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On Protecting Anti-Corruption Whistleblowers And The Danger of Automated Cheating In The 2010 Polls

September 21, 2009


“We need to return accountability and respect for the rule of law in government, with the playing field in business and government dealings fair and transparent.”

j3 with bloggers montage

This sums up the message IT businessman and NBN ZTE scandal whistleblower Jose De Venecia III gave Filipino bloggers the other night at a no-holds-barred session in Quezon City.

With nary a blink, Joey, as friends call him, said he now believes legislative reforms must be pushed to encourage ordinary citizens “to blow the lid off the cancer of corruption that now permeates the corridors of power,” with executive privilege and immunity from suit benefitting the Mafiathat control’s the award of contracts for public wrojects.

“It is for this reason that I’m seriously considering running for Senator to be able to make a positive contribution to the structural reforms in government, and among my priorities will be a law to protect whistleblowers, while also making the Ombudsman unables to cover up o whitewash misdeeds by public officers,” De Venecia said.

The session with bloggers also focused on the projected full automation of next year’s elections.

He restated his warning that “the balloting could end in chaos with automated failure in the counting and canvassing of the more than 30 million ballots expected to be cast equivalent to about 70 percent of the voting population.”

We cannot ignore that danger built into the untested national infrastructure that’s been totally outsourced to a foreign firm which does not have the capability to recruit and qualify the 47,000 computer technicians it needs to run and troubleshoot the automated cvoting and counting machines,” Joey De Venecia said.

We are proposing that the COMELEC seriously consider initialkly carrying out the automated polls in Metro Manila, with the manual system implemented for the rest of the country.

“This way we can properly validate the efficiency and reliability of the system before we go nationwide,” De Venecia said.

This writer will not take bets about the chance that Joey’s ‘ voice in the wilderness’ will be heard by the COMELEC, in the same way that one blogger (Dean Jorge Bocobo) suggested that “a double-track system be used next year: the automated system done side by side with the manual count.”

But too much is at stake and with the elections still 8 months away, well meaning citizens have a proper, and legitimate, place in the nation debate.

Theirs should be seriously factored in.

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