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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Dragging the Smartmatic mess to 2022

There’s no way the Commission on Elections can say the delays that took place at the poll centers and in the transmission of vote results are “okay lang” as long as it appears that the outcome is accurate.

Some 1000 vote counting machines and 1,600 SD cards reportedly malfunctioned. Note that each VCM was used at a polling center for three or more voting precincts, affecting hundreds of voters. 

That is why the malfunctioning of those 1000 VCMs that had to be replaced caused too much delay and unnecessary inconvenience to the voters, many of whom just decided to skip the whole thing.

Worse, the consequent delays in the canvassing of vote results fueled questions as to the credibility of the outcome of the polls. 

Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia announced that the Random Manual Audit of the last May 13 midterm elections had resulted in a 99.9953-percent accuracy rate.

But this nearly perfect accuracy just will not justify subjecting or risking the credibility of the coming elections, particularly the presidential race in 2022.

The issue on the calls for junking Smartmatic should be a no-brainer for the [Comelec] and do so not strictly to heed President Rodrigo Duterte’s piece of advice.

The President honors the independence of the Comelec as a constitutional body that is why he referred to it as his “co-equal” when he suggested that Smartmatic be replaced with a more reliable one.

The chief executive  merely echoed the public sentiment over the poor performance of a company that is based in Venezuela, of all places.

His recommendation was welcomed by lawmakers, including Senate President Tito Sotto and Senator Koko Pimentel, and watchdog groups like National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections.

As in previous national polls, Smartmatic’s automated election system proved inefficient. Hundreds of its vote counting machines that literally looked like “trash bins” turned out to be defective as soon as polling centers opened last May 13.

Malacañang clarified that it is not questioning the credibility of the results of the mid-term elections. However, too many glitches in automated counting and transmission of votes that delayed the Comelec canvassing is simply unacceptable.

Any delay in delivering the vote counts defeats the very purpose of using the automated election system. The reason for shifting to it from manual counting was, precisely, to conduct the whole electoral process quickly with the least “glitches.”

The messy Smartmatic system is another white elephant of the Aquino administration that is used to rig previous elections in cahoots with the previous Comelec officials. This, however, failed to manipulate the insurmountable people’s support for Duterte in 2016 elections.

Still, it is widely believed that the same tactic was used in defrauding former Senator Bongbong Marcos of his supposed victory as vice president-elect in favor of Liberal Party’s Leni Robredo.

Comelec went on to purchase Smartmatic’s VCMs despite reports that Smartmatic’s AES was used in rigging election for Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and botched elections in Illinois, Nevada and Mexico.

Smartmatic’s machines, that are nothing but garbage and have cost Filipino taxpayers billions of pesos, should be next to be shipped out of the country back to Venezuela ASAP.

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