PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

SUPREME COURT JUNKS ERAP DISQUALIFICATION CASE


Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.---MANILA, JANUARY 26, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola -  MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Supreme Court en banc on Wednesday junked petitions questioning the constitutional basis of Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada's candidacy in the 2013 local polls. Voting 11-3, the high court dismissed the disqualification cases filed by lawyer Alicia-Risos Vidal and former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, questioning the validity of Estrada's political office. The ruling, penned by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, upholds the Commission on Elections decision to dismiss Vidal's case against Estrada. The court also recognized that Estrada was pardoned by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through an absolute clemency in 2007. The petitions argued that Estrada should not have been allowed by the Commission on Elections to seek another political seat after having been convicted for plunder. Besides De Castro, magistrates Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Mendoza, Jose Perez, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe voted to dismiss Vidal's case. READ FULL REPORT...

‘Voice of the people is the voice of God’ - Erap


ERAP -
Photo by EDD GUMBAN  --MANILA, Philippines - God speaking through the people. This was how Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada described yesterday the dismissal by the Supreme Court (SC) of the disqualification case against him. “I appreciate very much and thank the Supreme Court for this victory. Vox populi, vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God,” Estrada said upon learning of the SC ruling. His predecessor Alfredo Lim filed the disqualification case. “Manileños and the city government have long suffered from too much politics. I assure my fellow Manileños that we will double our services to them,” Estrada said. READ FULL REPORT...

Grace Poe: Erap remains relevant in Philippine politics


MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday said that Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada will always be relevant in Philippines politics, especially now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality on the presidential pardon granted to him by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Erap will always be relevant in Philippine politics. It's like he always has that unwavering percentage of the population that support him. I’m happy that in short time that he’s been in Manila, he’s implemented quite a bit of changes and projects,” Poe said. Although she has not read the high tribunal’s decision yet, Poe said she respects the decision of the Supreme Court. “It’s clear... At least it puts to rest that question which has been hounding him for so long. And every time, the Comelec allows him to be a candidate, so this one for him will address all of that issue which has been hounding him for so long,” Poe said. Poe is a daughter of Estrada’s bossom buddy, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Complainant in disqualify-Erap case gives up


ESTRADA --THE lawyer who STARTED the move to oust former President Joseph Estrada as mayor of Manila City decided to abandon her cause on Thursday. Alicia Risos-Vidal said she was accepting the Supreme Court’s decision dismissing her petition while supporting the Commission on Elections’ decision declaring Estrada had been qualified to run for mayor of Manila in the 2013 local elections. “After deliberation with my lawyer [retired Sandiganbayan Justice Rodolfo Palattao], we made a decision not to file any MR [motion for reconsideration],” Vidal told reporters. “This will clear the air for Mayor Estrada and for the Manilans as well.”  Vidal, the lawyer of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Estrada’s closest rival in the mayoralty race in 2013, also based her decision not to appeal on the Supreme Court justices’ voting on the case. READ MORE...

ALSO: Estrada can’t run for president – Analyst


THE Supreme Court (SC) decision junking a disqualification case filed against former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada eliminated all obstacles for him to seek higher office in 2016 except for the presidency, a political analyst said on Thursday.According to Professor Ramon Casiple, while the SC ruling allows Estrada to run for a higher position next year, he may meet opposition if he guns for the presidency.
“He may file his candidacy to run for president, but I’m sure that somebody will also file a petition at the Supreme Court preventing him to run on the basis of the constitutional ban on second term of presidents,” Casiple explained.Artile VII, Section 4, of the Philippine Constitution states that the “President shall not be eligible for any reelection.”

ALSO: House leaders won’t Chacha to accommodate BBL


Aquino sees 'new era' in Mindanao, as Bangsamoro bill goes to Congress newsinfo.inquirer.net  PHOTO TAKEN ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 Share this: House leaders are not giving in to proposals to amend the Constitution to accommodate provisions in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The Mindanao bill should fit the Constitution. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman, vice chairman of the House ad hoc panel on the BBL, said Congress has “no time” for Charter change as far as the BBL is concerned and is committed to exhaust all means to pass a legally sound measure that would restore peace in the region. “There’s no time for Charter change on a complex issue like this. But, l believe that the BBL that Congress will pass can be compliant with the present Constitution,” Belmonte said after Datu Abdul Kahyr Alonto of the MNLF-Alonta faction pushed for constitutional amendments to thresh out the supposed contentious provisions of the BBL. “We are doing everything to accomodate what was drafted. But we can’t go beyond what is mandated by the Constitution. And besides time is too short for any amendments of the Constitution,” Hataman said. Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao stressed it is imperative that the BBL “must conform with the Constitution. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Comelec chief shows computer-illiteracy


IN THIS PHOTO OF May 6, 2013 2:58 PM Smartmatic Philippines, the supplier of PCOS machines, has settled its dispute with software owner Dominion Voting System, paving the way for delivery of the crucial source code to the Commission on Elections, according to Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. -----Smartmatic’s specializes in direct reading electronic (DRE) voting gadgets, or touch-screen. In fact it supplied those to Comelec in the 2008 ARMM election. Smartmatic’s product brochures and website at the time denigrated the optical mark reader (OMR), or the PCOS. It said the OMR would only spark “civil unrest” because of the “2-10 percent error rate.” READ FULL REPORT FROM BEGINNING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Supreme Court junks Erap disqualification case


Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

MANILA, JANUARY 24, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola -  MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Supreme Court en banc on Wednesday junked petitions questioning the constitutional basis of Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada's candidacy in the 2013 local polls.

Voting 11-3, the high court dismissed the disqualification cases filed by lawyer Alicia-Risos Vidal and former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, questioning the validity of Estrada's political office.

The ruling, penned by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, upholds the Commission on Elections decision to dismiss Vidal's case against Estrada.

The court also recognized that Estrada was pardoned by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through an absolute clemency in 2007.

The petitions argued that Estrada should not have been allowed by the Commission on Elections to seek another political seat after having been convicted for plunder.

Besides De Castro, magistrates Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Mendoza, Jose Perez, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe voted to dismiss Vidal's case.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, meanwhile, dissented from the majority's opinion.

Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te said in a televised briefing that petitioners Vidal and Lim can still file a petition against the court's decision.

"The petitioner here, Attorney Vidal, and the intervenor, Attorney Lim, if they wish they have recourse to motion for reconsideration," Te said.


PHILSTAR

‘Voice of the people is the voice of God’ By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 22, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Photo by EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines - God speaking through the people.

This was how Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada described yesterday the dismissal by the Supreme Court (SC) of the disqualification case against him.

“I appreciate very much and thank the Supreme Court for this victory. Vox populi, vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God,” Estrada said upon learning of the SC ruling.

His predecessor Alfredo Lim filed the disqualification case.

“Manileños and the city government have long suffered from too much politics. I assure my fellow Manileños that we will double our services to them,” Estrada said.

In a statement, he said “it is with humility” that he and his officials received the news of the SC decision.

He thanked the SC magistrates for honoring the executive pardon granted to him by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Arroyo is in hospital detention for plunder.

Estrada’s wife, former senator Loi Ejercito, said that their son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, was the first to call and congratulate the former president.

Jinggoy, detained at Camp Crame for plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam, said he hopes the high court’s decision would put to rest questions on his father’s right to vote or run for public office.

He also urged the detractors of his father to focus on helping Manila move forward.

“And now that this issue has been settled, let us focus on helping the local government of Manila led by President Mayor Estrada to succeed in the next 18 months in restoring the glory and grandeur of our beloved capital city which were lost due to years of mismanagement and negligence,” Jinggoy said.

In a press conference, Estrada vowed to double his effort to achieve his goal of restoring the glory of Manila, the country’s capital.

“I am forgiving the people opposed to me. As the Lord’s prayer read: forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sinned against us. We will further work for the betterment of Manila than what we inherited from my predecessor,” he said.

“I ask all the city hall employees and my fellow officials to work hard and prove to all Manileños that we deserve their votes and support to us,” Estrada added.

Estrada said Manila has long suffered from politics. He said improving tax collection is his administration’s priority, citing the reported mismanagement of the city’s finances by the previous leadership.

“I inherited a bankrupt city government. I cannot do any projects without funding. But now we are almost totally paid with our debts. By July, we will be debt-free,” Estrada said.

Jubilation

City hall employees greeted the SC ruling with jubilation – and even a brass band.

They paraded around the vicinity carrying photos of Estrada and chanting “Erap pa rin,” “Erap walang katapat” and “forward ever, backward never.” They later joined Estrada in the cavernous mayor’s office for the press conference.

Outside city hall, a handful of supporters from the Kalipunan ng Masang Pilipino (KAMPIL) joined the revelry.

“We are here to express our support to Mayor Estrada. We are very happy because his reforms and good programs will now continue. We will support him all the way should he decide to run for reelection or run for president again,” Kampil interim secretary general Rommel Mendoza said.

Vice Mayor Isko Moreno also congratulated Estrada.

“I and my fellow officials in the City Council are very happy with the decision of the Supreme Court. The high court, again, has listened to the mandate of Manileños and they did not consider the case as technical or legal. This is a vindication to president-mayor Erap who was elected in clean and fair elections,” Moreno said.

Word of honor

Estrada also said he is sticking to his promise to endorse Moreno as his replacement unless the latter decides to run for higher office.

“I have a word of honor. But if Vice Mayor Isko Moreno will run for a higher office, I might change my mind and I will run for reelection,” Estrada said.

He also hinted at running again for president if there is public clamor.

“I cannot do anything but follow the people. I thank the Manileños for trusting me. I don’t have plans yet right now. This is a vindication to me,” Estrada said.

Estrada wished Lim good luck in his “retirement.” “May God bless him and more power to your retirement,” Estrada said, addressing the former mayor.

“They throw mud at me. But the people trusted and supported me,” Estrada said.


PHILSTAR

Grace Poe: Erap remains relevant in Philippine politics By Christina Mendez (philstar.com) | Updated January 21, 2015 - 7:33pm 8 156 googleplus0 0



MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday said that Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada will always be relevant in Philippines politics, especially now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality on the presidential pardon granted to him by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Erap will always be relevant in Philippine politics. It's like he always has that unwavering percentage of the population that support him. I’m happy that in short time that he’s been in Manila, he’s implemented quite a bit of changes and projects,” Poe said.

Although she has not read the high tribunal’s decision yet, Poe said she respects the decision of the Supreme Court.

“It’s clear... At least it puts to rest that question which has been hounding him for so long. And every time, the Comelec allows him to be a candidate, so this one for him will address all of that issue which has been hounding him for so long,” Poe said.

Poe is a daughter of Estrada’s bossom buddy, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr.

Poe did not discount the possibility that Estrada can still run for public office, or the presidency. The senator, who has been consistently in the forefront of presidential candidates for 2016, declined to comment if she sees Estrada as a threat in the 2016 national elections.

Asked if the SC decision will boost Estrada's political status, Poe repeated: “There is always that unwavering percentage” who would support him.

“Erap, whether he won this case, would always be politically relevant,” she said. “Well, at least now there is one obstacle away if he wants to run for higher office, then it would be easier for him,” Poe added.

Binay or Erap?

Meanwhile, Sen. Antonio Trillanes III did not want to give his opinion whether Estrada’s political stock will improve further after the SC decision.

Trillanes said he would assess the impact of Estrada’s chances for the presidency vis-à-vis the impact of the controversies now hounding Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“If he eventually backs out of the race, then President Erap maybe a viable option of the opposition. If not, then he will just stick to Manila,” Trillanes said.

The senator, meanwhile, admitted that Estrada will remain a threat to the administration in the 2016 national elections.

On whether who between Binay and Estrada would weigh better come 2016 presidential elections, Trillanes said the two personalities’ influence cannot be underestimated.

“I wouldn’t take either of these two lightly. They are potent political forces so they would be given enough or at least, they should be respected as such or treated as such,” he said.

Trillanes, who belongs to the Villar-led Nacionalista Party, said the party will decide by middle of the year whether or not it will field its own candidates for the presidency in 2016.


MANILA STANDARD

Complainant in disqualify-Erap case gives up By Rey E. Requejo | Jan. 23, 2015 at 12:01am


ESTRADA

THE lawyer who STARTED the move to oust former President Joseph Estrada as mayor of Manila City decided to abandon her cause on Thursday.

Alicia Risos-Vidal said she was accepting the Supreme Court’s decision dismissing her petition while supporting the Commission on Elections’ decision declaring Estrada had been qualified to run for mayor of Manila in the 2013 local elections.

“After deliberation with my lawyer [retired Sandiganbayan Justice Rodolfo Palattao], we made a decision not to file any MR [motion for reconsideration],” Vidal told reporters.

“This will clear the air for Mayor Estrada and for the Manilans as well.”

Vidal, the lawyer of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Estrada’s closest rival in the mayoralty race in 2013, also based her decision not to appeal on the Supreme Court justices’ voting on the case.

“I respect the collective wisdom of the justices of the Supreme Court, and with 11 of them voting to dismiss my petitions, it will be very hard for me to convince them to change their votes,” Vidal said.

Nonetheless, she said she was THANKFUL that the “bedrock of the Supreme Court voted in my favor,” referring to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who joined the dissent of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo–De Castro wrote the decision. Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas–Bernabe concurred.

Court spokesman Theodore Te said the petitioners could still file a motion for reconsideration.

Vidal aside, Lim also filed his own petition assailing the decision of the Commission on Elections to allow Estrada to run in the elections despite his plunder conviction in 2007.

The high court has yet to release the official copies of the main decision and the concurring and dissenting opinions.

Te said the high court’s decision centered on the nature of the pardon extended by then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal– Arroyo following Estrada’s conviction by the Sandiganbayan.

He said the 11 justices in the majority ruling characterized the pardon extended by Mrs. Arroyo as “absolute, thereby restoring Mr. Estrada’s qualifications to stand as a candidate in the last mayoralty elections.”

Te said the high court also cited Estrada’s acceptance of the absolute pardon, which “removed the disqualifications arising under Section 40 of the Local Government Code in relation to section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code.”

Vidal filed her petition in April 2013 seeking to reverse the Comelec decision that declared Estrada qualified to run for mayor of Manila in the May 13, 2013 elections. Lim then filed his petition-in-intervention.

The petitioners said the executive pardon granted to Estrada did not restore his right to seek or hold public office.

But the high court held that the Comelec was correct in allowing Estrada to run in the 2013 polls.

Estrada, in his answer filed in June 2013, said the pardon “effectively obliterated all the penalties attached to the conviction and restored Estrada to his full and civil political rights.”

Estrada received 343,993 votes in the elections while Lim received 308,544 votes.


MANILA TIMES

Estrada can’t run for president – Analyst  January 23, 2015 12:10 am  by Jefferson Antiporda Reporter and Jomar Canlas Senior Reporter

THE Supreme Court (SC) decision junking a disqualification case filed against former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada eliminated all obstacles for him to seek higher office in 2016 except for the presidency, a political analyst said on Thursday.

According to Professor Ramon Casiple, while the SC ruling allows Estrada to run for a higher position next year, he may meet opposition if he guns for the presidency.

“He may file his candidacy to run for president, but I’m sure that somebody will also file a petition at the Supreme Court preventing him to run on the basis of the constitutional ban on second term of presidents,” Casiple explained.

Artile VII, Section 4, of the Philippine Constitution states that the “President shall not be eligible for any reelection.”

Estrada was elected as the 13th President of the Philippines in 1998 but he was ousted in 2001 over allegations of corruption. He was eventually charged and convicted for plunder and was sent to jail.

In 2007, then-President Gloria Arroyo granted Estrada executive clemency, restoring his civil and political rights.

In 2009, Estrada announced that he would run for president in 2010 with then-Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay as his running mate. A disqualification case was filed against Estrada questioning his bid for Malacañang. The High Court no longer ruled on the petition since Estrada lost, placing second to now-President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Casiple said since the SC did not rule on the disqualification case against Estrada, a new petition can be filed against the Manila mayor in case he decides to join the presidential race in 2016.

A source at the Supreme Court also on Thursday said that since the High Court was silent on the issue whether Estrada can run for president, there is yet no clear prohibition that would bar him from aiming again for the country’s highest post.

The source agreed with Casiple that another petition can be filed against Estrada if he again seeks the presidency.

“There is no official ruling of the Supreme Court whether or not a former president or a sitting president can seek again the presidency,” the source said.

But amid speculations about his father’s political future, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, son of the former president, said he would prefer that his father retire from politics after his term as mayor of Manila ends.

“Being able to place second in the 2010 presidential race and elected as mayor of Manila [are] already a vindication, so for me it would be better if he will retire from politics,” Ejercito added.


MANILA BULLETIN

House leaders won’t Chacha to accommodate BBL by Charissa Luci January 22, 2015


Aquino sees 'new era' in Mindanao, as Bangsamoro bill goes to Congress newsinfo.inquirer.net  PHOTO TAKEN ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2014

Share this: House leaders are not giving in to proposals to amend the Constitution to accommodate provisions in the

Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The Mindanao bill should fit the Constitution.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman, vice chairman of the House ad hoc panel on the BBL, said Congress has “no time” for Charter change as far as the BBL is concerned and is committed to exhaust all means to pass a legally sound measure that would restore peace in the region.

“There’s no time for Charter change on a complex issue like this. But, l believe that the BBL that Congress will pass can be compliant with the present Constitution,” Belmonte said after Datu Abdul Kahyr Alonto of the MNLF-Alonta faction pushed for constitutional amendments to thresh out the supposed contentious provisions of the BBL.

“We are doing everything to accomodate what was drafted. But we can’t go beyond what is mandated by the Constitution. And besides time is too short for any amendments of the Constitution,” Hataman said.

Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao stressed it is imperative that the BBL “must conform with the Constitution.

“We cannot refashion the Constitution to accommodate the BBL law,” he noted, anticipating that the measure would be challenged before the SC.

“The threshold issue would only be one: does the BBL or any of its provisions transgress the Constitution?” he said.

1-BAP partylist Rep. Silvestre Bello III, who served as peace negotiator in peace talks with communist rebels and AKO Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe agreed with their colleagues and assured that the BBL will be passed within the ambit of the Constitution.

TEST OF LEGALITY

“It’ s the other way around. The BBL must past the test of constitutionality. In short, the BBL that Congress will pass must be in conformity with the provisions of our Constitution,” Bello, a former Justice secretary stressed.

For his part, Batocabe branded Alonto’s call as “premature” since the Supreme Court has yet to scrutinize the constitutionality of the BBL which Congress is expected to pass within the first quarter of 2015. “It is better to harmonize and/ or reconcile the questionable provisions of the BBL with the Constitution rather than undergoing the tedious, divisive and costly process of amending the Constitution,” Batocabe added.

“Moreover , why would we tailor fit our supreme fundamental law to a mere statute like the BBL. It should always be the other way around. Besides such proposal is far too premature without a declaration of unconstitutionality of the provisions of the BBL by the SC,” he pointed out.

At the 35th hearing of the ad hoc panel on the BBL Tuesday, Alonto urged lawmakers to consider amending the Constitution to pave way for the passage of the BBL.


PHILSTAR

Comelec chief shows computer-illiteracy GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) | UPDATED January 23, 2015 - 12:00am 1 27 googleplus0 3


By Jarius Bondoc

Like Mayweather vs Pacquiao, set the grudge match between Comelec head Sixto Brillantes and ex-commissioner Gus Lagman.

Lawyer Sixto made the challenge as self-styled spokesman of Venezuelan Smartmatic. Wrote he to info-technologist Gus (edited):

“In an interview Jan. 6, you declared that results of Smartmatic’s precinct count optical scanners easily can be tampered. This statement undermines the electoral system, since PCOS machines were used in the last two elections. I wonder why you did not say it before or during your Comelec stint. Never did you inform us of such alleged vulnerability.

“As former commissioner it is your duty to demonstrate how the results can easily be tampered. I invite you to exhibit or explain how it can be done. Come to my office to talk details, like presence of media and election stakeholders, and materials to be used.”

To which Gus responded (also excerpted):

“You ask why I ‘did not’ declare before that the PCOS can easily be tampered, or tell the Comelec of ‘such vulnerability.’

“Let me first state: the onus of proving the system safe from manipulation is on Smartmatic and Comelec, since both removed all the safeguards. Still, I accept your invitation.

“Since 2008 I conducted close to 200 presentations on alternatives to automate elections, including defects of the Comelec-chosen PCOS, and Smartmatic violations of law.

There were slides on the vulnerability of Smartmatic’s system to internal tampering.

Of note is the presentation at San Beda COLLEGE because I was still with Comelec then. I also presented to the Comelec staff. Although you will likely deny it, I also said this in our en banc and casual meetings.

“Comelec ignores I-T practitioners, and listens only to Smartmatic, a vendor from a country with less I-T expertise than the Philippines. Had the en banc heeded my recommendation in early 2012 not to BUY the 80,000 PCOS machines, taxpayers would not be saddled now with multibillion-peso warehousing and refurbishing.

“In my presentations and TV/radio interviews I was asked about vulnerability of Smartmatic system. My answer always was that it is difficult to hack them from outside because PCOS units are hooked up to communication lines only for a few minutes, but easy for an insider to tamper with the codes.

“Tell me when you want the demo, before you retire on Feb. 2. Invite whomever you like. As for the equipment, I will need a PCOS unit, a laptop, a printer, and a CF card reader. It is important that at least ONE Smartmatic technical person (an ‘insider’ computer programmer) be present. He should know the software and how to modify it. I will ask him to explain the different modules that comprise the software, as well as the data format and contents of the CF cards; after which, I will INSTRUCT him where and what to alter.

“Let’s also look into the CONSOLIDATION and Canvassing System and the Election Management System that were used in 2013. So we also need a Smartmatic technician who knows how to modify the CCS and EMS.”

* * *


IN THIS PHOTO OF May 6, 2013 2:58 PM Smartmatic Philippines, the supplier of PCOS machines, has settled its dispute with software owner Dominion Voting System, paving the way for delivery of the crucial source code to the Commission on Elections, according to Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.

People thought the fight was on. But then, pug Sixto dithered, though he tried not to show it in a second letter to Gus:

“It is unreasonable, if not ridiculous, to require in conducting the demo a technician from PCOS maker Smartmatic. You were quick to say how easy tampering of the machines results can be made, but at the same time give unreasonable demands to demonstrate it. This indicates that, contrary to your statement, tampering of the Smartmatic PCOS is not so easy. Thus I remind you to be careful in giving public statements to avoid misinformation.

“While we await the response of Smartmatic on whether they are amenable to your demands, I suggest you conduct the demo with your own programmer.”

Gus persisted:

“I’ve always said that external hacking of the system worries me not; ‘internal tampering’ does. It’s vulnerable to tampering by an ‘insider.’

“How does ONE demonstrate ‘internal tampering’ but by an ‘insider’ doing it?

“In truth, demonstrating it is unnecessary, as systems practitioners know, but you may not be aware so I accepted your challenge. Systems are designed and developed by people; therefore they can be modified, altered, tampered with by the same people, or by others trained by them. No demo needed; it’s commonsense.

“Example: one week before the 2010 election, Smartmatic recalled the CF cards of all PCOS machines already deployed – to match their formats with the ballots. They altered the contents of the CF cards, a vital component of the system.

“How many thousands of technicians did Smartmatic employ and train to make the alterations? The techs all now know how to modify the contents of the CF cards. Did some of them work with election operators in the 2013 election to offer candidates a sure WIN for the right amount? “Whether the technicians did it or not, Smartmatic itself proved me right. Contents of CF cards were altered. It was easily done – by insiders.

“Not only the PCOS software and CF cards can be tampered by an insider, but also the CONSOLIDATION and Canvassing System and the Election Management System. They shouldn’t be, if Smartmatic made tight controls, which it didn’t.

“All Election Returns and canvassing results should have been posted on a public website. Anybody, even an OFW in the Middle East, could have done his own CONSOLIDATION of the ER data, and compared his totals with the Comelec official canvass.

But the public website had incomplete data. I hope it was not intentional, to prevent public checking of the results. In 2010 and 2013 the entire Smartmatic system was non-transparent – from precinct counting to the canvassing. We had to depend solely on the vendor’s (and Comelec’s) word.

“If you want this internal tampering demonstrated, then do ask Smartmatic to meet my requirements, then set the date.

“I don’t need reminding to be careful with public statements, for I always am. It’s you who needs it. You have called us ‘election saboteurs,’ ‘troublemakers,’ ‘attention seekers.’ Name-calling is for those who have run out of arguments. It’s not only careless, it’s irresponsible.”

* * *

Stop dilly-dallying, Sixto, and fight.

* * *

By the way, Sixto need not look far for proof of PCOS faults. He just needs to ask his beloved Smartmatic.

Smartmatic’s specializes in direct reading electronic (DRE) voting gadgets, or touch-screen. In fact it supplied those to Comelec in the 2008 ARMM election.

Smartmatic’s product brochures and website at the time denigrated the optical mark reader (OMR), or the PCOS. It said the OMR would only spark “civil unrest” because of the “2-10 percent error rate.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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