Of Mice, Boys, And Men

30 May 2010 Heart to Heart Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS

The technical ignorance of practically all members of the joint session of Philippine Congress was glaringly obvious during the initial two days of the canvassing of the votes from the May 10, 2010 national elections.

            For those who are familiar with computers, it is lucidly clear that these computer-illiterate legislators were the major cause of the confusion, suspicion, delays, and grave misinformation and injustice about automated elections. Instead of inspiring faith among our people by providing them security thru intelligent guidance, they were so ill-prepared and ignorant, causing chaos rather than order.

            The Senate President and the Speaker of the House, who were presiding over the session and should have done their homework, were as uninformed and confused, if not worse than the other senators and congressmen present.

            The legislator-canvassers are now asking for demonstration on how the PCOS machine, Compact Flash Cards, and Server work. This should have been done days, if not weeks, before the May 10th elections. The senators and congressmen should have done their homework before facing the television, shamelessly displaying to the world their utter ignorance (and some with arrogance to boot). They should have also allowed expert computer technicians from the major opposing political parties to try to tamper the system in front of the television for all to see. This would have shown beforehand that this automated system was tamper-proof as Smartmatic tried many times to explain in vain. Of course, this experiment could still be done today, if only to prove once and for all that automated election is indeed secure, Koala Boy-and-cheater proof.

            How can presiding officers effectively and efficiently conduct the session if they do not even know the definition of terms, like digital signature, CF cards, server, etc., and the salient points about the PCOS machine, and how the entire automation works? And how can the other legislators ask intelligent and pertinent questions if they did not know the basic facts about the system?

            This is actually the blind leading the blind. And all this could have been prevented, and the nation spared from the ridiculous carnival of clowns, had these legislators been educated beforehand. Do we send our soldiers to the battlefield before teaching them the various technical terms in warfare, about security, and how weapons work?

            Because of their unpreparedness, the legislators participating only added to the confusion and created more doubts on the public’s mind about the security and accuracy of the PCOs machine, the CF cards, and the servers. This was most unfair to a good system and to Smartmatic, especially the way many of our legislators treated its president and his technical team, who, in spite of the uncalled for finger-pointing and harsh words, remained calm, courteous, cordial, and decently informative.

            Had our legislators mandated that they themselves, all the candidates, and the entire nation be in-serviced and educated weeks before the elections about the technical details of automated election, using lectures and demonstration on television for public information and education, everyone would have known THAT:

  1. .The only singular opportunity to cheat in automated elections was during the programming of the entire system, but apparently the Comelec, Smartmatic, and the various political parties had their respective technical experts present to assure the programming was properly done,  fraud-free, and tamper-proof.
  2. After Smartmatic had turned over to Comelec the programmed PCOS machine, CF cards, and servers, the source code, the keys, the entire system is more than doubly secure with encrypted codes and keys, which at this stage, makes manipulation (cheating) impossible. Like any gadget, glitches were possible, but within industry standard threshold, and not material to the ultimate count.
  3. It would have been wonderful if the date and time stamps were reset properly for the Philippine time zone, but even that error did not materially affect the security and accuracy of the voting, counting, and canvassing. The servers would only accept transmissions from authorized and specific precincts and flashcards, and only when they are turned on (on May 10, 2010) and ONLY during the legally prescribed polling time, not before, not after closing.
  4. The servers were programmed to recognize and accept transmissions ONLY from the specific precincts assigned to them. Transmission from other PCOs machines from other precincts, or other generic counting optical scans, or unofficial ballots, or duplicate ballots, would be rejected. So, using back-up PCOS machines/flash cards from the warehouse or from other precincts, or from the garbage, will not be recognized by the assigned server, which will reject the transmission from these unassigned, unauthorized unit. All the alleged claims about this issue were manufactured and false.
  5. The servers were programmed to know and expect the specific bar codes (and the total registered voters from a particular precinct). Anything outside of this, or any attempt at inserting a duplicate ballot from the same person (double voting) or from another, with a ballot whose bar code the server does not recognize, will be rejected. So, you cannot cheat by feeding as many fraudulent ballots as you wish. And “dagdag-bawas” is even less possible, unless you grab the ballot from someone and fill it up yourself, or physically prevent someone from inserting his ballot into the PCOS machine.
  6. The Koala Boy allegation of an offer to rig the votes to assure a candidate’s victory, or protect his votes, all for a fee of a billion pesos or so, was clearly a scam, if not a contrived plan by a losing candidate or political party. Watching our legislators and the witnesses in action during the televised canvassing makes one understand why our beloved country is in such a mess.
  7. The whining losers, blaming the automated system for their loss, are not only ignorant of the technical aspect of the automated system, but losers groping for an excuse. Majority of those who lost have started to lick their wounds in silence, analyzing and learning from their defeat, which they have graciously accepted. That’s magnanimity. Great leaders don’t whine.
  8. The arrogant congresswoman who came forth with compact flashcards should have known that possession of illegal items is a crime, just like possession of stolen property or illegal drugs. Unless she identifies the source of those cards (who should face the legal consequences), she should be held legally liable for the crime. Bearing false witness is also illegal. Again, programmed CF cards could only be used ONCE, and must be used in a specific precinct and PCOS machine where it was supposed to be used at, and nowhere else. Those cards, which were found after the elections, were really useless.

The PCS Chair and others who claimed to have been approached, akin to the Koala Boy allegation, should have been legally liable for NOT calling the Police and allowing scammers and criminals to go free. After all, they were sworn in “to tell the truth and nothing but the truth,” before they were allowed to tell their fairy tales. The novelas from the losers and others, who could not provide proof to substantiate their claims, are evidently fabricated and self-serving lies. They are an insult to the intelligence of the Filipino people. 

Now, massive vote-buying, as a form of cheating and injustice against the good candidates who are too honest or too poor to buy votes, is another story. This is where all the legislators should have focused their attention and time to, instead of exposing their ineptness about automated elections and allowing criminal politicians who bought votes to go unpunished. Legislators who close their eyes to this crime deserve to be in jail themselves.

The automated election has vindicated itself and has even separated mice and boys from men. The automation portion of the May 2010 national elections is the cleanest ever, no matter what the administration “no-proc” advocates and misinformed detractors claim.  Its time to fumigate all the branches of government and for the old system of manual vote counting to go. And so with the rats and plunderers in our governmen


Email: FUNforHumanity@gmail.com

Website Director: Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS
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