by Nicanor Perlas
Today, June 30, marks the transition into power of all government officials elected during the recent May 10, 2010 automated elections. Many believe that these officials, including the President, Vice-President, and Senators were duly elected by the will of the people. Unfortunately, and no little thanks to the complicity and spin of many mainstream media establishments, this new set of local and national government officials were all illegally installed. They are the beneficiaries of a silent de facto civilian coup engineered by the country's elitewho perpetuated massive fraud in the nation's first automated elections.
This "electronic Garci" dwarfs the manual cheating done by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner "Garci" in the 2004 presidential elections. In effect, we now have a "new" government by virtue of corrupt operators who subverted our democracy. Consider the following.
Legal Violations of RA 9369 by Comelec
From the very beginning, Comelec, tasked by the Philippine Constitution to ensure clean and honest elections, did the very opposite of their mandate and responsibility. Comelec violated practically every major provision of Republic Act 9369, popularly known as the law mandating the use of an Automated Election System (AES).
Among others, Comelec violated the following provisions of RA 9369:
• No pre-testing of AES in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao;
• No public examination of the source code to be used by the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) machines;
• Dismantling of the PCOS UV security system;
• Removal of the Voter Verification feature; remember the infamous "congratulations" you got on the PCOS machine instead of a list verifying your vote?;
• Re-configuration of Compact Flash (CF) cards without proper oversight;
• No digital signatures (on Electronic Returns) as defined and required by RA 9369 and the Electronic Commerce Act;
• No clear inventory and accountability of millions of unused ballots;
• CF cards carried to canvassing center without security;
• Random Manual Audit (RMA) not done in the polling place and on the day itself and remained incomplete weeks after the elections;
• Hash codes in the Antipolo PCOS machines do not match published Comelec Hash Codes, showing that the Antipolo PCOS machines are illegal.
Highly Suspicious Activities
In addition, a few days before the elections, Comelec quietly sent out 20 CF cards and 2 "burners" to all provinces in the country, or a total 1600 CF cards and 160 "burners". If one is computer literate and has access to the appropriate software, then this provision basically gives the necessary tools to operators to fraudulently tamper with election results, which they did. (See related discussion below.)
Despite warnings by the IT community, Comelec continuously assured the voting public that there will only be minimal problems with the electronic transmission of votes. Yet, on election day itself, there was a massive failure of transmission of votes, affecting more than 30% of all votes. The transmission failures gave political operators the opportunity to manually and electronically manufacture the votes.
Again, despite warnings by professionals and concerned citizens based on time and motion studies, Comelec assured the general public that there would be no delays in the voting. But during election day, there were very long lines. Many voters waited in line for hours in order to vote. But a significant number went home after experiencing delays lasting more than 6 hours. Five to eight million voters were disenfranchised in the process.
Even worst, because of transmission problems, Comelec lowered the threshold for canvassing of votes from 100% precinct returns, to sometimes, less than 70%. So even those who voted were disenfranchised because, in the end, their votes were not counted. And these figures do not include the highly problematic "null votes" numbering in the millions, votes that were also cast aside uncounted.
Common Pattern of Fraudulent Operations
Because Comelec dismantled key security features of the AES, political operators, including Comelec employees and Smartmatic technicians, were able to hijack the system and manufacture the "winners" of the May 2010 elections.
The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms conducted investigations on the fraud committed during the recent elections. A significant number of candidates for congressmen, governor, and mayor testified in the Committee hearings. Significantly, their independent stories converged into a pattern of fraudulent operations that manufactured the "winners" of the recent elections.
• Candidates were offered victory at the polls. The offer presented precise numbers and percentages of voters who will vote for the candidate.
• The operators sold their illegal "services" for a price ranging from P10/vote to as high as P500/vote.
• When the candidates refused the offer, the operators offered the same package to the opponents of the candidates.
• Oftentimes, these opponents were not as popular as the candidates who refused the offer to cheat in their behalf. The opponents did not have large crowds in campaign rallies and did not campaign as much as the candidate. The opponents, certain of their "victory" also displayed arrogant and cocky behavior towards the candidate testifying in Congress.
• Yet their opponents win according to the predicted numbers and percentages.
• In one instance (candidate Ace Barbers), the political operator who approached him predicted, in November 2009,that a re-configuration of flash cards would occur before the elections. Barbers was incredulous until Smartmatic and Comelec announced on May 4 that they would re-configure 76,000 CF cards. When Barbers heard about this, he said in his testimony that he felt like cold water was poured all over his body and that he almost had a heart attack.
Modus Operandi of Fraud
The Committee hearings and other evidence revealed how the political operators manufactured the results of the May 2010 elections. Their method relied on:
• Pre-programmed Primary CF Cards
• Pre-shaded ballots
• Interception of Transmissions
• Collusion with Smartmatic Technicians and Comelec officials
Contrary to the repeated claims of Smartmatic technicians, the Primary CF cards can be programmed. During the congressional technical audit of the PCOS machines from Antipolo, the writer saw first hand how Smartmatic technicians, with the proper programs in the CF cards, could enable the PCOS machines to do all kinds of functions. As IT experts have observed in the YouTube upload, "Hacking Democracy", if a CF card has a program inside together with voting data, then the CF card can be programmed to give the desired manufactured voting result. This is one reason why fraudulent political operators were so cocky about being able to engineer and predict the outcome of the elections.
But this was not all. Audit logs obtained from the Antipolo PCOS machines, that were found illegally stored in the house of a Smartmatic technician, showed people were voting at an average of 20 seconds per vote. What happened to all the highly visible long waiting times and long lines displayed by TV during election day? The evidence points to one person inserting pre-shaded ballots into the PCOS machines.
Even Congressman Teodoro Locsin, Chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, in his Committee Report, makes this observation as reported in the 29 June 2010 issue of the Daily Tribune:
Voting logged as taking place hours after the close of voting hours, with ballots logged as having been fed to the voting machine at a fast and unvarying rate consistent only with one person doing it, are not just suspicious but invalid as well."[Emphasis added.]
Another fingerprint of fraud is the mismatch between Smartmatic's internal data and the transmission figures reported by TV stations on the evening of election day and newspapers the following day. On May 10, 2010, Comelec announced on 11:11pm, barely 4 hours after elections, that 57% or 21 million votes were already received from precincts all over the country. On the contrary, according to the congressional Committee testimony of the operations manager of LRA, which handled the secret Smartmatic National Data Center, their field technicians were reporting that only 20% of the precinct votes have come in.
Obviously the big question is why the huge difference between the two figures? Clearly an unknown data source was broadcasting fake election results into the central server of Comelec.
A number of mutually reinforcing factors made fraudulent election results convincing.
First fabricated surveys conditioned the mind of the public to expect certain candidates to win. Time and time again, this writer has been told by a number of people in different parts of the country that survey outfits, including Pulse Asia, did not include the writer's name even when voters mentioned the writer as their preference for presidential candidate. Other presidential candidates had similar experiences with fraudulent surveys conducted by outfits, including Social Weather Station.
Media bias further reinforced the mind conditioning done by survey companies. Many mainstream media including ABS CBN, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, and to a lesser extent, GMA7 selectively covered the news, devoting lopsided airtime and newspaper space to candidates they preferred. And when the results of the elections came out, they brainwashed the public to believe not only that the election results were accurate and honest. They also incessantly repeated that the Philippines, by inference, had just achieved a world record, being the only country in the world to immediately transition from manual counting to electronic canvassing in one election. And when news of massive fraud was uncovered, these same media outlets either ignored the stories or gave the news an unacceptable slant.
Not to be left behind, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) became a de facto watchdog for Comelec instead of the voting public. Despite the massive evidence of fraud emerging at the local and national levels, PPCRV's silence on the matter was defeaning.
Yes, there were political operators selling manufactured votes and corrupt politicians spending millions to buy their illegal services. And yes, Comelec had failed to do its regulatory duty and opened the floodgates for massive cheating. But, in the end, fraud would have not taken place at the massive scale that it did without the silent complicity of survey outfits, mainstream media, and the PPCRV.
Legal Transgressions of Congress
The one constitutional body, Congress, which could have stepped in to raise a red flag, did not question the massive fraud that pervaded the country's first automated elections. Worse, Congress itself further aggravated the crime by engaging in its own fraudulent activities.
In violation of the Constitution, both the House of Representatives and the Senate did not convene a Joint Session to canvass the votes for president and vice-president. Instead they established a Joint Committee to canvass the votes and proclaim the winners of the presidential and vice-presidential elections. And, in a further violation of the law, specifically RA 9369, both Houses of Congress canvassed electoral returns that did not contain any digital signatures. Thus, Congress, together with Comelec, legitimized the election of national and local officials on the basis of election returns that did not contain digital signatures. Clearly both had violated the spirit and the letter of the law.
May 2010 Elections: Invalid and Void From the Beginning
If an election process wantonly violates the law, can one consider the election results valid? The obvious common sense and legal answer is a resounding "No!". The recent national elections were void and invalid from the beginning. Therefore, the national and local officials who were "elected" by this fraudulent process cannot claim to be the authentic and legitimate beneficiaries of the "will" of the electorate.
Many are longing for a new beginning with the incoming government. Do not hold your breath. A new government conceived in fraud cannot become the center of a moral and systemic transformation that this country is longing for.
It is obvious that a moral and effective governance cannot arise on the basis of massive fraud. Citizens have to act now to challenge the new de facto civilian coup that the recent elections have placed in power.
In Part II of this article, we will explore some of the ways concerned citizens can take to defend and advance democracy and integral sustainable development.
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Nicanor Perlas)
Perlas, Nicanor. Unelected and Illegal Government. 1 July 2010. Nicanor Perlas Site. http://www.nicanor-perlas.com/News/unelected-and-illegal-government.html