The TNTrio+ with Kapatiran Party
Philippine Daily Inquirer
16 June 2023
MANILA, Philippines — A petition to disqualify Smartmatic Philippines from bidding for the 2025 midterm automated election system (AES) was filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday.
The 11-page petition was filed by former Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., former Comelec commissioner Augusto Lagman, former president of Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines Franklin Ysaac and retired Colonel Leonardo Odoño.
In a copy obtained from Comelec, petitioners asked the poll body to investigate Smartmatic Philippines’ alleged instances for qualification as a potential bidder for the 2025 Automated Election System.
The petitioners cited Smartmatic’s reported failure to comply with specific “minimum system capabilities” that resulted in alleged “serious and grave irregularities.”
Specifically, the petitioners pointed to supposed discrepancies between transmitting and receiving election returns (ERs) from the precinct level to Comelec’s Transparency Server during the 2022 national and local elections.
“These material discrepancies, which remain unexplained to date, constitute a violation of the minimum system capabilities required by law and have created serious doubts on the integrity of the entire election process,” the petition read.
“This shows clearly that the Transparency Server was receiving more ERs than what the VCMs were transmitting in the first two hours after voting closed at 7 p.m. of May 9, 2022,” said the petitioners.
Furthermore, telecommunication companies’ Call Detail Records reportedly showed almost no VCM transmissions through their networks in the first hour.
The petitioners also noted during the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee hearing on the Automated Election. It was discovered that Comelec and Smartmatic allegedly changed protocols before the May 9 elections.
This supposedly prevented tracing the actual source of transmission of votes from precincts going into the server.
It was also found in the same hearing that Smartmatic was not only contracted to supply the VCMs but also handled the transmission of results.
“The serious and material irregularities in the transmission and reception of election results in the AES system provided and deployed by Smartmatic during the May 9, 2022 elections constitute a violation of the minimum system capabilities required by law,” the petition stated.
“If not satisfactorily explained, constitute sufficient grounds for the disqualification of Smartmatic from participating in the procurement for the 2025 Automated Election System,” it concluded.
It can be recalled the same petitioners appealed to the Supreme Court in November 2022 to save the transmission logs of the May elections so that they may be reviewed in a future case.
Is there a way out of the darkness? Where and how do we begin?