AES Watch conveners ask Ombudsman to probe Brillantes, Smartmatic; Refund payments, Smartmatic asked

AES Watch

The Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) today asked President Aquino III to compel the Smartmatic company to refund the money given it due to the failure of some 18,000 PCOS machines to transmit election results, dysfunctional CF cards, and other glitches that transpired during the May 13 mid-term elections.

The amount paid by the government for the questionable purchase of the PCOS machines in March 2012 for at least 23% of the machines that failed to transmit should be refunded. This is on top of costs by machines that broke down, faulty CF cards and modems, and other system failures, AES Watch said. Continue reading

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AES Watch calls for Brillantes resignation

Probe Comelec irregularities and non-compliance of the Poll Automation Law

2013 electionsFollowing repeated threats of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes to sue and expose leaders of the election watchdog, Automated Elelction System Watch as acting in “conspiracy” to sow public distrust on the election, members and conveners of AES Watch today called for the immediate resignation of former election lawyer, Sixto Brillantes, Jr., from his post as chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Brillantes had earlier accused the watchdog of “election sabotage.”  Last week, the poll chief threatened to sue his critics, but withdrew the same threat the other day.

“Coming from the head of a constitutional and powerful body, his threats send a chilling effect not only on AES Watch members but other election watch groups, political parties, candidates, and other stakeholders,” the group said.

The forty-plus coalition of citizens’ organizations composed of academics, IT experts and professionals, policy study analysts, faith-based groups, grassroots organizations, poll watchdogs, good governance advocates and legal groups speaking through its spokesperson, former Philippine Computer Society president, Nelson Celis said, “Chairman Brillantes should make true his threat to sue instead of harassing us with dangerous labels, so that truth will out.” Continue reading

From BAD to WORSE: 2013 Automated Elections, Big Technological Disaster

PRESS ADVISORY
Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch)
May 17, 2013

From BAD to WORSE: 2013 Automated Elections, Big Technological Disaster

Programming errors, zero vote data, corrupted CF cards, paper jamming, multiple transmissions, PCOS shutdowns nationwide : “Comelec 99.99999% ready” (Brillantes) or signs of election failure?

· Why STOP the “transparency” count?
· Why the mysterious slowdown of transmission?
· Why the non-transparency and sudden secrecy of election results from the public?
· What happened to the 30% of Election Returns not immediately transmitted after closing of polls?
· What “routine maintenance” did Smartmatic do with the PCOS system inside the “citizens’ arm -PPCRV command center immediately before transmission of election results and after PPCRV announced more than 12 million votes transmitted three hours after polls closed?
· Who are the mysterious Smartmatic operators at the servers?
· Why allow physical transport of un-transmitted CF cards direct to the NBOC not through “ladderized canvassing?”
· What happened to the RMA (random manual audit) in 236 clustered precincts (CPs) that should have been done immediately after the elections?
· Why the Proclamation with more than 20% of CPs or 11 million votes still unaccounted for?
· How will the candidates know the right number of votes they garnered in the polls?

These highly irregular incidents, questions and other issues will be tackled by AES Watch in a PRESS BRIEFING

May 18, 2013, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
AES Watch Monitoring Center
c/o Center for Integrative & Development Studies (CIDS)
Ground Level, Ang Bahay ng Alumni, Magsaysay Avenue
UP Diliman, Quezon City


Panelists:

Pablo R. Manalastas, PhD, Nelson J. Celis, Lito Averia, Ernie del Rosario
Rene B. Azurin, PhD, Maricor Akol, Fr. Joe Dizon Temario C. Rivera, PhD former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr. and others

 

For other details, please contact Soleil Manzano
AES Watch Monitoring Center
Tel. 9818500 local 4274/4273 and 9299526
Email address: aeswatch.org@gmail.com
Facebook: AES Watch Twitter: @aeswatch_PH

Machines are useless against fraud; ‘Bantay Presinto, Bantay PCOS, Bantay Salakay’

The think tank Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) today warned that election cheating has gone from bad to worse and poll automation is powerless against it. It called on thousands of citizens’ poll watchers to conduct evidence-based Bantay Presinto, Bantay PCOS, Bantay Salakay (Precinct Watch, PCOS Watch, Vote-Buying Watch).

Speaking through its Director for Policy Studies, Bobby M. Tuazon, CenPEG called on poll watchers to anticipate a big number of voting machine malfunctions, transmission glitches, queuing gridlocks, and power outages, among other troubles. This scenario, CenPEG said, is expected to happen based on ground reports gathered by researchers and monitors of the Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) who covered the final testing and sealing (FTS) from May 2-10. Continue reading

IT experts: ‘Is Comelec fooling us again?’; AES Watch demands full disclosure of deal

IT experts from the Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) agree: The turnover by the Colorado-based SysTest Labs Inc. (SLI) of the Dominion-owned election source code to Comelec was just for show and is not compliant with the law.

AES Watch today also asserted the freedom of information as it demanded Comelec to lift the shroud of secrecy attending the claimed disclosure: What source code was suddenly released just a few days after the filing of complaints by citizens and reelectionist Sen. Richard Gordon against Comelec before the UN Human Rights Committee and the Supreme Court, respectively? Is the Dominion source code from SLI illegal copy?

Prof Nelson Celis, AES Watch acting spokesperson, asked “Is the source code presented for media photo-ops, the same source code embedded in the PCOS firmwares or is it a chopsuey source code of 2010 and 2011 – which was not tested – to be used for 2013?” “The people have the right to know the terms and conditions of the Comelec-Dominion-Smartmatic-SLI deal and what is in the source code CD,” he said.

Celis, who is also 2012 Most Outstanding Electronics Engineer in IT, said since there was no source code reviewed several months ahead of the May 13 elections, then Comelec is still liable for non-compliance with the election law. RA 9369, Sec. 11.5 stipulates that “A certification that the source code reviewed is one and same as that used by the equipment.”

Besides, Celis, an IT expert who helped craft the modern election law in 2007, said Comelec has not published the hash code of the PCOS in escrow at BSP – as well as that of the election management system (EMS) and the canvassing and consolidation system (CCS). He recalls that in 2010 Comelec published such “hash code.”

“Comelec fooled the people in 2010 on the source code, now they want to fool us twice,” Celis said.

Ernie del Rosario, former Comelec IT director, said there is no way to know now whether the claimed PCOS source code is the one embedded in 80,000 plus PCOS machines that have been deployed nationwide for Monday’s mid-term elections.

Dr. Pablo R. Manalastas, IT Fellow of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG), said “It does not take too much brain matter to come to the conclusion that all these media releases are just for show. We don’t have a real source code for 2013 that is available and open. We’ve been had again.”

“The PCOS binary program that will be used in the May 13 elections retains all the bugs of the 2010 binary program, plus all the bugs added by the 2011 ARMM binary program which was never tested and used,” Manalastas, an IT guru at UP and Ateneo, said.

Which version of Dominion’s source code did Comelec claim to have?

Manalastas: “Is this the version of Dominion’s PCOS computer program that was used in the 2010 Philippine elections, possibly with some minor modifications for use in the 2011 ARMM elections, but without the bug fixes that were requested by Comelec from Smartmatic as a condition for purchasing the PCOS under the OTP provision of the 2009 contract?”

There were more than 40 bug fixes requested by Comelec, but these bug corrections were never acted upon because of the court battle between Smartmatic and Dominion in the Court of Delaware. Thus, he said, “the PCOS binary program that will be used in the May 13, 2013 elections retains all of the bugs of the 2010 binary program, plus all the bugs added by the 2011 ARMM binary program, which was never actually tested and used.”

Where did this source code from and can we legally review it?

Manalastas said that for Comelec to follow the law and implement Section 12(14) of RA-9369 which states, “Once an AES technology is selected for implementation, the Commission shall promptly make the source code of that technology available and open to any interested political party or groups which may conduct their own review thereof”,  the poll body must secure a license from Dominion granting interested political parties or groups (in the Philippines) the right to review the source code (and propose bug-fixes) of the Dominion EMS and Dominion PCOS.

“This is the only legal way by which the Filipino people through interested political parties and other groups can conduct a review of Dominion’s source code,” Manalastas said. “Truth is, the only license that Smartmatic was able to arrange from Dominion for Comelec is the 2009 license that gives Comelec the right to use the Dominion EMS and Dominion PCOS binary programs for the 2010 elections ONLY. Worse still, neither did Smartmatic nor Comelec secure a license from Dominion that gives interested political parties and groups the right to review the source code for 2010 and for 2013 when the law is clear that this is Comelec’s obligation to do so.”

“I believe that our hope for clean, honest, accurate, secure computerized elections for 2013 has just been reduced to NIL,” the CenPEG IT Fellow said.

Prof. Tuazon’s statement on the turnover of the “source code” to Comelec

How sure are we now that the claimed “source code” is the same one loaded in 70,000 plus PCOS machines that have been deployed all over the Philippines with several already tested for FTS? It will need opening up all PCOS units and running the hash code – a humongous task that only a “superman” will be able to do before election.

Brillantes is just making the legal motions of complying with Sec. 14 of RA 9369 – compelled as he was after AES Watch individual members and other eminent voters filed a Petition against Comelec through the GPH with the UN Human Rights Committee on May 3; and on the same day, reelectionist Sen. Gordon filed a mandamus against Comelec before the SC on the source code issue.

We have demanded from Mr. Brillantes to reveal the terms and conditions that defined the negotiation with Dominion (brokered by the Comelec chairman himself), like, how much in taxpayers’ money was paid yet again? More importantly, is this move in effect paving the way for the Dominion to be the dominant player in the 2016 automated elections (Smartmatic phasing out because of its bungling)? Smartmatic’s Cesar Flores had revealed in a recent JCOC hearing that Dominion wanted to take over the Philippine market in election automation.

– Prof. Bobby Tuazon, UP Manila professor and AES Watch co-convenor

AES Watch: Comelec is not off the hook; Calls for parallel manual count

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) under Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. is not yet off the hook after announcing that the Dominion Voting Systems (DVS) has agreed to disclose the source code to the poll body, the AES Watch said today. The broad citizens’ election watchdog also said the PCOS count is unreliable and called for a 100 percent parallel manual count in the coming elections in light of the absence of a source code and other deficiencies of the poll automation system.

Bobby M. Tuazon, co-convener of AES Watch, said the supposed disclosure of the source code by Dominion only bolsters the election watch group’s contention that both Comelec and Smartmatic are liable for automating the elections of 2013 without a source code. “The last-minute disclosure of the source code even if true will not extricate Comelec and Smartmatic from legal liability,” Tuazon said. “They should have revealed the source code last year when Comelec decided to re-use the unreliable Smartmatic-marketed technology to allow political parties and other interested groups to conduct an independent review of the software program as a matter of right.” Continue reading