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SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.

Technical Glitches and Violence Mar 2013 Elections

pcos faulty

Commission on Elections technicians check a PCOS machine following a malfunction at the San Antonio High School in Makati City yesterday. PCOS machines have been widely condemned for not being transparent  prone to hacking and rigging, and of malfunctioning too much (photo by Jonjon Vicencio/PhilStar).

Kabataan Partylist comes out with this analysis after various reports of technical glitches, political violence, inflated vote tallies and a suspended and blacked-out vote-count, during this year’s elections:

Less than an hour before the midterm polls end, youth groups grew more and more concerned about the outcome of the midterm elections, fearing “massive electoral fraud” and disenfranchisement of millions of Filipino voters due to widespread malfunctioning of PCOS machines and several other factors.

Election Day plunged into utter chaos in various parts of the country, as the combination of technical glitches, election-related violence, and political infighting hampered the organized facilitation of the automated elections.

“We have foreseen this scenario for months and have continually called on the Commission on Elections to make extra efforts to ensure the smooth facilitation of the elections. Yet our calls fell on deaf ears. Comelec proudly announced yesterday that it was 99.99 percent prepared for the elections, but the outcome tells a different story,” said Atty. Terry Ridon, Kabataan Partylist President.

Since this morning, election watchdogs including the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and Kontradaya have been compiling reports on technical glitches involving PCOS machines from almost all provinces in the country.

PPCRV earlier reported that around 95 percent of PCOS machines in Laurel, Batangas have malfunctioned. The ballots for Compostella Valley and Baguio, meanwhile, were switched. Comelec has even declared failure of elections in four precincts in Baguio City due to PCOS troubles.

Apart from malfunctioning machines, pre-signed voters’ lists, pre-shaded ballots, and other suspicious activities in precincts have also been reported by election watchdogs.

“The puzzle pieces are falling into place. Comelec’s inaction on automated election issues, Noynoy Aquino’s proud announcement of a 12-0 Senate win in favor of the administration ticket, up to the orchestrated trumped-up charges against political rivals – everything is beginning to look like a grand show that would enable Aquino and his cohorts to consolidate and strengthen their hold in the country’s political arena,” Ridon explained.

In critical areas such as Maguindanao, for example, failure of elections have already been declared in some barangays due to election-related violence involving the clash of rival families that led to one death and four casualties.

The administration has also used the military and paramilitary forces to spread havoc in far-flung provinces, including towns in Northern and Central Luzon. In Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, for example, four truckloads of armed soldiers were deployed in polling precincts and were reported to be using brute force on voters.

“Comelec wants us to believe that the midterm elections passed breezily without any glitch whatsoever. However, that is far from the truth. Election-related violence, vote buying, and other schemes are still being employed to ensure victories for traditional politicians,” Ridon said.

In the 2010 presidential elections, election watchdogs estimated that around 3 to 5 million voters were disenfranchise due to electoral issues. “With the utter failure this election has been, that figure could spike exponentially,” Ridon noted.

The youth leader called on the youth to remain vigilant as the polls draw to a close and the canvassing begins. “We need to exert extra effort to detect fraud. We also need to look at the bigger picture – judging from how dirty and chaotic this election has become, the youth should not be fooled its promise of change. We need to ready ourselves for an intensified fight for our democratic rights,” Ridon ended.

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This entry was posted on May 14, 2013 by and tagged , , , .

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