8 May 2010
Technical glitches which hounded the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in tests that were administered to these are part of a long series of problems that have occurred in the process of holding the first-ever automated elections in the country. By itself, but especially when seen together with the other problems that have occurred earlier, this failure seriously undermines the credibility of the May 10 elections.
The regime of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Commission on Elections, and Smartmatic-TIM should be held responsible for this series of problems. A president who is widely believed to be a cheater, a government agency whose former official is the infamous Virgilio Garcillano, and a shady foreign corporation that is only too eager to take on the automation of the country’s elections – they have stubbornly pushed through with their plan for automating the elections, ignoring a deluge of warnings and proposals from various cause-oriented groups.
Information Technology experts say that while these problems have enormous negative consequences for the elections, their technical causes are nonetheless mind-bogglingly simple so as to go unforeseen or undetected. People can’t help but think that these problems were wilfully created and planted so as to sabotage the elections and play into Mrs. Arroyo’s schemes to stay in power.
As the people’s vigilance and disgust over the problems of the elections rise, soldiers are being deployed in Metro Manila by the truckloads, further bolstering people’s belief that something awful is cooking. As of this writing, 2,300 soldiers have already been deployed to the National Capital Region and reports say three batallions are soon to follow. People have seen enough of “peaceful and orderly elections” under soldiers’ watch to know what this deployment means.
We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to be vigilant and be ready to thwart any move to derail or sabotage the elections as well as any move to prolong Mrs. Arroyo’s hold on power. Let us go to our precincts on May 10, not just to vote but to also guard our votes and the whole electoral process.
Let us be on guard for the following:
(1) Massive disenfranchisement of voters. Usual forms: absence from voters’ list, abrupt unannounced precinct changes, harassment by police and military forces. New forms: machine problems, insufficient technical knowledge among election officials, brownouts, and delay in operating PCOS machines.
(2) Brownouts throughout the day insofar as these could also cause technical problems with the election machines.
(3) Election machine failure of various kinds. Includes: system crash due to immense data, PCOS machines having problems with jammed ballots, failure of PCOS machines to print initialization reports.
(4) Unusual mass-up of police and military in voting precints and local Comelec offices to sow terror.
(5) Comelec’s declaration of failure of elections, which will pave way for Arroyo’s stay in power.
(6) Various moves by Mrs. Arroyo to discredit the elections, sow terror among the people, and prolong her hold on power.
We call on the Filipino workers and people to be alert for turns of events that will necessitate our collective and militant action. If Mrs. Arroyo pushes through with her scheme to sabotage the elections and remain at the helm of power, she will be leaving the Filipino workers and people with no other choice than to do a “People Power” again to thwart her efforts and oust her from power. (Bulatlat.com)
Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson