MAY 15, 2013
DAVAO CITY – As reports of transmission failures continue to barrage its hotlines as of midday today, the poll watchdog Kontra Daya in Southern Mindanao expressed alarm over fraudulent activities happening with the automation of the poll system.
The group, after having documented voluminous reports of glitches in the Automated Election System (AES) in the polls and even during the final testing and sealing (FTS) of PCOS machines last Monday, said it cannot trust the credibility of the results of the automated elections.
“The transmission of results is one of the most crucial parts of the AES since it is very difficult to monitor the electronic data being sent in the airwaves. Transmission of election results was neglected during the FTS. Now we fear that it is not impossible that the yet untransmitted results could be used to either pad or slash votes,” said Krista Melgarejo, convener of Kontra Daya- Mindanao.
Melgarejo criticized the Comelec for not being transparent with the source code, which the group claimed to be very significant in providing safeguard for the AES. She added that the transmission problem is just one among the election-related irregularities documented by their group.
Kontra Daya shared that as of 1:30PM yesterday, 18 hours after the polls closed, 91 precincts in Davao City have not yet successfully transmitted results. In some areas in Tagum, Davao del Sur, Cotabato City and North Cotabato, transmission also failed after several tries.
“Among other problems, we deplore the massive vote buying in Davao Region. Also most appalling is the use of disaster funds in the electoral bids of incumbent officials in Davao Oriental, engagement of the military in partisan politics, militarization and harassments. Trends showed that fraudulent practices involve ballot switching, ballot rejection, and the old style use of flying voters, pre-shaded ballots, among others. Cases of violence include killings, bombings and bomb threats. Many disenfranchised voters share this view. Given these, we in Kontra Daya doubt the integrity of the AES results. The Comelec cannot just ignore all these election-related irregularities and claim that the election is generally successful,” said Melgarejo.
“Even a single vote disenfranchised is already one citizen denied of his right of suffrage,” added Melgarejo who stressed the importance of ensuring the reliability and sanctity of the AES.
In a statement posted in its website, Kontra Daya national office cited the questionable canvass results released by PPCRV-KBP last night showing bloated figures of votes with respect to the number of precincts canvassed.
“As the electoral count continues, questionable results yielded by the PPCRV-KBP’s canvassing servers underscore the problems with the Smartmatic Automated Election System (AES). Without the benefit of public disclosure of the AES source code and thorough pre-testing, these statistically wrong results put the whole canvassing of votes into serious question. Any results from hereon are now questionable,” reads the statement.
Melgarejo urged the people to engage in active scrutiny of the election results given the irregularities observed.
“We have enough reason to be highly alarmed and skeptical of the results of the AES. If we truly value our votes and consider them sacred, we should demand accountability from the Comelec and Smartmatic and the Aquino administration. A manual count is in order given the overwhelming failure of the PCOS,” concluded Melgarejo.###
Krista Iris Melgarejo
Kontra Daya SMR