June 5, 2013
Poll watchdog Kontra Daya held a protest today in front of the Commission on Elections as it called for the scrapping of Smartmatic’s automated election system. The group based its demand on the various problems encountered during the 2013 elections which have cast doubt on the result of the polls.
Kontra Daya convenor Dr. Gani Tapang also said that all past and future payments made by the Comelec to Smartmatic should be audited and that no further payments should be made to Smartmatic on account of the massive failure of PCOS machines during election day.
Smartmatic has been going around claiming success with the 2013 elections, making the Philippines a showcase of its international operations. The foreign group claims to have sold Comelec 80,916 PCOS machines, 1,684 totalization and consolidation servers and printers, 164,400 Compact Flash Memory Cards for secure storage of election data, 48,000 modems and 46,000 SIM cards that were used for direct transmission of election returns, • 5,000 mobile satellite antennas (BGAN) and 680 VSATs for transmission of results in the polling and totalization centers with little or no cellular coverage, 2 Data Centers created to backup nationwide results with redundancy capabilities and 5,853 spare PCOS machines for contingencies, along with other services. The Comelec bought the PCOS machines from Smartmatic at P1.8 billion.
“The recently concluded polls were filled with so many problems which include the failure of some 18,000 machines to transmit results on election day, problematic CF cards, malfunctioning PCOS machines along with an error with the transparency server that bloated initial results from 1,400 precincts. We would want to know from Comelec how much it has so far paid Smartmatic and how much is Smartmatic billing us for the services it supposedly rendered during the elections,” Tapang said.
“From what we saw last May, we don’t think it is right for taxpayer’s money to be paid Smartmatic given its dismal performance. Smartmatic should even be fined by Comelec and asked to return previous payments,” he added.
The group wanted to know happened to the 5,000 mobile satellite antennas and VSAT’s which were supposedly deployed to areas with weak or no cellular coverage. “If these really worked, why is it that some 30% of the PCOS machines still failed to transmit results on election day?” Tapang said.
Kontra Daya said that Smartmatic’s recent statement giving itself a pat on the back is an indication that it will still be around for the 2016 presidential elections.
“Our people as well as our elected officials should be genuinely concerned that Smartmatic wants to reprise its role for the 2016 elections. Smartmatic is here to stay unless we take action and make it and Comelec accountable for the questionable conduct of the 2013 elections,” he said.
“The only just position now is the junking of Smartmatic-Comelec’s PCOS system in favor of a more transparent, reliable and trustworthy system that is not controlled by foreigners. Those responsible for underming the polls should ultimately be made accountable,” Tapang concluded. ###