We experienced for the first time voting using an Automated Election Systems way back (AES) in 2010. Meaning nine 9 years have passed since the Commission on Election ( COMELEC ) have used Precinct Count Optional Scan (PCOS) machines for the first automated national and local elections. The Philippine law that authorized the use of the Automated Election Systems (AES) is Republic Act RA 8436 promulgated in 1997 – as amended by Republic Act No. 9369, promulgated in 2007.
Since 2010, people have been asking and today more people are asking whether or not electoral fraud/cheating can happen in an automated election. Can election results in an automated election systems be tampered with? Can the Automated Election Systems (AES) be hacked?
It will be recalled that all the 76,000 Compact Flash (CF) cards were recalled on or about the first week of May 2010 because the PCOS machines were not counting the votes correctly. This problem was found out during the first testing and sealing stage before the elections as the PCOS machines did not count the votes correctly. Also, the PCOS machines failed to detect the ultraviolet ink marks. The CF card is to the PCOS card as the SD (Secure Digital) card is to the VCM machine. The CF and SD cards are the memory cards of the PCOS and VCM machines respectively. The configuration files and subsequent voting data generated during election day are stored in the memory cards ( CF or SD cards).
Let me share with you some information on major irregularities that surfaced during the elections in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 – and be the judge whether or not Smartmatic, the Venezuela – based technology provider of our automated elections has to be changed, replaced and banned from being our election technology provider – by cancelling. Smartmatic’s Contract with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) based on our law on automated election:
- Do you know that in 2010, the required digital signing by the three members of the Board of Inspections (BEI) now known as the Electoral Board (EB) and the Board Canvassers was not complied with.
- Do you know that the PCOS machines in 2010 and 2013 elections were replaced by the so called VCM machines (Vote Counting Machines). In the 2019 midterm elections there were more than 961 VCM machines that malfunctioned (like paper jamming and overheating).
- Do you know that in the 2016 elections, Naga City – the home base of VP Leni Robredo had 130 clustered precincts and unbelievably 90 VCM machines malfunctioned (69% of all VCM machines) in Naga City. The first incident happening at 6:10 a.m. on election day. One VCM machines after another started malfunctioning. It was as if an unseen force was directing and orchestrating the systematic VCM malfunctioning. In the 2019 midterm elections, there were again many VCM malfunctioning. The first case started at 6:20 a.m. on election day. Would you believe it… there was even a VCM machine that broke down no less than eight times! Many VCM machines broke down more than once.
- Do you know that when a VCM malfunctioned, a Technician is called. One cannot help but suspect that the SD card may have been replaced by the Technician. Have you heard of the so-called “Switching of SD card or pre -loaded SD cards?
- Do you know or have you heard about the mysterious “N” Correction initiated by a certain Marlon Garcia, Project Director of Smartmatic while the counting of votes was going on. To quote one report titled “ Methodical Fraud” :
“ On Monday evening, Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia changed a hash code of a data package containing elections results received by a Comelec server. A hash code is considered the fingerprint of any software.
According to Garcia, he tweaked this so that the letter “ñ” would appear as “ñ” and not as a question mark.
Hence, it was only a “cosmetic” change.
Garcia should be made to explain the following:
Who authorized him to make the change? Under the law, only duly authorized personnel from Comelec (and not Smartmatic) are allowed to make changes in our system.
Why the sudden concern for Roy Seneres? No amount of “cosmetic” changes could affect Roy Seneres’ votes because he passed away last February 8,2016.
Why is it that right after Garcia changed the hash code, the votes for
Marcos decreased while the votes of Robredo increased in a highly suspicious linear manner.
People were outraged by what was happening and demanded an explanation. As expected, the administration-controlled Comelec (Aquino administration) turned a blind eye to this highly suspicious occurrence. Even after a video went viral showing a Smartmatic personnel tampering with the hash code, Comelec Chairperson Andy Bautista shrugged it off as being “a mere cosmetic change.”
- Do you know that there are cases where the CCS ( Consolidation and Canvassing System ) receive transmissions of election results on dates earlier than election day? Or before the VCMs actually transmitted the election results. This happened in Libon, Albay (2 cases) and the Third District of Camarines Sur (59 cases).
- Do you know that Senatorial Candidate Glenn Chong made a very revealing comment on the issue of mismatched IP addresses as follows:
“ The TEC-DOST reported at the Technical Working Group meeting on April 8, 2019 at the Senate that the IP addresses of the sending or transmitting VCMs were NOT the same ones recorded in the Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS). What is recorded in the CCS log are IP addresses that are totally different from the sending or transmitting VCMs although the results allegedly came from the same VCMs. In short, fake VCMs were transmitting fake results that is why when the fake results reached the CCS in the Municipal Hall, they bear a different IP address than the original VCMs in the field had.”
- Do you know that the transparency server in the 2019 midterm elections did not transmit election results for seven (7) hours after transmitting 0.44% of election results. At 1 a.m., May 14, 2019 when people were sleeping , the transmission server restarted and transmitted 92.89% of the election results.
- Do you know or have you heard of the 60 units of PCOs machines found in the house of Smartmatic TIM technician in Antipolo City during the 2010 national and local elections? According to Atty. Al Vitangcol, the Philippines first EC – Council Certified Computer Hacking Forensic investigate who was designated head of Joint Forensic Team, in his article on “Electoral Fraud.”
“ The Antipolo PCOS machines were taken into the custody of the Senate of the Philippines on May 19, 2010. The Joint Congressional Committee ordered the forensic analysis of the said machines on June 1, 2010. During the joint canvassing session of June 2, 2010, then Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri announced the creation of the Joint IT representatives, consisting of personnel from the House of Representatives ans the Senate, to handle the task .”
“ The Joint IT Forensic Team then conducted its forensic analysis on 33 units of PCOS machines on June 4-5, 2010 at the Senate premises and on June 7, 2010 at the Smartmatic warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna. The remaining 27 units of the “Antipolo” PCOS machines were never subjected to forensic analysis due to the dissolution of the Joint It Forensic Team on June 8, 2010. The forensic team likewise examined 31 pieces of CF cards.”
- Do you know that the so called SD cards in VCM machines contain the following files/documents, as follows: Ballot image, ballot list, statistical report, election returns and audit log. To understand and analyze the data found in the SD cards vis-à-vis the physical ballots should be the duty, responsibility, and concern of those in the HRET (House of Representative Electoral Tribunal), SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal) and those in the judiciary. For how can the said officials decide judiciously on the protest cases before them when they themselves cannot even understand the technologies and mechanics involved in SD cards and other aspects of an automated election.
Have a joyful day!
(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: Villafuerte_nelly@yahoo.com).