Smartmatic: Powerful groups want manual polls

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 07 2013 10:58 PM | Updated as of May 08 2013 09:35 PM

MANILA –  Some powerful groups are using the issue on source code review in their bid to return to a manual system of elections, Smartmatic president Cesar Flores said Tuesday.

Flores said asking for the source code may have been a case of "wanting what you cannot have" to disrupt the automated polls.

"As soon as they heard they was a case between Smartmatic and Dominion, all these groups tried to take that out of context and present the erroneous idea to the public that Comelec did not have the right to use this software," he told ANC’s "Prime Time."

Flores also said that when the Commission on Elections (Comelec) opened the process for the review, only one political party and poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) expressed interest.

“Comelec opened the process for the source code review maybe 6 weeks ago and invited political parties and all interested groups to file a request to review the source code. And only 2 groups filed their request: one political party and the PPCRV,” he said.

“All these groups that make all this fuss that they want to see the source code never actually filed a petition to Comelec to see the source code,” he added.

Flores said majority of Filipinos have been satisfied by the automated elections in 2010, and only several groups have been critical.

"Indeed the elections were cleaner and accurate. It’s just a tiny speck of people who will never be happy unless they go back to the manual election system…These are very powerful groups that want to return to manual elections,” he said.

Flores added that the public should “manage their expectations” come election day.

“There is no such thing as a perfectly run electoral exercise. Elections in nature are very difficult,” he said.

He also said unlike the 2010 elections, there will no longer be Smartmatic technicians in every polling precinct, but personnel from the Comelec and Department of Education.

“There will be no Smartmatic technicians in the precincts. We are only given third level support in the call center,” he said.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the source code was brought in Monday night by a representative of the group that reviewed the code last year.

Comelec will present the source code to the public on Wednesday.

Some poll watchdogs said the delayed release of the source code may violate election laws and reviewing the code may be too late.

However, Brillantes said there is nothing illegal with the delayed release, maintaining that the review can start this week and end after the elections.

Flores also said the groups will still have enough time to review even after the polls.

“It saddens me when certain groups are actually just trying to return to a flawed manual election system, which is the agenda at the end of the day for many of these groups,” he said.