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.”
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)