability of COMELEC to succeed in the coming elections. Auza.Net has compiled 10 Myths About the May 10 Elections. This serves as a guide to all voters and hopefully everyone can vote according to their concience and free will rather than be influenced otherwise because of some of these myths.

1. We can’t verify the results of the counting and therefore it is easier to cheat in this election.
— Of course we can. The ballots will not be destroyed after counting. In the worst case scenario, we can always do a manual count. But let’s do an automated count first because the machines are definitely faster and more accurate and consistent than humans. And we can repeat the counting as many times as needed if we have to. We just need to be vigilant that the counts are real and this can be verified by the random manual count audit. COMELEC is going to be capable of publishing results much quicker than in previous elections so it is easier to verify results because we can immediately see the counts right after close of election time.

2. The candidates will know who voted or did not vote for them. — This is not possible unless you show your ballot to them or the COMELEC will give them copies of the ballots, the ballot number assigned to you and your name. So what if they know whom you voted for? It is your right to vote whoever is your choice.

3. If the PCOS machines fail, there will be failure of elections. — Not true. This is a doomsday scenario possible only if the Filipino people are not able to count. The ballots are still there. That’s what the election is all about. If the PCOS machines can’t count the results, the BEI can count them.

4. Transmission of the results to COMELEC central database is easily to disrupt. — Not true. With good signal from mobile service providers in most areas in the Philippines, there should be no issue in transmitting most of the results. In areas where mobile service is not available, COMELEC can use satellite service or they can bring the PCOS machines to areas with signal so it can transmit the data after the official tally has been printed and accepted by the BEI and other authorized parties. Also, the amount of data transmitted is very small so the opportunity to disrupt transmission is very short plus you can retransmit as many times as needed.

5. All processes of the election will be automated. Not true. Only the counting of the ballots at the precinct level is automated. The rest of the process of aggregating the results still goes through the manual process. Only this time, the manual process of aggregation is assisted by the availability of the results data in electronic form.

6. Current survey results must match the election results. Not true. The survey results reflect only the sentiment of the sample population at the time of the survey. And it is possible that the sample for the survey happens to be biased. Surveys have been proven wrong many times before. The real survey is the election itself.

7. On election day, it is easy to reprogram the PCOS machine to favor a local or national candidate. Not true. Once the machines are tested and sealed, it will be close to impossible to change the program. Even if the PCOS machines are programmed to cheat before sealing, this can be detected by the random manual audit. It is important for organizations like NAMFREL, PPCRV and others to make sure that the random selection of the precincts for manual audit is truly random and is selected only during election day. They also need to make sure that all precincts are eligible to be selected. COMELEC Resolution 8837 covers the selection process. If this is done as stated in the resolution, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to cover up any cheating.

8. The failure rate of the PCOS machines in Hongkong is 10%. PCOS machines will have problems dealing with humid conditions in the Philippines. Not true. The failure rate of the PCOS machine in Hongkong as reported by some groups is exaggerated. Their calculation was only based on the initial failure and not on the fact that the machine worked after it was allowed dry up because of moisture build up. That is also the reason why there are backup PCOS machines and technicians to ensure that any failing machine can be fixed or replaced. Any electronic equipment stored in an airconditioned room with low temperature and then brought out to a humid environment may have moisture build up as the water in the air condenses on the equipment. The user simply has to allow the moisture to evaporate again and the equipment to stabilize to room temperature. Once the equipment is turned on, the heat from the electronics will prevent any further moisture build up. We have been using computers in this country for decades without much problems due to moisture.

9. Manual count is better than machine count. Not true. Machines would have lesser error assuming it is not intentionally programmed to count otherwise. The PCOS machine would be faster, repeatable and cheaper in terms of labor cost. There is much lesser opportunity to implement dagdag-bawas. Let’s give COMELEC a chance to implement an election process with automation on the counting. Even with the glitch in the first attempt to test and seal the machines, there’s no reason to panic yet, especially now that the glitch was solved and replacement compact flash cards have been shipped and most should arrive before May 10.

10. If I don’t get elected , there will be people power. This is a myth. People power is not an automatic response by the Filipino people. It is only needed in extreme circumstances like that in 1986. Any candidate who says something like this are not fit to hold public office because it is the Filipino people who will elect a candidate and the candidates should bow to the will of the people. The Filipino people have the right to choose their leader and candidates should not threaten the voters with people power if they don’t get elected. Refer to #6.