Re-assessing the 2022 National Elections, an astounding revelation has come to light: 20 million votes, a massive number by any standard, did not find their origins in the familiar territory of voting machines connected through standard telecommunications.
Instead, a clandestine and illegal mechanism residing within the inner workings of COMELEC (Commission on Elections) was alleged to be responsible for the creation of these votes.
This is believed to be so because until now, the COMELEC has not been able to come up with an acceptable and reasonable explanation as to the magical transmission of the 20 million votes that incredibly counted during the first hour of vote counting.
We thank the TNTrio for their unwavering pursuit in questioning the alleged digital manipulation of the electoral process.
This shocking revelation casts a shadow over the very essence of democracy, where the will of the people is supposed to reign supreme. The process of casting ballots by the public, a fundamental tenet of democratic governance, was rendered practically irrelevant in this scenario.
This is because the outcome of the election had already been scripted, thanks to covert and unsanctioned alterations made to the voting machine code and the surreptitious configuration of SD cards, all executed without a single witness present.
This underhanded manipulation of the electoral process strikes at the heart of democratic principles, where transparency and fairness are of paramount importance.
Equally astonishing is the lightning-fast speed with which election results were announced. Ordinarily, in a legitimate electoral process, data transmission would follow the well-established path of the Internet, ensuring transparency and accountability.
The alleged manipulation could have happened because instead of traversing the public domain, the transmission could have occurred within COMELEC’s internal network, a Local Area Network (LAN), which is directly linked to their Transparency Server.
If this is true, this covert transmission method raises serious questions about the integrity of the electoral process.
In essence, the revelation that these 20 million votes were not the product of genuine voter participation but rather the result of a concealed manipulation mechanism within COMELEC’s infrastructure is a dire indictment of the democratic process.
It undermines the very foundation of a government for the people, by the people, and of the people, as it renders the voice of the electorate impotent in shaping the outcome of the election in choosing the rightful and legitimate winning candidates.
Call for accountability and transparency in Philippine elections
This revelation underscores the need for a thorough investigation into these grievous breaches of electoral integrity. It is imperative that those responsible for this subversion of democracy be held accountable for their actions, and that steps are taken to fortify the electoral system against such egregious violations in the future.
The sanctity of the democratic process must be preserved at all costs, ensuring that the voice of the people remains the ultimate arbiter of power in a just and democratic society.
The manipulation of 20 million votes, the disregard for the public’s voice, and the covert transmission of results through COMELEC’s internal network collectively paint a disturbing picture of electoral misconduct.
It is a wake-up call to safeguard the very essence of democracy and to fortify the electoral process against any attempts to subvert its integrity. Only through transparency, accountability, and unwavering commitment to democratic principles can we hope to restore faith in the electoral process and ensure that the will of the people prevails.
In the investigative research of Rene V. Azurin, in his book Power and Privilege: Essays on Politics, Economics, and Government, he underlines the impression that the congratulatory statements of COMELEC and PPCRV were meant to perpetuate the long-standing and unrelenting partnership with Smartmatic.
It should be noted that due to stringent bidding rules, all other suppliers were disqualified, but NOT Smartmatic, despite its equally notable failure to abide by the bid conditions.
Even as early as 2010, the Commission on Audit (COA) had reported anomalous contracts with Smartmatic International Corporation, as disclosed by Vicente Chua Reyes, Jr, in his book, Network of (Dis)trust: The Impact of Automation, Corruption and Media on Philippine Elections. This is an issue of transparency that should be looking into: “Why is Smartmatic such a favored supplier?”
The role of citizens’ arm and their complicity in election fraud
The dynamics surrounding the Philippine Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) in the context of the recent elections have raised serious questions. Both organizations found themselves counting what can only be described as corrupted and fraudulent data provided by COMELEC, essentially accepting it as accurate without conducting any form of digital forensics. This acquiescence raises concerns about their roles, which seem to have shifted from vigilant watchdogs to unwitting accomplices and even spokespersons for the electoral body.
In Philstar’s article, PPCRV Chairperson Myla Villanueva was very clear about the role of PPCRV: “What we do at PPCRV is to check against transmission fraud when the election returns or ERs go into cyberspace… To protect against a term you know as ‘dagdag-bawas.’ We compare pre-transmission ERs to post-transmission ERs,” she explained.
In this perplexing situation, it’s crucial to scrutinize why NAMFREL and PPCRV have refrained from raising inquiries about a glaring anomaly: the fact that 20,300 voting counting machines (VCMs) reportedly share the same IP address, which, according to the Reception Logs publicly disclosed by COMELEC itself, is received by a single server. From an IT expert perspective, this scenario defies logic and raises red flags. Common knowledge dictates that a single server cannot simultaneously receive data from multiple devices sharing the same IP address.
Instead of pursuing the allegation of fraud, PPCRV was noncommittal and uncooperative, as can be gleaned from the verbatim account of Franklin Ysaac: “We approached PPCRV last year and we requested for copies of the ERs as they were one of the beneficiaries based on the Comelec rules who are entitled to get copies. They didn’t give us access to ERs which would have given us info that 20 M ERs were transmitted during the first hour. Instead, they told us to go back to Comelec. Then, a bishop called us and invited us to a meeting with PPCRV to settle the issues. We met with them twice but no dice. They showed us the same data coming from Comelec and not the ERs we requested.”
These puzzling circumstances call into question the independence, competence, and integrity of organizations like PPCRV, which are traditionally entrusted with the crucial task of ensuring electoral transparency and fairness.
Instead of functioning as robust check-and-balance mechanisms, they appear to have become unwittingly embroiled in a questionable electoral process, one where the lines between impartial watchdogs and proponents of COMELEC’s narrative have blurred.
In light of these developments, a pressing need arises to revisit the roles and responsibilities of election monitoring organizations. Transparency and accountability in the electoral process are paramount to upholding the principles of democracy.
Ensuring that organizations like PPCRV and NAMFREL can operate independently, with the capacity to scrutinize and question anomalies in the electoral process, is vital to safeguarding the integrity of future elections in the Philippines.
The unquestioning compliance of PPCRV and NAMFREL in accepting potentially manipulated data and the failure to question the perplexing situation of multiple VCMs sharing a single IP address highlight the need for a thorough examination of the roles these organizations play in the electoral process.
Preserving their independence and enhancing their capacity for vigilant oversight is essential to ensure the continued integrity of Philippine elections and uphold the democratic principles they are founded upon.
Bilang pangwakas, kasama ng TnTrio at iba pang mga nagtatayang magamahal sa ating bayan, ganun din sa hanay ng Simbahang nagsisikap makilakbay (synodality) sa ating lipunan at mga nasa laylayan, tayo ay nanawagan na manaig ang katotohanan sa ating bayan, maigalang ang diwa ng demokrasya, at magapi ang kadilimang patuloy na lumalaganap. Nawa’y patuloy nating maitaguyod ang liwanag at lakas ng nagkaka-isang sambayanan tungo sa katarungan, paghahatid ng pag-asa, at pagsasabalikat ng maka-propetang paninindigan bilang pagtugon sa tawag ng misyon sa Sinodong Simbahan.
Fr. Edwin “Edu” Gariguez was the former executive secretary of Caritas Philippines. In 2012, he was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for leading a grassroots movement against an illegal nickel mine to protect Mindoro Island’s biodiversity and its indigenous people. He is currently the social action director of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan. He is as a volunteer/supporter of PPCRV and NAMFREL for several decades now.