Group wants new automated system in 2016 polls

by Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2013 03:48 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2013 12:30 AM

MANILA - Another case has been filed Thursday against officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged violation of the Automated Election Law.

The respondents include officials under the leadership of Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes and those during the time of former chief Jose Melo.

The complainant, Tanggulang Demokrasya Inc and Bagumbayan-VNP Movement Inc., allege that under the leadership of both Comelec chairpersons, at least five security features were not followed.

Atty. Rodolfo Reyes, counsel for complainants, said the Comelec of 2010 and 2013 both failed to review the source code thus casting doubt on the authenticity of the Precinct Count Optical Scan or PCOS machines.

The Comelec also allegedly failed to verify the digital signature and authenticity of the Paper Audit Trail.

Reyes also questioned the Voters Verification System. After voting, voters have no proof that their votes were counted properly by the machine.

The group also questioned the Random Manual Audit system of the Comelec. "We want to teach Comelec a lesson, we hope that by 2016 we can come up with a new technology," Reyes said.

Group linked to Gordon

While they are questioning the results of the 2013 elections, the group clarified that the filing of the complaint has nothing to do with losing senatorial candidate Richard Gordon. Gordon is the leader of Bagumbayan Movement that ranked number 13 during the last elections.

“This is not for Gordon, this is for everybody," Reyes said.

He said Gordon is not anymore protesting the results but just wants a change in the automated election system,” he said.

He noted protests take two to three years to resolve. “It takes time and we don’t have resources for that.”

Reyes noted the incumbent Comelec officials are immune from suit but believes the Ombudsman is not prevented by law to initialize an inquiry into the matter.

"Pwede pa rin naman mag investigate and Ombudsman, but whether to file a case or not, nasa kanila na yun."

He noted that during the last elections, a 60-30-10 trend has been observed in all areas of the country. This means 60 percent of the votes are all for the administration, 30 percent for United Nationalist Alliance, and 10 percent for independent candidates.

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting chairperson Henrietta de Villa is also a co-accused in the case as the chairperson of the Technical Working Group on the Random Manual Audit of the Comelec.

Incumbent and former Officers of Smartmatic Asia Pacific, Total Information Management Corporation, and Smartmatic TIM Corporation were also included as respondents.