Thursday, July 15, 2010

Roxas Files Electoral Protest VS. Binay

Former Senator Mar Roxas last week filed an electoral protest contesting the election for the vice-presidency in the recent May 10 national and local elections. He asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to nullify and set aside the proclamation of former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay as the duly elected vice-president of the country.

In a 102-page protest, the Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate likewise urged the PET to conduct a manual revision of votes and order a complete and accurate count of an estimated 3 million votes that were not canvassed and considered stray or null votes by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

He also asked the Tribunal to order the conduct of a comprehensive, system-wide forensic analysis and comparison of the country’s first Automated Election System (AES), stressing this would "ensure that the true will of the electorate is upheld. Moving forward in the succeeding electoral exercises of this nation underscores the imperative to unmask and purge the infirmities that plague this fundamental democratic process."
Roxas argued that the certificates of canvass (COCs) that formed the basis of Binay’s proclamation were not duly and properly authenticated as these failed to meet all legal requirements for the determination of authenticity and due execution of the COCs for vice-president, in violation of the Constitution.

According to Roxas, the Election Results (ERs) that were used as basis for Binay’s proclamation did not reflect the actual votes for the vice-presidential race due to the following:

1. The high incidence of null votes in the COCs, totaling to 2,612,207;

2. The lowering of the canvassing threshold in at least 145 clustered precincts nationwide (92,740 votes);

3. The erroneous uploading of Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) results from the clustered precincts to affected city/municipal/provincial consolidation and canvassing systems, Comelec central and back-up servers and the KBP server (169,849 votes); and

4. There were fraud, anomalies, irregularities and statistical improbabilities in certain clustered precincts, particularly in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

"As it stands, the anomalously high incidence of null/misread votes is not only relevant but also crucial for the vice-presidential contest, especially in light of the narrow margin between the protestant and protestee," Roxas insisted, pointing out that Binay was proclaimed the winner of the vice-presidential race, with a slim final margin of 727,084 votes.

"It is indispensable to complete the omitted data and/or correct the manifest defects by re-computing, re-canvassing and/or re-tabulating the official ballots in accordance with law to ensure that the true will of the electorate is upheld in the vice-presidential contest," Roxas pointed out.

"Considering that null/misread votes may refer either to abstentions, under-shades, over-votes or a misreading of votes for the vice-presidential contest, it is imperative to determine whether the PCOS machine properly registered, read, appreciated and counted the votes as contained in the official ballot," he also said.

Roxas also noted there were fraud, anomalies, irregularities and statistical improbabilities in certain clustered precincts, particularly in the ARMM, which he said were too glaring and anomalous to ignore but which the Comelec and the NBOC failed to see and act on.

He cited that in the ARMM, 578 PCOS machines reported an average voter turnout of 97.85 percent; in Kalinga, 33 PCOS machines reported a province-wide voter turnout of 98.47 percent; and in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 44 PCOS machines had an average region-wide voter turn out of 98.54 percent.

Roxas also noted that there were 1,147 clustered precincts where he received 10 votes or less, 688 (or 60%) of which are from the ARMM. In these 688 ARMM clustered precincts, 328 were from Lanao del Sur, 251 from Maguindanao. There were likewise 305 clustered precincts where he received less than 1 percent votes of the total precinct turnout, and 204 clustered precincts where he received 1 or 0 vote.
"The fact that all registered voters turned out to vote and even voted for the same candidate is a statistical improbability that points towards the conduct of fraud, anomalies and irregularities in the conduct of elections in certain clustered precincts, particularly in the ARMM," Roxas said.

Also, Roxas stressed before the PET that Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM failed to comply with the legally-mandated minimum system capabilities for the AES and worse, even disabled or entirely removed crucial safeguards in the various components of the system, "thus causing the fraud, anomalies, irregularities, statistical improbabilities and system-wide electoral fraud in the vice-presidential contest."

He pointed out that: The AES source code was not subjected to independent review; the printing of the official ballots, together with the use of a defective source code, resulted in features being introduced into the official ballot that caused votes intended for him not to be properly and correctly registered, read, appreciated and counted in his favor; the compact flash (CF) cards were configured not to read votes in his favor; the PCOS machines were not properly configured and that correct transmission protocols were not observed in the transmission of election data and/or results; and the Random Manual Audit – a requirement in the AES law – was improperly and irregularly conducted, was not done in a transparent manner.

"The utter disregard by the Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM of the legally-mandated minimum system capabilities, safeguards, and other security measures opened the floodgates to system-wide electoral fraud. The automated elections were, therefore, flawed and the results, thereof in relation to the vice-presidency highly questionable," Roxas said.

He stressed: "The only way to definitively determine whether the AES properly accounted for all votes cast for the vice-presidential contest is for the Honorable Tribunal to direct the review of the entire election automation system by means of a comprehensive, system-wide forensic analysis. This is a matter of utmost national importance."

He reiterated: "I owe it to our people to ensure that the electoral process will truly be an instrument of their will." /MP

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