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The (COMELEC) Gods Must Be Crazy (Updated)

December 17, 2009

The (COMELEC) gods must be crazy!!!

I make no apologies for regarding the constitutional elections body in utter derision given how it is mishandling the preparations for next year’s elections which is supposed to install a new government with a fresh mandate backstopped by the results of this nation’s first automated national balloting.

I’m not just referring to how the COMELEC is now hard put to carry out the extended registration of new voters and Smartmatic’s non-too-subtle ‘hostaging ‘ of the delivery of contracted precinct count optical scan machines (PCOS) on the pretext that “current shipping costs from China are too expensive.”

The stunt by the elections technology ‘outsourcer’ could very well be a ploy to seek a contract cost escalation, with the COMELEC’s already tight time table for teacher training and public information on the computer-dependent voting technology being compromised.

While it only has itself to blame, the COMELEC gods have opened another front in their election worries with their capricious if not insanely unfair disqualification of supposed ‘nuisance’ candidates,

Let me just cite three cases in point.

It has been stricken off the list of presidential candidates Internationally respected management and environmental issues advocate Nicanor Perlas because of his supposed lack of a national organization and funds to run for President and cashiered Col. Danny Lim was also disqualified for the same reason.

Then there’s the COMELEC patent bias against the party list accreditation of the gay rights group Ang Ladlad on the laughable premise that the so-called third sex is already adequately represented in the Senate and the House of Representatives, with nary a reaction fom sitting legislators!


This two men are considered ‘nuisances’ by the all-knowing COMELEC in the same breath that it considers a city councillor from a little-known party list qualified to run for President of the Republic???

The COMELEC gods also think nothing of preventing a bemedalled military officer from becoming Senator because he is facing criminal charges but has been adopted as guest candidate of the opposition Liberal Party!!!

Never mind even that the poll body is using all of PhP11.2-B in public money for a rented automated elections system which bypassed legal requirements for pilot testing.

Indeed the (COMELEC) gods must be crazy!!!

1st Update:

The joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections adjourned its hearing today with more questions left unanswered by representatives of both the COMELEC and Smartmatic.

Most troubling: Smartmatic’s failure to complete delivery of the 82,000 PCOS machines.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento bravely assured the lawmakers the contract obligations of Smartmatic will be met.

But both Sarmiento and Smartmatic were unable to say if the precinct levels atellite transmission network was already being laid out per schedule.

Sen. Chiz Escudero said it appears the work timetable for the automated election system timeline was being drawn up haphazardly.

A key sticking point: the transparency of the election returns count and transmission even as Smartmatic assured “each election return would be available on line as these are tallied by the PCOS and transmitted to the municipal, regional, and national canvassing centers.”

Sen. Escdero openly wondered why the project delays have not been foreseen while House oversight committee chai Danilo Suare revealed how two Venezueland unfamiliar with the Philippine political terrain have now been included in the project management.

Suarez warned that the government should now even consider shifting to partial automation given growing doubts about the automated election system’s state of readiness.

Here’s ABS-CBN’ s take on the developing brouhaha over the automated election system:

Fingers were crossed as the hearing adjourned till January 11.

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