4:14 am | Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—Civil society groups Solidarity Philippines and Kontra Daya on Tuesday said they were bringing to the attention of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) the inadequacies and lapses committed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the May 13 balloting.
Over Church-run Radio Veritas, the groups’ convenor Fr. Joe Dizon said they were resorting to the move because the Comelec had not been transparent in its conduct of the recently concluded elections, the second time automated elections were held using the controversial precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
During the interview, Dizon said the complaint would include the premature proclamation of the winning senators as well as the glitches that popped up in the voting machines and the compact flash (CF) cards.
“First and foremost, the Comelec erred in entering into a deal with Smartmatic and purchasing the PCOS machines because (Smartmatic) was not the owner of the source code,” Dizon said.
The source code is the computer program that runs the PCOS machines. The PCOS technology, including the source code, is owned by Dominion Voting Systems Inc., which had severed its ties with Smartmatic following a legal dispute in the United States.
Dizon also stressed that the recent elections should merit the attention of the UN body because the Comelec decided to proclaim the winners of the senatorial race even if only 20 percent of the total votes had been counted.
“They completely overhauled the election regulations after many precincts failed to transmit votes equivalent to 11 million,” said the priest, fearing that because of this irregularity, the proclamation of the victors may have been “preprogrammed.”
Dizon also said that election fraud or manipulation may have occurred when Comelec ordered the transfer of malfunctioning CF cards from the precincts in the provinces to Manila.
The Comelec had explained that the early proclamations were based on the “grouped canvass reports,” which were produced by the canvassing and consolidation system of the different provincial and municipal boards of canvassers.
But according to the Amended Automated Election System Law of 2007, the certificate of canvass, which shall be considered to be official election results and the basis for the proclamation of winning candidates, must only be produced upon the completion of the canvass.
Dizon said the Comlec violated many rules and regulations in the Omnibus Election Code, a matter which his group will also bring to the Supreme Court.
He said his group would also present its findings on the glitches in the PCOS machines and the CF cards to the United Nations.
He added that him group would do whatever was necessary to make the Comelec, as well as its technology partner Smartmatic, held accountable for the “dubious and questionable election results.”