POSTSCRIPT / November 25, 2014 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Tardy SC action can moot 2010 poll issue

JUDICIAL TIMIDITY: When will the Supreme Court rule either way on petitions to nullify the official results of the 2010 elections, where Benigno S. Aquino III came out president, for being in violation of the Automated Election Systems Law (RA 9369)?

Or will the tribunal hand down a “solomonic” resolution honoring the AES law but invoking higher “public interest” to allow the status quo of elective officials keeping their posts unless disqualified for other reasons?

Or, to divert public clamor for action on the violation of the AES law, will the SC give a clear signal for the impeachment of Comelec officials or the criminal prosecution of those who may have left the poll body before the ruling?

Or will the high court, in a monumental act of judicial timidity, sit on the petitions until those elected in 2010, among them President Aquino, have served fully their terms — so the question of their election being in violation of the law, and therefore void, would be rendered moot?

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FACE THE ISSUE: This is speculative, but my guess is that the Supreme Court, afraid to trigger an unmanageable crisis, may delay resolving the question until President Aquino and others elected with him have served out their terms – thereby rendering the issue moot.

Even assuming that many Supreme Court justices know in their hearts that there were indeed fatal violations of the AES law, will they have the courage to say so?

Significantly, the same patent violations have been widely alleged also in regard to the subsequent 2013 midterm elections. There is no escaping the issues. We are called upon to face and resolve them either way, the earlier the better.

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ON WITH DEBATE: To reignite the debate, let me quote excerpts from the email of Postscript readers on the subject.

• Ado Paglinawan <mymaestro@rocketmail.com> – “All proclamations for the 2010 elections, from the president all the way down to the lowliest councilor, were based on ‘unofficial’ returns, in violation of the Automated Election Systems Law.

“The National Board of Canvassers proclaimed a president and a vice president on the mere say-so of the Commission on Elections from spurious sources.

“The Comelec itself committed the brazen crime when it collapsed the election safeguards explicitly required by the AES law, foremost of which is the digital signature of the election inspectors that would have authenticated the electronic transmissions of election returns received by the Comelec.

“The AES law is as clear and unequivocal as daylight in providing ‘The election returns transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as basisfor the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of a candidate.’ (Emphasis supplied)

“The smoking gun and bloodstains are self-explanatory in Comelec Resolution 8766 of March 4, 2010, instructing the election inspectors nationwide to ignore this vital requirement of the AES law, in effect amending it. That is a constitutional violation because the Comelec cannot legislate. Only the Congress can amend its own act.

“By a single resolution, the Comelec also violated the E-Commerce Act that is explicit in requiring digital signatures in any and all electronic transactions. This is to ensure that there is a human person behind the machine, otherwise the transaction could have been sourced from anywhere.

“The present dispensation rules on the basis of a Comelec fiat based on an ‘illegal’ process that generated ‘unofficial’ documents.

“In aggravation, the Brillantes Comelec repeated the crime by reissuing the same resolution and circular in 2013, that has led us to a bizarre situation where not one single elective official in our motherland has been legitimately elected, with the exception of those in the barangay level that did not use automation.

“Soon I will be filing for a quick resolution of the case (GRL No. 192561) I submitted to the Supreme Court on June 28, 2010, a few days before the proclamation of the sitting president seeking the nullification of the 2010 elections.

“It is my prayer that just like what the Supreme Court of Germany did, ours will likewise judge against a deep wound lunged by the repeated denial of the absolute sovereignty of our people manifested through the ballot.”

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• Rolly Francia <rmf6666@yahoo.com> — “In the private sector, they reward a contractor or supplier for excellent performance. In the government, they keep rewarding inefficiency.

“Despite all the defects and flaws of the Smartmatic-PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines, which were first rented for P7.9 billion and then bought for P1.8 billion by the Comelec, the poll body seems to keep favoring this foreign company with murky origins.

“Smartmatic was first formed with capital lent by the Venezuelan government under the late Hugo Chavez, which was why it was investigated by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States in 2006.

“The Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) has complained that in the 2010 and 2013 elections, Smartmatic did not comply with the AES law provisions on source code review, the digital signatures, the voters validation paper, audit trail, and the electronic transmission.

“The source code is the computer software that runs the PCOS. In 2010 there was no source code review conducted as required by law. In 2013, the source code arrived late because of Smartmatic’s legal tussle with Dominion Voting Systems, which owns the source code. So there was no proper review conducted by poll experts and the political parties.

“There were also many documented problems with their compact flash or CF cards during the 2013 polls, as well as discrepancies in the electronic results and the random manual audit conducted by various election stakeholders.

“Comelec officials led by chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. keep downplaying Smartmatic’s serious problems and covering up for them.”

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CAPAMPANGAN MEDIA: The Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI) holds its Christmas Party and general meeting on Dec. 5, a Friday, at Annabel’s resto on Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City, from 11 am to 2 pm. For details, email  Joe Cortez at pempecortez@yahoo.com.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of November 25, 2014)

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