praning about PCOS

15 June 2012

praning, that  is, paranoid, about those blasted PCOS machines for the 2013, maybe also the 2016? elections.  my beef in 2010 was that there were no manual counts done in random towns / provinces/ regions to prove without a doubt that the machines were counting and relaying real votes.  and of course there was all the talk from credible, and very concerned, IT people about 236 glitches, weaknesses, defects, flaws.  236!  here’s ex-comelec commissioner augusto “gus” lagman:

[Lagman] noted that when he was still with Comelec, the poll body opted to sign anew a deal with Smartmatic even if the latter had failed to address a lot of errors in the machines.

He said when he joined Comelec, the PCOS machines had “236 problems.”

“But these problems have not been addressed, and yet Comelec proceeded to enter into the deal,” he added.

He asked: “Are we going to count on Smartmatic’s word that these will be addressed?”

Lagman, an IT expert, believes that the machines can be hacked. The petitioners before the SC believe that this could eventually lead to widespread cheating.

says butch del castillo in Those cursed PCOS machines

During the High Court’s hearing on the petitions early this month, former Commissioner Lagman (who was called by the High Court to express his dissenting views) said Comelec’s approval of the purchase came long after its option to purchase had expired. Lagman said Comelec should not have renewed Smartmatic’s contract “because the technical glitches in the PCOS machines were not addressed.”

“Proof of the problems is that they were trying to repair it, an admission that the problems existed,” he said.

Lagman described the whole network of PCOS machines as “very vulnerable to tampering.”

He said, “it does not have enough security features and has no digital signatures, which were supposed to be given by election inspectors rather than the machine.”

Lagman also pointed out that the Smartmatic system “had no mechanism to check the authenticity of the ballots and votes supposedly shown.”

Lagman’s views on the fatal defects of the PCOS machines were similar to the findings of the Philippine Computer Society and other concerned entities that organized themselves into a watchdog group called Tanggulang Demokrasya or Tan Dem.

okay, so the supreme court summoned the IT expert ex-commissioner lagman pala and listened naman to his objections re the use of smartmatic’s PCOS machines sa 2013.  and yet the supreme court has nothing to say about these objections.  the problem, i suppose, is that the four separate complaints questioned only the legality of the contract signed last march by smartmatic and comelec, and did not raise the lack of security features, the vulnerability to tampering, atbp.  bakit?  they were so sure that there was no way the court would find the contract legal?  that wasn’t very bright of them.

The court said the contract was still valid and existing because the performance security bond posted by Smartmatic-TIM was not yet returned.

The bond was in the form of a letter of credit worth P360 million or 5 percent of the original P7.2-billion poll automation contract for the May 2010 polls.

The bond was meant to fund penalties for non-performance or should Smartmatic-TIM fail to deliver the equipment based on contract schedules.

“That was one expressly stated in the contract, that return of the performance bond will terminate the contract,” (sc spokeslady) Guerra said.

“The court found that the main contract for the automated election system between the Comelec and Smartmatic–containing an option to purchase–was still existing when Smartmatic extended the period and when the Comelec exercised said option,” she said.

and now that it’s a go, biglang Chiz has no more doubts about PCOS.

Escudero said he also used to have doubts about the PCOS machines, but that Comelec statistics on electoral protests after the 2010 polls show the machines work.

“Lahat ng recount nila so far, kung ano ang nabilang ng PCOS at resulta ng halalan, ‘yon pa rin ang eksaktong lumabas. Sa katunayan, ayon sa Comelec, wala pa raw protestang nananalo tungkol sa maling bilang ng PCOS sa lokal na mga laban,” he said.

really?  can we see these comelec reports too?  and when did comelec come up with these statistics on electoral protests — before or after gus lagman was removed?

The Palace decision not to re-appoint Augusto “Gus” Lagman to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is regrettable, particularly for a government that claims to be championing reform. Last week, a Cabinet official informed Lagman that his appointment as commissioner was rejected outright by the Commission on Appointments. He was not even given the benefit of appearing before that body. The Cabinet official explained that the Palace wanted to spare Lagman from grief and possibly a confrontation with members of the appointments commission – or at least one powerful member, supposedly Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Had he been re-appointed, though, Lagman would have welcomed the opportunity to face Enrile or whoever and to explain in a public forum whatever issue might be raised against him. We would have wanted to see that, too. Unfortunately, Lagman will never have that chance.

“supposedly,” enrile himself?  googled it and found this report of march 23, just a week before corona was convicted — peaking nuon ang presiding senator judge.

Brillantes found an ally in Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who challenged critics to identify elected officials presently occupying government posts who benefited from alleged glitches in the automated voting.

“Of course, any technician can find something to criticize. But I’m talking about the result of the last election. If you can prove to us that there are people sitting now, exercising power, who were the product of cheating during the last election, then maybe we are open [to changing the system],” Enrile told complainants at the hearing of the committee on electoral reforms.

“If we say there’s cheating with PCOS, are we also saying that the victory of President Aquino involved cheating? I think that’s impossible. Even in the case of (Vice President Jejomar) Binay, there was no cheating,” Enrile said in Filipino, noting that he had presided over the canvassing of votes of president and vice president in the 2010 elections.

ganoon?  alam ba yan ni mar roxas ?  well, enrile’s son is with binay’s una party, no? which makes it even more interesting that one of the solons now daring smartmatic and comelec to bare PCOS’ errors and repairs is jack enrile.

… a day after the high court upheld the validity of the P1.8-billion contract of the Comelec with Smartmatic-TIM for the purchase of 82,000 PCOS for use in the 2013 elections, two lawmakers from the House of Representatives on Thursday expressed their apprehensions over certain alleged security defects that make the machines vulnerable to tampering.

Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile said the Comelec must categorically address technical concerns aired by one of its former commissioners that the PCOS machines used to automate the May 2010 elections remain vulnerable to tampering.

Enrile said that “even if the high court upholds the Comelec’s decision to use PCOS machines in 2013, election officials are still hard-pressed to shed light on allegations by one of their former colleagues that the machines remain vulnerable to tampering and do not have enough security features.”

He said the poll body must clearly demonstrate to the public that the technical glitches have already been corrected.

He urged the Comelec to make a voluntary demonstration of the new PCOS machines’ features and operation and open the technology to scrutiny by independent IT experts.

Enrile had earlier called on the Comelec to make the PCOS machines available for pre-testing by interested parties even for a limited time, saying this will allow independent groups to identify possible glitches and provide feedback on how to further improve the system.

“The only way to see if the technical glitches in the PCOS machines have been corrected and that security features have been improved is to allow for an actual and thorough examination by independent IT experts on this technology,” he stressed.

“This would assuage public fears that results of the elections could be manipulated if Comelec pushes through with the use of the PCOS machines in the 2013 mid-term elections. The Comelec needs to convince the voting public that results of the elections will be credible and that their voice will be counted come election day,” he said.

“The Supreme Court should also look deeper into Lagman’s allegations and make an independent determination on the veracity of these concerns,” Enrile added.

so father and son don’t agree on PCOS?  o nagda-drama lang sila, nagpapalabas, kumbaga?

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, vice chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said the Supreme Court should have gone beyond the validity of the Comelec’s deal to examine Smartmatic’s capacity to comply with the contract.

“Why should we entrust our votes to a company that failed to comply with its own security measures and contract in the 2010 elections?” Colmenares said.

“Had the votes in the 2010 presidential elections been close, there would have been serious turmoil in the country due to the lack of transparency.’’

jojo robles may be right.  it would seem that the complainants underestimated the powers of presidential wishes in these post-corona times.

It is no secret that Aquino, who was installed by Smartmatic’s PCOS machines, was wholly in favor of allowing the subcontractor to continue its work in next year’s midterm elections. Aquino’s push for the renewal of Smartmatic’s contract was a radical turnaround from his original position, however, that a new election automation provider must be found through a new bidding.

Comelec, under the leadership of Aquino appointee Sixto Brillantes, has never hidden its desire to continue using Smartmatic as its automation provider despite the protests lodged before it and, later on, before the Supreme Court. Last April, the high court led by Chief Justice Renato Corona, who had already been impeached and was then being tried in the Senate, issued restraining orders on Comelec to stop it from continuing to honor its contract with Smartmatic and from purchasing the PCOS machines.

googled the part about the prez previously saying that a new election automation provider must be found through a new bidding.  found nothing.  but found this, circa jan 2011:

The President said he was also in search of a commissioner who is knowledgeable in the field of information technology because of the automation of the country?s elections.

“We have the opportunity to really transform our electoral process through the selection of these people,” he said.

then why did he let lagman go? read this: Just how low can he get.

i wish none of the above were true.  i wish we could be convinced that the PCOS machines are now working perfectly and cheating would be impossible in 2013.  but it’s just too much of a stretch.  better praning than sorry.

*

read too del castillo’s Horror stories about PCOS machines and elinonapigkit’s Post Analysis of Cheating in the Automated Counting and Transmission of Votes of the May 10, 2010 Election.

28 Responses to praning about PCOS

  1. June 16, 2012 at 2:10 am
    baycas

    Angela, I recommend you just watch Robin Williams’ 2006 movie “Man of the Year” and get entertained.

    Sa dami ng links mo, mapapraning ka talaga…

  2. June 16, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Let us assume that the Comelec and Smartmatic get their way, and still we’re crazy enough to want to protect ourselves. What can be done?

    One, ensure that the random manual audit is strictly enforced, even expanded. There is time enough for any necessary corrective legislation on this. This helps to ensure the PCOS machine can’t cheat the precinct count.

    Two, don’t rely only on the PCOS and the Comelec tabulation of the canvass. Every PCOS result can and should also be transmitted using low-tech basic cell phones that can transmit encrypted data only to secure parallel websites (one is the Comelec, the other are those of interested political parties and election watchdogs). This helps to ensure there’s no dagdag bawas in the transmission from the PCOS machine.

    Three, if we can’t do the second thing above, then it’s up to the election watchdogs and every candidate to ensure their poll watchers transmit, in real time, what the PCOS counts, and that they are given ample time, prior to any proclamation, to protest the official Comelec/HRET/SET canvass. No more of the “Noted” nonsense of yesteryears. At the impeachment proceedings, even Sen. Pangilinan seems to have seen the light (good for him).

    These redundancy features are cheap and eminently doable. If they do not emerge, it’s likely because we’re too weak to resist those folks who are in on a fix that we can never prove. And it will be our collective fault for allowing the nightmare to recur.

    • June 16, 2012 at 2:25 am

      yes, yes, and yes!

  3. June 16, 2012 at 2:13 am

    “Left holding the bag” by Winnie Monsod http://opinion.inquirer.net/30747/left-holding-the-bag

  4. June 16, 2012 at 2:27 am

    “Star Wars log – the return of the PCOS” by Orlando Roncesvalles http://foolawecon.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/star-wars-log-the-return-of-the-pcos/

  5. June 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    “No clean polls in 2013” by Ninez Cacho-Olivares http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120616com1.html

    • June 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      To insist that the public must be given the “source code” before the counting is run, is suicidal and st_pd… No Constitutional govt agency can relegate its responsibility in protecting the right of state to secure itself from sabotage. The fact that the automated system had produced a convincing lead to elect Pnoy and Binay from two different oppositionist parties is a proof that no tampering or manipulation in the final counting were done. True, technical glitches can happen as it has occurred even in the US national elections but there are stand-by IT experts to prevent or execute measures which are guaranteed under the terms of contract worth of billions pesos. Being praning about 2013 elections is understandable if no built-in mechanism are in place to prevent the disastrous event.

  6. June 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm
    ricelander

    my beef in 2010 was that there were no manual counts done in random towns / provinces/ regions to prove without a doubt that the machines were counting and relaying real votes.

    There was none? I thought I simply missed it. I was one of those congratulating the government for the speedy results— but it was without prejudice to any anomaly discovered later. Now that you’re saying there was no random manual count at all, I suppose I am changing my mind…

    • June 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      sorry, ricelander, it seems i simply missed it too. check out my exchange with baycas below.

  7. June 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm
    ricelander

    But come to think of it, just one, repeat… just one random manual count that would show a large variance from the results of the automated count would inevitably put the entire exercise in question and the legitimacy of the new government in a very shaky ground.

    Automation indeed is a very efficient, speedy process but makes no distinction between good and evil. It delivers genuine results wholesale, or fraud wholesale, depending on those who are in control of the system.

    • June 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      lalo na’t comelec and the smartmatic guys don’t seem to know the meaning, and import, of transparency.

  8. June 19, 2012 at 5:37 am
    baycas

    Angela,

    there were no manual counts done in random towns / provinces/ regions

    I know your assertion may be true but I am surprised you didn’t supply a link.

    Please explain your beef. TIA.

    • June 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      did you google it? Poll body rejects parallel manual count”
      http://www.sunstar.com.ph/network/poll-body-rejects

      NAMFREL was allowed to try a manual count somewheres but was not accredited by COMELEC,so wala ring nangyari.

      • June 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm
        baycas

        Thanks.

        My search query was:

        random+manual+audit+pcos =

        http://goo.gl/5cVDm

        (I’ll post a longer one when I have time…)

      • June 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm

        complete link “Poll body rejects parallel count” http://specials.sunstar.com.ph/election2010/2010/04/29/poll-body-rejects-parallel-manual-count/

        the reason i didn’t bother with a link was, i was so sure there was none. so i found this from your link: “On the Random Manual Audit…” http://www.cenpeg.org/The%20CenPEG%20Report/18%20RMA%20-%20an%20analysis.pdf

        sorry, my mistake. like ricelander, i missed it, but maybe because no one made a big deal of it, as i would have if results were fantastic. but why wasn’t it big news? why weren’t they bragging about it if discrepancies were truly negligible?

        • June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm
          baycas

          No, your assertion may still be true…as I said (at 5:37 am).

          I posted a long one below (at 10:25 pm). It’s awaiting moderation.

        • June 20, 2012 at 12:16 am

          http://rp1.abs-cbnnews.com/video/nation/07/29/10/comelec-releases-random-manual-audit-report-may-10-polls

          says the official report by Comelec and PPCRV was released on July 29, 2010. but somehow, i can’t seem to find anywhere on the web, or on the Comelec site, the full content of this report.

          perhaps I’m missing something. or perhaps this is one of those everyday mysteries like who funds/owns rappler.com?

          • June 20, 2012 at 1:42 am

            ang gulo, ano? and media doesn’t (don’t) help. report lang nang report, walang pagsusuri.

          • June 21, 2012 at 1:46 am
            baycas

            Part of the report reads…

            Root cause analysis of the variances in a majority of the clustered polling precincts manifested the difficulty of conducting parallel manual and machine counts. The manual count will always be subject to the discretion of the auditor in trying to interpret and/or appreciate voter’s intent. The machine will only count in the way it is programmed to.

            If the Random Manual Audit is to make sure of the accuracy of election results and preserve electoral integrity, then it must be clearly pointed out from the beginning that the margin of variance is a computation of the difference between the manual count and the machine count. Hence, it is a test between man and machine. While the tolerance level set for the accuracy of the machines is a test that involves only the machines. The margin of variance indicated by the NSO as equivalent to 1% based on the accuracy rate of 99% (the allowable rate used in statistical analysis) cannot thus be used as the basis of comparison to the 99.995% accuracy rate of the PCOS machine set by the Request for Proposals (RFP) as a requirement for the Bidding Process of the AES technology.

            As indicated in the NSO cumulative variances for the five positions subjected to the Random Manual Audit, none failed the accuracy rate of 99%.

            Got this from here:

            http://goo.gl/zn35b

  9. June 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    manuelbuencamino

    Sayang, Lagman was in Comelec for about a year. He could have used that time to solve the 200+ defects in those PCOS machines.

    • June 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm
      baycas

      Right!

  10. June 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm
    baycas

    Angela,

    I posted comments in mlq3’s blog post http://www.quezon.ph/2010/05/24/the-long-view-congressional-tightrope/

    Nos. 15, 20, 28, and 29

    —–

    15. Posted May 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    If I remember right, Amb. de Villa said during the start of the “random” sampling for the RMA that in Batanes, precincts in far-flung areas were excluded from the sampling population. It’s obvious that the RMATs will have a difficult task in getting to those areas. I don’t know what they did in other parts of the country.

    How will it become a probability sampling when individual members of the population didn’t have an equal chance of being selected? A representative of the NSO is part of the TWG-RMA. Was a non-probability sampling acceptable to him/her? I think this will affect the percentage of error.

    Besides, is a Non-random Manual Audit violative of R.A. 9369?

    —–

    20. On surprise audit and random audit as discussed by Mahar Mangahas in one of his PDI articles…

    http://goo.gl/YZNGv

    —–

    Part of 28. Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Does exclusion of “far-flung precincts” as representative samples of the population conform to the above definition (of “random”)? Will the remote areas in Batanes have an equal chance of being selected when they were excluded, as I heard, before the “lottery?”

    Why were the Lubang and Bongao precincts excluded when in fact they were already randomly selected? Is it only due to the inconvenience on the part of the RMATs? It’s like a “reverse exclusion criterion” for a population of precincts.

    Randomization is important for two reasons: First, it provides a sample that is not biased, and second, it meets the requirements for statistical validity. This is “probability sampling” that SWS and Pulse Asia generally employ in their surveys.

    The process that the TWG-RMA used was a “Non-random sampling” or a “Non-probability sampling.” I believe the law on Random Manual Audit (R.A. 9369, Sec. 24), as the title implies, refers only to a manual audit that is to be done with “probability sampling.”

    —–

    RMA 2010, was it GIGO?

  11. June 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    baycas

    Angela,

    I posted comments in mlq3’s blog post quezondotph/2010/05/24/the-long-view-congressional-tightrope/

    Nos. 15, 20, 28, and 29

    —–

    15. Posted May 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    If I remember right, Amb. de Villa said during the start of the “random” sampling for the RMA that in Batanes, precincts in far-flung areas were excluded from the sampling population. It’s obvious that the RMATs will have a difficult task in getting to those areas. I don’t know what they did in other parts of the country.

    How will it become a probability sampling when individual members of the population didn’t have an equal chance of being selected? A representative of the NSO is part of the TWG-RMA. Was a non-probability sampling acceptable to him/her? I think this will affect the percentage of error.

    Besides, is a Non-random Manual Audit violative of R.A. 9369?

    —–

    20. On surprise audit and random audit as discussed by Mahar Mangahas in one of his PDI articles…

    http://goo.gl/YZNGv

    —–

    Part of 28. Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Does exclusion of “far-flung precincts” as representative samples of the population conform to the above definition (of “random”)? Will the remote areas in Batanes have an equal chance of being selected when they were excluded, as I heard, before the “lottery?”

    Why were the Lubang and Bongao precincts excluded when in fact they were already randomly selected? Is it only due to the inconvenience on the part of the RMATs? It’s like a “reverse exclusion criterion” for a population of precincts.

    Randomization is important for two reasons: First, it provides a sample that is not biased, and second, it meets the requirements for statistical validity. This is “probability sampling” that SWS and Pulse Asia generally employ in their surveys.

    The process that the TWG-RMA used was a “Non-random sampling” or a “Non-probability sampling.” I believe the law on Random Manual Audit (R.A. 9369, Sec. 24), as the title implies, refers only to a manual audit that is to be done with “probability sampling.”

    —–

    RMA 2010, was it GIGO?

  12. June 20, 2012 at 12:36 am

    here’s another take on PCOS accuracy.

    http://telibert.blogspot.com/2011/03/recount-redux.html

    • June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      thanks for the link, orlando. interesting. 4 parts pala. nasa 2nd pa lang ako.

  13. June 21, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Here are some more useful links:

    http://makuhari.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/another-comelec-smartmatic-brand-of-automated-election-system-part-1/

    Part 1 discusses the random manual audit.

    http://makuhari.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/another-comelec-smartmatic-brand-of-automated-election-system-part-2/

    http://makuhari.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/another-comelec-smartmatic-brand-of-automated-election-system-part-3/

    Part 3 tells the story of a forensic probe of 60 renegade PCOS machines that were ‘sequestered’ by the Senate. The forensic testing showed that the machines can easily be tampered with.

    http://makuhari.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/another-comelec-smartmatic-brand-of-automated-election-system-part-4/

    http://makuhari.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/various-assessments-of-the-2010-comelec-%e2%80%93-smartmatic-automated-election-system/

    it looks like the blog was by butch africa. http://makuhari.wordpress.com/about/

    my tentative conclusion: it is hard to say that comelec and smartmatic have been transparent. possibly part of this nontransparency can be justified if the goal was to thwart potential outsider cheats. but another part can be seen as a possible cover-up for the many defects of the PCOS system – both hardware and software.

    the nontransparency can also allow insider cheating to take place. it seems nonetheless that a sensible safeguard against insider cheating is for the random manual audit to be conducted by independent entities — i.e. by an audit team whose composition is not controlled by Comelec or Smartmatic, and whose conduct of the audit is open to the public and concerned citizens.

    i would also suggest that the Comelec allow an expanded coverage of the random manual audit, i.e., more expansive than the bare minimum requirements under the automation law.

    • July 1, 2012 at 12:27 am

      Certainly, RMA will validate if there are defects or errors in the PCOS system but it will NOT detect if there are manipulation or controlled canvassing results. Allowing multi-party system candidates restricted the Comelec to corner votes to favor one or two persons among thousands of official candidates. Should there be massive failure or error-data reading by PCOS in highly contested areas, there would be chaos reported by the media. Such nightmares did not occur to my recall. If i am not mistaken, this election has the least claims of cheating in the results of local positions which means automatic reading of votes leads to early proclamation of winning candidates which has reduced manipulation and rigging of votes. These are my observations only.

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