automated garci

… all the hard work of the candidates and their supporters can be negated by what Information Technology people call the Automated Garci — or the automated dagdag-bawas operation. How dagdag-bawas operations can be pulled off with the automated electoral system in place is discussed by several IT experts of the volunteer group AES Watch in the newly published book Was your vote counted.

Rene Azurin says automated cheating can be accomplished wholesale by introducing subtly altered software code into the voting machine or onto its memory card before the opening polls on election day. This can be done by those who have access to the machines or to the memory cards. According to him, cheating can also be done during the data transmission and consolidation stage if the cheater has access to the private (digital) keys of selected officials.

Many of those machines and CF cards are sent by ordinary public transportation to remote polling places, some up in the mountains, others in distant islands, days before election day. Access to them during transport and at the polling places is easy. Electronic transmission facilities in those remote places are inadequate if not absent.

Gus Lagman says the Smartmatic PCOS can be hijacked. Sixty of these machines were found in the house of a Smartmatic technician right after the elections. In 2010 PCOS machines had an open port. Through an open port a techie with a laptop can connect to the unit and tamper with the software and the CF cards in the machine. CF cards can be stolen easily as proven by the discovery of CF cards in a garbage dump in Cagayan de Oro City. Transmission of precinct election results from remote places to the canvassing machine is vulnerable to tampering as shown by Glenn Chong in Biliran in 2010.

Both Azurin and Lagman say that the Smartmatic system is very vulnerable to internal tampering. For the right incentive, a Comelec official can manipulate the system as to guarantee the election of a paying candidate. That is why their colleagues in the IT circle refer to the automated electoral system as Automated Garci.

A “Hello, Brilly. Hello, Brilly, can you…” call is out of the question. Comelec Chair Brillantes is a trustworthy man. He himself said he is trusted by President Aquino and Vice-President Binay. Besides, he is no IT man. In fact, his staunch defense of Smartmatic’s system with all its flaws shows he is an ignoramus when it comes to IT.

But many of Garci’s accomplices in 2004 remain with the Comelec. There could be techies among them. Members of the Bids and Awards Committee of Comelec that approved the purchase of ballot secrecy folders for the fantastic unit price of 380 are still with the Comelec. Yes, men and women of dubious integrity populate that Constitutional body.

…until May 21 then, by which time the results of the senatorial race shall have become final. Then either I say, “I told you so” or I eat my words.

that’s from oscar lagman jr.’s The final surge.   read too jarius bondoc’s Clean,credible election: Does Brillantes care?  federico pascual’s Source code review vital to poll integrity, jose sison’s Cloud of doubt, inquirer editorial More than legality, and dr. florangel rosario braid’s Automated elections: issues and concerns.

and so this makes sense: Poll cheating laid out: LP, UNA accuse each other of plotting

i’ve been wondering why voters and candidates and the church don’t seem the least bit concerned that brillantes has failed us, cheating hasn’t been ruled out.  is all the technical talk over their heads?  or can it be that because it’s all okay with the prez, then it must be all a-okay?  or maybe it’s not really, but it’s too late to call off elections, bahala na si batman?  argh.

the world is watching, of course.  and as usual, we’re good for a laugh or two.


  1. manuel buencamino

    Puro “could” ang mga sinasabi ng mga iyan. At alam natin na yung “could” ay posible kasi walang system na invulnerable. So ang batayan para sabihin na yun “could” ay mangyayari ay track record, nangyari na ba yung “could” nung huling election?

    Ang apprehensions ni Lagman, Azurin and company presumes na nagkaroon ng tampering ng PCOS o ng data transmission nung 2010. Does it conform to the logic of political reality in 2010?

    In 2010, GMA was president. The Comelec was in her pocket. She had every incentive to cheat and every opportunity to do it. But her official candidate came in fourth or fifth and her unofficial candidate came in a poor third. The two top vote getters were the two who she was sure would go after her if they won. Bakit hindi nangyari yun sinasabi ni Lagman at Azurin? Hindi ba weird na yung babaeng walang pakundangang nandaya noong 2004 at nandaya ulit noong 2007 para makapasok si Zubiri sa Senado ay biglang hindi nandaya nung 2010 kahit kailangan na kailangan niya na manalo ang kandidato niya para maprotektahan niya ang kanyang sarili? (Note: Noong 2007 si Mike Defensor at si Ralph Recto nagconcede kaagad and if you recall their concession statements, they said they were conceding para hindi na magkaron ng milagro. Si Zubiri lang ang nagmatigas at siya’y biglang nanalo at prinoclaim kaagad ng Comeles. I think Defensor and Recto could have sneaked in too if they had as much gumption as Zubiri.)

    Bakit hindi nandaya o nakapagdaya si GMA noong 2010 kahit siya yung taong kailangang-kailangan magdaya? Sobra ba ang galing ni Noynoy at ni Erap na nalusutan nila lahat ng kawatan ni GMA sa Comelec at nakapagdaya sila? Sino ang kumalikot ng source code o ng PCOS o ng data transmission nung 2010 – si Noynoy, si Erap, si Villar, si Gibo, si GMA?

    But for the sake of argument, kung meron ngang nangyari, was it so widespread or wholesale as to undermine the credibility of the 2010 election?

    Sa presidential results walang umangal. Si Mar umangal. Pero yung protest ni Mar nakatutok ba sa tampereing of PCOS o ng data transmission?

    Walang nagprotesta sa senatorial.

    Doon sa mga local, baka meron. Pero did the protest concern the PCOS and the transmission of data o sa mga ibang bagay na hindi directly connected to automation?

    Sana man lamang ay magbigay sina Lagman at Azurin ng listahan ng mga election protest na ang batayan ng complaint ay directly related to tampering with the machines, their software, or to transmission of data. Let’s see kung gaano karami and how they compare to election protests in previous elections.

    They are also raising a fuss about the source code. Okay basahin nila ang source code. So? Mapeprevent ba nila ang tampering etc. kung alam nila ang source code?

    Parang they imply that the source code is not being made available for review kasi meron nang tinatagong kalokohan. Kumbaga nakaprogram na ang kalokohan. Okay. Ang Team Pnoy ba o ang UNA o ang mga independents, ang gumalaw ng source code? Meron ba sa kanila na naghumihingi na bumalik na lang tayo sa manual elections? Kasi kung hindi tayo mag p-PCOS kailangan mag manual tayo, diba?

    Si Lagman at si Azurin at mga katulad nilang hindi naman kandidato ang saksakan ng ingay. May pa-powerpoint pa. Hindi na kailangan yun. Ang sinasabi lang naman nila ay pwedeng makalikot ang software at ang hardware. Alam naman natin lahat na pwede nga yun kasi walang software o hardware sa balat ng lupa na hindi pwedeng makalikot. Di nga ba may kasasabihan na if someone can make it there is always someone who can unmake it?

    They are not accomplishing anything positive with their alarmist talk. They are simply undermining the credibility of the coming elections even before it happens. They won’t give it a chance. Why can’t they wait for the results? Kung kamangha-mangha ang results siguradong magkakaroon ng protesta. At kung ang protesta ay nakatuon sa source code, o sa tampering o anuman, siguradong lalabas iyan. Hindi siguradong meron mapaparusahan pero siguradong lalabas yan at malalaman natin kung sino ang gumawa just like 2004 and 2007 – nagkadayaan, walang naparusahan, pero alam natin kung sino ang nandaya at paano ginawa ang pandaraya.

    There is no foolproof way to prevent cheating if cheaters are determined. Automated elections do is speed up counting. AEs “could” also speed up the cheating. So babalik tayo sa manual elections para slow count and slow cheating?

    We all want credible elections. The only way to tell whether an election is credible is by the number of elections protests. Kung wala o konti lang ang protest that means accepted ng karamihan ang results. Credible election yun. But you cannot judge the credibility of an election by the number of “coulds” and not back it up with election protests. Kung walang masyadong protest, lalo na sa national level, then credible ang election. What we want is credibility not “couldability”.

    Sori sobrang haba ng comment.

  2. oscar lagman: “I told you so” … As I wrote in my last column, all the hard work of the candidates and their supporters can be negated by Automated Garci, or the automated dagdag-bawas operation. Cheating can be accomplished by inserting a modified software code into the voting machine or onto its memory card. It can also be done during the data transmission and consolidation stage. The machines and the memory cards can be stolen.

    By 11:00 p.m. of Tuesday, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting had tabulated 69% of the returns. Then transmission of election returns slowed down excruciatingly that by the 6:30 p.m. newscasts of Wednesday, the total count had increased by less than 1%. The reason given by several provincial boards of canvassers was that the PCOS machines could not transmit the results electronically because the machines were malfunctioning or transmission facilities in the area were inadequate. But didn’t the cocky Sixto Brillantes say the day before Election Day that the Commission on Elections was 99.99% ready? If so, 99.99% of the votes should have been tallied by Wednesday. Was the slowdown in the tallying of the returns caused by hocus-PCOS?

    I also found the consistency of the rankings of the senatorial candidates in Comelec’s unofficial tally statistically improbable. Except for two places — the 10th and the 26th — the other 31 places did not change from 11:07 p.m. May 13 to 5:00 p.m. May 14, by which time more than 2,700,000 votes had been added to the tally. I tend to think there would have been movement in the rankings as the returns from the bailiwicks of the candidates came in. In the initial tally Ejercito was No. 10 and Villar No. 11. In the tally of the following day, the two changed places. Both are from Metro Manila Alcantara and Belgica were the other two who exchanged places.

    I expected Magsaysay to be among the Magic 12 in the beginning of the tabulations because the earliest returns would have come from Metro Manila precincts due to their proximity to the tabulation center and the adequacy of transmission facilities in the area. Metro Manila voters, being better informed, would have voted for Magsaysay, who had an exemplary record in the Senate. His ranking was expected to slide when the returns from the rural areas came in. But he was No. 15 in both tallies. Twenty-eight other candidates didn’t move in the rankings.

    Was the ranking pre-programmed? –