Category Archives: Local Election News

Automated polls’ ‘birth pains’ provide hard lessons – Daniel Razon

For many, the May 10 automated elections had the same issues as the previous manual polls. It’s just that this time the tales of fraud are told with a cutting-edge twist.

While many Filipinos believed that the May 10 automated elections was groundbreaking in a sense that it had transmitted results in a surprising speed, there remained suspicions on the authenticity of the results.

In fact, despite the assurance given by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM, the company handling the technical side of the May 10 polls, that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in the polls are fraud-free, there were still allegations of poll rigging.

Starting with the videotaped interview of a masked man calling himself as Robin (more known to the media as “koala bear” because of his mask) last May 18 that linked the two leading vice presidential contenders – Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay – in poll manipulation, string of complaints of fraud followed suit.

There was even an alleged “Hello Nico” phone conversation between Comelec commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer and Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno in connection with the May 10 national and local elections that was being heard by the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms last May 26.

For veteran broadcaster and host of morning show “Good Morning Kuya,” Daniel Razon, the hubbub rising from the country’s first automated elections is but a natural reaction to any new endeavor.

In a press interview during the concert “Pro-test Broadcast” last May 17, Razon said that just like in any other beginnings, the polls last May 10 has undergone “birth pains.”

Daniel Razon answers questions from reporters present during the press briefing of Protest Broadcast concert event.

Razon admitted that “whether it is manual or automated … (vote) cheating remains a possibility.”

What further escalated Razon’s worries on the poll system was the slow learning curve of the Comelec and Smartmatic amid the numerous simulations of the PCOS machines in different areas.

“During the many simulations that we have done in the past, there were many lessons that should have been learned but remained unaddressed.” Kuya Daniel lamented. “Sometimes we have to learn our lessons the hard way.”

True to Razon’s comment, the Comelec and the Smartmatic, as of this writing, are busy disproving the accusations of massive cheating using the PCOS machines being heard in Congress, a task that could have been prevented if only they have learned their lessons and corrected beforehand the foreseen glitches.(By Anthony Chua)

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News Roundups (Around the Web)

  • Aquino Son Takes Lead in Philippines — MANILA — Senator Benigno S. Aquino III, whose parents wrested the Philippines from autocratic rule a generation ago, took a commanding lead early Tuesday morning in the race to become the country’s next president, according to incomplete results from Monday’s election.
  • Philippine election gives Aquino a strong platform — (Reuters) – Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino was cruising to victory as counting continued in the Philippines presidential election on Tuesday, leaving him to prove he has the strength to push his reform agenda, fight corruption and cut a large budget deficit.
  • Aquino holds lead in Philippine vote — Manila, Philippines (CNN) — Sen. Benigno Aquino III, the son of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, led contenders for the Philippines presidency Tuesday morning, as authorities tabulated returns from the country’s first automated national elections.

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Ang Dating Daan members harassed, shooed away by election officers

Cansinala, Pampanga – Voters in Cansinala, Pampanga were shooed away by three members of Board of Election Inspectors and a baranggay captain because they don’t speak Kapampangan, a dialect in Pampanga north of the Philippines.

Local Philippine channel, UNTV  were also barred from covering precinct 19.   Reports from UNTV showed that voters, belonging from the Ang Dating Daan group led by Bro. Eli Soriano, were being shooed away because they are not supporting Tetangco, a running Mayor in the said province.

“They said that our faces are not familiar with them that’s why they won’t allow us to vote,” one of the voters barred from voting said.

ADD reportedly have been supporting Tetangco’s rival because of numerous harassment that the group was experiencing under the incumbent administration.

Daniel Razon, host of Pollwatch 2010 on UNTV 37, calls on the media men to be more watchful and report the said harassment to Comelec officials. [Citizen Report by Anne Gonzales]

Kodigo. While waiting for his turn, a voter makes one last review of his bet.

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Long queue amid glitches, hot weather mark first automated Philippine Polls

Apalit, Pampanga – Enthusiastic voters at the Sampaloc Elementary School in Apalit, Pampanga started lining up as early as 3 a.m. only to be dismayed of the long queue and slow processing of votes.

Some voters who came at 6 to 7  a.m. were only able to finish within a range of five  to six hours.

Long queue of voters at first automated polls in the Philippines

While many were seen exhausted but patiently waited for their turn to cast their votes – enduring  all the inconveniences and the very high temperature –  some went home early without waiting for their turn to cast vote.

At Precinct No. 49 alone, 646 voters were listed registered while in Precinct No. 50, there are 878t.  With these numbers, the average number of registered voters for these Precincts, were 770, more or less.

The COMELEC estimated time for each voter to be able to completely finish one (1) vote is eight (8) minutes.

Long queue of voters amid very hot weather mark the Philippines' foray into automated polls.

However, based on an actual observation from 7:30 AM to 1:47PM, only 336 voters out of 646 in the list were able to cast their votes.  Each voter consumed an average of 10 minutes at its fastest to complete the whole process of voting.

With these figures, out of the average of 770 registered voters in each precinct 43.63% only have cast their votes as of 1:47PM or within 6 hours and 47 minutes.

The voting period was said to have been extended until 7:00 PM but with barely five hours left for the almost 56% of voters who have not cast their votes:  How much more in those areas where peaceful election is unlikely?

Another valid observation culled from the new automated election system is the trust and confidence that votes are actually counted.  PCOS Machine do not show confirmation that votes cast were indeed registered or correctly read by the said machine. [Citizen Report by Rose Cemanes]

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News Roundups: Around the Web

  • Polls open in Philippine national elections — MANILA : Polls opened in the Philippine national elections on Monday, with an estimated 40 million Filipinos due to elect a new president and more than 17,000 other positions. [Source: Channel News Asia ]
  • First Election Day violence recorded in Kidapawan City — KIDAPAWAN CITY— Local police say a supporter of an incumbent lawmaker died while his companion was wounded in a strafing incident that occurred at 1:05 a.m. Monday, the first reported Election Day violence. [Source: Yahoo News]
  • On Election Day, PNP reiterates loyalty to Constitution — Moments before 50 million Filipinos were to troop to polling centers to cast their votes, the Philippine National Police reiterated its loyalty to the 1987 Constitution and the people.  PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa reiterated the PNP’s vow to keep the country’s first automated elections orderly. [Source: Yahoo News]
  • Report: Brownout threatens 22 precincts in Aklan — A continuing brownout threatened to mar the first hours of Election Day in at least clustered 22 polling precincts in Aklan province in Western Visayas.  Radio dzXL reported early Monday that the Aklan Electric Cooperative (AEC) reported the matter to the Commission on Elections so that generator sets could be readied. [Source Yahoo News]
  • Philippines votes in key nationwide elections — Polls have opened in local and national elections in the Philippines after three months of intense campaigning. Voters will elect a new president and vice-president, as well as more than 17,000 other positions.

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News Roundups: Around the Web

  • Philippines vote extended amid long linesThe Philippines extended voting time by an hour Monday, as crowds flocked to polling stations in the country’s first national elections using electronic voting machines. Polls are scheduled to close at 7 p.m. (7 a.m. Monday ET). [Source: CNN]

  • In Philippines, clans and guns still rule – The irony is often lost on Filipinos. How can the country that gave the world not one, but two, peaceful “people power” uprisings that ousted corrupt regimes have such violent elections.  On Monday more than 50 million Filipinos will have the chance to elect a new president, a new Congress and a roster of local officials. So far the campaign has exacted a deadly toll: Including the Maguindanao massacre that killed 57 people in November, some 100 people have been reported killed in election-related violence, according to news and police reports.[Source: CNN]

  • Election-related violence now at 82The Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed today that there have been 82 incidents of election-related violence since January 10 earlier this year. As of May 9, there are still 207 incidents that remain unconfirmed and potentially election-related, according to PNP Assistant Chief Danilo Constantino at the PNP National Operations Center. [Source: Yahoo! Southeast Asia]

  • Reports of massive vote-buying reach PPCRV-Butuan – Complaints of unabashed vote-buying via text messages and phone calls continued to hound the offices of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), here on Monday. Grace Broncano, PPCRV operations head in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur-Butuan Diocese, urged the tens of thousands of complainants to provide evidence so that authorities could act on their calls and text messages.

  • Comelec convenes as national board of canvassers for senatorial, partylist races The Commission on Elections en banc has convened as the national board of canvassers for the senatorial and partylist contests. The six commissioners and Comelec Chairman Jose Melo convened at 3 pm at the Philippine International Convention Center to set up the server and the canvassing system for the NBOC. [Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer]

  • Vote buying by men in gov’t vehicles reported in Angeles City(UPDATE) Unidentified persons in two government vehicles have been reported as buying votes in Angeles City in Pampanga, information reaching the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting operations center showed. The government vehicles include a gray Toyota Avanza with license plate ZDF-446 and an FB100 van with license plate SJB 511, said PPCRV communications head Anna De Villa-Singson. [Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer ]
  • 2 killed in Bacoor shooting —Two persons believed to be supporters of congressional bet Joseph Abaya of the Liberal Party were killed after armed men fired shots at the van they were riding in Monday afternoon. Bystanders who witnessed the shooting said two other cars were traveling along with the van in Barangay Talaba 3 here when the gunmen struck at around 2:28 p.m. [Source: Inquirer]
  • BEIs reminded on priority to disabled, elderly, pregnant voters —With the polls set to close at 7 p.m. on Monday, Education Secretary Mona Valisno directed all public school teachers to give priority to physically handicapped people, the elderly and pregnant women when they cast their votes in their precincts. At a Palace briefing, Valisno said a special line should be provided for the disabled, the elderly and pregnant women by teachers, who served as board of election inspectors, so that they could vote with ease.[Source: Inquirer]
  • Comelec mulls poll failure in parts of Mindanao — The Commission on Elections is studying the possibility of declaring total failure of elections in several municipalities in Mindanao, citing hostilities and inability of the board of election inspectors (BEIs) to show up on election day, a spokesman for the poll body said. [Source: INQUIRER.net]

  • Foreign monitors note irregularities in Maguindanao polls Irregularities in the conduct of the voting process in polling centers in two towns in Maguindanao have compromised the integrity of the elections, international observers affiliated with an independent poll watchdog said Monday. In a statement, Compact for Peaceful and Democratic Elections (Compact) reported that there were massive vote-buying incidents in the towns of Barera and Buldon, Maguindanao. [Source: INQUIRER.net]

  • Philippine elections hit by malfunctions, violence – Problems with some ballot machines kept Filipino voters waiting for hours on Monday, including the leading presidential candidate, but authorities said that would not disrupt the election of a successor to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Violence in some remote and rural areas, including bomb blasts and shootings, and allegations of vote-buying also marred the ballot for nearly 18,000 local and national posts.[Source: Yahoo! News]

  • Failure of elections recommended for 11 areas – Failure of elections has been recommended to 11 municipalities in the Visayas and Mindanao due to various reasons, among them the non-appearance of election inspectors, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Monday. Included in these towns are Masiu, Lumba-Bayabao, Lumba-Unayan and Tubaran in Lanao del Sur where members of the board of election inspectors (BEI) failed to show up, said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez at a press briefing. Jimenez said they have yet to determine the reason behind the non-appearance of BEI members in these areas.

  • Comelec corrects canvassing rules for HK, Singapore – The Commission on Election (Comelec) has admitted committing an “oversight” in the guidelines it issued for the overseas absentee voting (OAV) program in Hong Kong and Singapore. Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco said the commission erred in the previous resolution it issued, particularly on the distribution of the Certificate of Canvass (COC) of votes.

  • Filipinos vote amid violence, computer glitches – Millions of Filipinos seeking a clean start after a decade of corruption-tainted politics voted in Monday’s elections despite scattered violence and glitches with vote-counting machines being used for the first time. Sen. Benigno Aquino III _ whose father was assassinated while opposing a dictatorship and whose late mother led the “people power” revolt that restored freedoms _ commanded a large lead in the presidential race, according to the last pre-election polls.

  • Philippine National Elections has ended. Live Results from Yahoo! Purple Thumb. – The Philippine National Election has just started and voters flock to their assigned precinct to cast their votes that would choose the next leader of the country. And the Commission on Election (COMELEC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and other non-government organizations are busy managing all the problems and glitches encountered in several voting locations in the country. These problems includes the alleged rampant vote buying using cash reaching over 3,000 pesos & free grocery package in several places in the country, manipulation of voters by incumbent local officials, complains about small “bilog na hugis itlog”, several voters going home due to long lines in the polling precincts and the inability to find their assigned precincts as well as few election related violence.

  • Damp ballots rejected in Agusan provinces — Rejected ballots due to dampness were only one of the problems that marred the conduct of automated elections in two Agusan provinces on Monday, according to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). Grace Broncano, PPCRV’s head of operations in Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte, said heavy rains in the area caused many voters to cast their votes with wet hands.

  • 23% overseas votes cast four hours before polls end – With about four hours left before the May 10 polls officially end, Filipinos abroad who voted in under the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) program remains at 23 percent, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Monday. Only 134,000 of the 589,830 voters registered overseas have cast their votes for the 2010 elections, Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco, who heads the poll body’s OAV committee, said.

  • Poll-related violence mars first RP automated elections – As more than 50 million registered voters trooped to the polling precincts in the Philippines‘ first automated elections Monday, law enforcers reported several incidents of poll violence, most of them in Mindanao. The first election-related incident was reported in Kidapawan City, where a supporter of an incumbent lawmaker died and his companion was wounded in a strafing incident. [See: Kidapawan City reports first election day violence]

  • Comelec chooses precincts for random manual checks – The Commission on Elections began at 11:30 a.m. the drawing of lots for the more than 1,000 precincts to undergo Random Manual Audit (RMA), a mechanism to check if the poll counting machines produced accurate results. The draw, which is ongoing as of posting time, is being led by Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Henrietta de Villa, as well as Comelec Chair Jose Melo and other poll body commissioners.

  • 328 defective poll machines detected so far — Smartmatic – Aside from logistical problems, poll machine supplier Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) on Monday said it has found 328 defective machines during the ongoing conduct of the automated elections. Smartmatic Asia president Cesar Flores said the company has already replaced 239 of the defective Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines. He added that the remaining 89 are in the process of being replaced.

  • Over 400 defective poll machines found, replaced, Smartmatic says – (Updated 8:40 PM) Besides logistical problems, poll machine supplier Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) said it has found over 400 defective machines during the ongoing conduct of the automated elections as of 6:00 p.m. on Monday. The company has already replaced 308 of the defective Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, Smartmatic Asia President Cesar Flores said.

  • Villar expresses relief, confidence in RP’s first automated polls Now that he has cast his vote and is now eagerly awaiting the results of a gruelling presidential race he has invested heavily in, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar said he is relieved to get over the ordeal. “I’m glad that it’s finally over. I slept very well last night. I am very relieved to have finished taking part in the presidential race,” Villar told a slew of local and foreign reporters shortly after casting his vote in his home turf of Las Piñas City this morning.

  • ‘Unexpected’ surge in users causes Comelec website to crash – An unexpected surge in the number of users accessing the website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) caused it to crash, a poll body official said Monday. In an interview with GMANews.TV, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said they did not expect that there would be so much demand for the poll body’s main website, which has an option where voters can search for their precincts.

  • Reports of massive vote-buying reach PPCRV-Butuan -BUTUAN CITY- Complaints of unabashed vote-buying via text messages and phone calls continued to hound the offices of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), here on Monday. Grace Broncano, PPCRV operations head in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur-Butuan Diocese, urged the tens of thousands of complainants to provide evidence so that authorities could act on their calls and text messages.

  • Four dead in Philippine election day violence – Four people were killed in two separate outbursts of violence related to national elections held in the Philippines on Monday, authorities said. Three people were shot dead and 10 others wounded when police clashed with supporters of a mayoral candidate in the southern province of Zamboanga Sibugay before dawn, local military spokesman Captain Arnold Gasalatan said.

  • For some senior citizens in Tarlac, automated polls is easier — For some senior citizens who voted in the same precinct in Tarlac where Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is voting, the automated election system is easier compared to the previous manual system. A number of senior citizens who voted in the polling precinct at the Central de Azucarrera Elementary School in Tarlac City said they prefer the automated system as they only had to locate the names of their candidates — albeit sometimes with some assistance — and shade it.

  • On Election Day, PNP reiterates loyalty pledge to Constitution – Moments before 50 million Filipinos were to troop to polling centers to cast their votes, the Philippine National Police reiterated its loyalty to the 1987 Constitution and the people. PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa reiterated the PNP’s vow to keep the country’s first automated elections orderly.

  • Report: Fake money spreads in Capiz province – Fake money has started to spread in Capiz province in Western Visayas and threatens to mar the first automated elections there. A report on dzXL quoted Roxas City election officer lawyer Jomar Betita as saying that local voters had reported the incident to him. Betita said some voters went to his office bringing with them counterfeit P1,000 bills placed inside envelopes.

  • Kidapawan City posts 1st Election Day violence — Local police say a supporter of an incumbent lawmaker died while his companion was wounded in a strafing incident that occurred at 1:05 a.m. Monday, the first reported Election Dday violence. Superintendent Chino Mamburam, the city police director identified the fatality as Johnny Magbanua, 28, single and resident of Barangay (village) Meohao this city. Leo Laguindanom was injured, he was in safe condition at the Kidapawan City Doctors’ Hospital Inc, Mamburam said. Magbanua’s group was reportedly chasing a white multicab with supporters of Rep. Bernardo Piñol’s rival congressional bet Nancy Catamco when unidentified men staffed them. Nancy’s camp was allegedly spreading black propaganda materials against Piñol.

One-hour extension would be “insufficient”

Party list group Bayan Muna urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the voting hours beyond 7 p.m.

Saying the one-hour extension would be “insufficient,” Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino appealed for the voting hours to be extended to 11 p.m. “This appeal is based on the report of many voters and the media in various provinces all over the country about the delay in the start of the voting, up to 9:00 am in some instances,” according to the letter addressed to Comelec Chairman Jose Melo.[Source:Yahoo! Southeast Asia]

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