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No speed contest EDITORIAL 05/30/2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No speed contest

Click to enlarge
The joint congressional body validating the results of the votes for the new president and vice president is moving in the right direction: That of flushing out all possibilities of fraud and inaccuracies from the country’s first venture into automated elections.

From the start, the leaders of both chambers of Congress showed a resolve to not sacrifice accuracy for speed and thus far, the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC) that has been constituted from members of the Senate and the House, appears to be holding up in their commitment.

The real trial, however, would come when glaring differences occur in the Certificates of Canvass (CoC) which are the main documents that the NBoC uses as basis for the count and the supplemental documents such as the electronic and manual elections returns that supposedly would all have to show identical figures.

Also the holding of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms of a related inquiry into the allegations of electronic fraud provides a clearer picture of what the NBoC is up against and will likely contribute to facilitating the canvass.

The pressure bearing on the congressional body is to come up with a proclamation of the new leaders prior to June 30 when the term of Gloria finally constitutionally lapses. But a greater undertaking for the body is to make a pronouncement that is indisputable to most Filipinos.

If for instance the count for Noynoy Aquino, based on the unofficial Comelec tally, fails to hold in the NBoC canvass, his administration faces the same endless strife that had beguiled the Arroyo administration for the past nine years..... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com1.html

Disappointment comes early FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/30/2010

Disappointment comes early

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
This early, even before proclamation day, it looks like a lot of Noynoy Aquino voters and supporters are rueing having campaigned for him and perhaps even voted for him.

Some of them of course expect too much from a Noynoy victory, as gleaned from the number of disgruntled folks who went to his home on Times Street, expecting to be given jobs — even that of being his driver or some other menial job.

The common gripe: Noynoy asked us to help him win the presidency. Now that he has won, we now seek his help --- evidently to get them out of their miserable existence.

What was striking was the mood they were in, when Noynoy, to them, no longer made himself accessible to the “people.”

This change is naturally expected. On the campaign trail, the candidate, to win the vote, goes all over the archipelago, smiles, waved, throws whatever to those lining the streets. He always makes certain he is visible before the people. Once he is presumed to have won the polls, the candidate no longer mingles with the crowd, mainly for security reasons but also because he was never comfortable being with the masses.

In other cases, such as in the case of the Noynoy volunteers, there appears to be a lot of disappoinment, if not disenchantment, being aired among these volunteers, who apparently very naively believed that with Noynoy in Malacañang, change would be coming, but now with reality setting in, they know that no change will be forthcoming, with the same bunch of Gloria’s former officials and politicians, whom Noynoy scorned during his campaign, now surrounding him.

Bottom line is that Noynoy and his propagandists succeeded in generating too much hope among the voters and volunteers with his campaign line of change, something he and his administration will hardly be able to deliver, because change cannot really come about, even as that nonsensical musical plug of ABS-CBN about change beginning with the each of the Filipino (Ako ang Simula) plays itself out.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com2.html

No-el and No-proc? ENQUIRY Demaree J. B. Raval 05/30/2010

No-el and No-proc?

Demaree J. B. Raval
Elections were actually held on May 10, 2010, but a grave and inexcusable error on the part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may put to waste that exercise — as if no elections were held at all and, therefore, we may have to go back to the polling precincts and vote all over again.

A voter verification feature in the counting machine would have shown the voter if his choices were correctly registered, but the Comelec disabled this feature. That feature, required under the law, was designed to warn voters of errors made by the machines on election day. Simply put, the voter should have been given proof that his vote was properly counted, that is, the machine read his ballot exactly the way the voter made his choices when he marked the “bilog na hugis itlog.” But the Comelec, instead of implementing this mandatory requirement, disregarded it; rather, “repealed it, usurping the power of Congress,” as my friend Leina de Legazpi correctly pointed out.

If we are to follow the precedent set in Germany last March 3, 2009 regarding electronic voting, then we could see the 51 million voters trooping back to the polls after the nullification of the results of the May 10 elections. Let’s ask former Sen. Kit Tatad why this could be the result of the Comelec’s grave and inexcusable error.

At the Kapihan sa Sulo yesterday, Tatad came out with his paper entitled “A Proposal to Nullify the May 10 Elections.” Tatad noted that “in 2009 in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled electronic voting was unconstitutional. The court held that the voting machine does not make it possible for the voter or the voting board to reliably examine, when the vote is cast, whether it has been recorded in an unadulterated manner, or whether when transmitted it has been accurately transmitted in its unadulterated form.... MORE  
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com3.html

Sourgraping in Subic BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 05/30/2010

Sourgraping in Subic

Louie Logarta

As we had predicted, Bongbong Marcos, youngest child of former President Marcos and wife Imelda who handily clinched a seat in the Philippine Senate in the recently-concluded May 10 elections, has started laying the groundwork for his run for the vice presidency (if not the presidency) in 2016 with the reported revival of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).

The KBL, for those who don’t know, was the political party formed by Bongbong’s late father after he declared martial law in 1972 and abolished the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party that have been alternately ruling the country since independence was granted in 1946.

The party, which was totally dominant in the Batasang Pambansa from 1978-1986, lost its sheen overnight when Cory Aquino assumed the presidency in February 1986 as a result of Edsa 1, and its members started defecting to other political groups that had sprouted to take advantage of the anti-Marcos fervor as was the fashion of the day. It has remained largely dormant since then, except for a few excursions by Marcos loyalists identified with them, and it is only now that it has regained some of its popularity.

Bongbong’s new-found confidence stems from the fact that he had garnered 7th place in the senatorial derby in the Nacionalista ticket, coupled with the stunning victories of his mother as congressman of Ilocos Norte’s second legislative district and sister Imee as governor also of that province. Marcos is himself an incumbent Ilocos Norte congressman, and prior to that a three-term governor of the province.

Now that the elections are over and he has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with in the local political scene, Marcos is said to have this early set his sights on some “higher elective post” in government, and plans to utilize the moribund KBL party as a platform to achieve this objective.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com4.html

Autism VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 05/30/2010


Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Time and again, the nomenclature “autistic” has been heard here and there, and in all probability, will still be mentioned in the times yet to come.

This is definitely not in any way intended to malign anyone in particular, much less to put into question someone’s mental personality, constitution and pursuant personal competence to pursue or assume this or that undertaking. 

In other words, courtesy of the American Psychiatric Association in its DSM-IV, 4th ed., it would be not only proper but practical to know what really is autism and/or who truly is “autistic” — considering that it is only truth that can set people free from effects of malevolent accusations, insinuations and the like about this or that individual.

Both in layman’s language and in general terms, autistic personality disorder means a qualified difficulty in social interactions, an identified impairment in communication, or a particular restricted repetitive behavioral functions or limited interests and consequent activities. 

The key feature of all the said social and personal limiting and limited traits is their ingrained predictability to the extent that change in one’s action and reaction patterns is improbable — the older one gets, the more confirmed becomes his or her autism.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com5.html

Prague secret police lookout gives glimpse back in time FEATURE 05/30/2010

Prague secret police lookout gives glimpse back in time



PRAGUE — High up in a Prague belfry a radio transmitter, faded clippings of the 1967 European Cup and communist propaganda are frozen in time in a tiny spy lookout used by the old regime’s dreaded StB secret police.

With the fall of communism in 1989, the plywood cubicle was sealed up and forgotten — until it reopened last month, this time for the public, offering breathtaking rooftop views and a glimpse back at a sinister time.

The four windows of the sparsely-furnished office look down at some half dozen “imperialist” embassies, as well as medieval landmarks like Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.

“The StB wasn’t called the party’s eyes and ears for nothing,” said Ladislav Bukovszky, head of the Czech Security Services Archive.

“It monitored Czechs and Slovaks as well as foreigners, paying special attention to the employees and visitors to embassies.”

Reached by a hefty climb up 301 stairs, the lookout was built on beams in a bell tower of the old baroque church of St. Nicholas. Ageing bills in now-open secret police archives show StB agents pretended to be fire department officials when they rented the space from the parish.

From the lookout, agents had a perfect view of the British Embassy and of parts of the French, German, Italian, Japanese and US facilities.

“As a rule, the StB tried to monitor everyone who walked into a capitalist embassy,” said Jiri Reichl of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague.

The St. Nicholas lookout was one of about 80 “strongpoints,” as they were called, set up in Prague’s towers, attics or cellars so secret police could snoop on “enemies” of communism.

Like the others it was abandoned early in 1990, months after the regime was toppled. It’s the only one that has been reopened for tourists after a private firm happened upon the site.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com7.html

How to authenticate CoCs if ER is unsigned digitally By Orlando Roncesvalles COMMENT 05/30/2010

How to authenticate CoCs if ER is unsigned digitally

By Orlando Roncesvalles


The central question for Congress as a canvassing body is this: How do we know that the Certificates of Canvass (CoCs) are duly executed, if the electronic Election Returns (ERs) on which they are based are not duly executed?

Here’s a method for ensuring a proper CoC in the public canvass at Congress, under conditions where the precinct-level ERs were not digitally signed.

I presume that the printed ER is nonetheless manually signed by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI). At the very least there is a precinct count optical scan (PCOS)-printed ER distributed to candidates at the end of the election day.

CoCs at the first level, say at the municipal level, are printed out by computer from electronic transmissions (by modem or by reading of CF cards). The proper person signing on the CoC cannot properly attest that the CoC is duly executed if there is a discrepancy between the printed ER and the electronically transmitted (but digitally unsigned) ER. 

How does that signatory know that there is no discrepancy? Ordinarily, he knows or he can safely presume there is no discrepancy because there was a digital signature on the ER indicating reliability of the electronically transmitted ER. Extraordinarily, he could publicly and manually compare the printed ER and the electronic ER. If he did this, then the CoC is authentic on its face. (There may still be problems if the PCOS was “pre-loaded” or “post-loaded” with irregular ballots prior to printing the ER and its electronic transmission, and such problems may not even be discovered by a manual audit, but this is a different story.)

So there. The proper question to ask of the folks who deliver the CoCs for further public canvass, such as at Congress, is this: What is the assurance that the very first step of generating and transmitting an ER is safe and reliable, given that the machine count is not done manually and publicly?... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com6.html

Security for digital signatures breached, says IT expert By Charlie V. Manalo 05/30/2010

Comelec should probe CF cards

Security for digital signatures breached, says IT expert

By Charlie V. Manalo
The automated elections have been seriously compromised with the security feature for the digital signatures of the poll officers on election documents completely breached.

While the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its partner, Smartmatic, claim that the digital signatures used marks in the electronically transmitted election returns (ERs) is a good enough alternative to real signatures by the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI), a former lawmaker and an information technology (IT) expert say there is no way those robotic penmanship can be considered “good enough” signatures of the BEIs and the BoC (Board of Canvassers).

At the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo, a news forum held at Sulo Hotel in Quezon City yesterday, former Assemblyman Homobono Adaza insisted that the law provides that BEI members affix their real signatures on the ERs, IT expert Roberto “Obet” Verzola of the Halalang Marangal, claims there is a strong indication that the security on the digital signatures could have been breached.

“The Comelec had totally disregarded the Election Law!” Adaza warned. “First, it did away with the Voter’s Verification Feature (VVF) which would allow the voter to read for himself his actual vote on the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) screen. Then it did away with the UV Lamp which could authenticate the ballots and then, it replaced the real signatures of the BEI members with a digital one, but one mark which anyone could affix to the ER with just one push of a button.” 

“Anyone for that matter then, could push that button for the digital signature,” Adaza stressed.

When reminded that the button for the digital button has a security measure, a private key (a set of codes) provided by Smartmatic to the BEI chair, Verzola interjected that is the primary reason the digital signature should not be accepted, including the ERs.

“In the transmission of the ERs with a digital signature, you have two sets of keys. One, a private key for the transmitter and another, a public key for the receiver,” said Verzola. 

“The private key should only be known to the transmitter and no one else to ensure that only the designated transmitter, the BEI chairman, in this instance, would only be the one who has the capacity to transmit the ERs. And it would be received at the other end using a public key, the code of which could be divulged to anyone.”

“But if it was Smartmatic that provided the private key to the BEI chairmen, then it only follows that the code to the private key is not only privy to one person. And if there is more than one person who knows the code to the private key, then anyone who has the knowledge of that code could also transmit election results,” Versola emphasized.
“The security then of the digital signatures is breached!”

While Verzola refused to elaborate any further, several candidates have reported that PCOS machines have been transmitting ERs even on the morning on the day following the elections.

Adaza also took the time to lash back at Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for threatening to jail those who would cause the delay in the canvassing and proclamation of the winners in the presidential and vice presidential race.

“Why threaten to jail those who would cause the delay in the canvassing and proclamation of the winners? There is no provision in the Constitution setting a deadline for the proclamation of the winners. That is why there is a rule of succession provided to ensure there is no vacuum of power in case no winners are proclaimed,” said Adaza. “On the contrary, the Constitution provides that Congress should proclaim winners in accordance with the law.

“From the very beginning, this automated law operated in violation of the law. First, the law provided that a firm experienced in poll automation should be contracted. Smartmatic was incorporated in the Philippines in 2008 and its experience in the ARMM election as it claims, is not enough experience to be used as reference for contracting the May 10 polls.”

“Even its Venezuelan partner was criticized for its job in other countries, the US included. They (Smartmatic) bombed out in other country. They bombed out too in the Philippines,” Adaza pointed out.

Adaza said that if there would be anyone who should be jailed, it should be those who would proceed with the canvassing and the proclamation of the winners.

“The proclamation of the winners would be void ab initio, void from the beginning because the whole process violated the law,” said Adaza.

“I’m just wondering why they are all in a hurry to proceed with the canvassing and with the proclamation of the winners when there are still issues to be resolved. And this is the time to resolve them. Otherwise the scenario would be unpredictable,” he stated..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100530hed1.html

Erap, Binay lead in local absentee voting 05/30/2010

Erap, Binay lead in local absentee voting


At the continuation of the canvassing of votes for president and vice president in a joint session of Congress — the Senate and the House of Representatives – that convenes as the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), former President Joseph Estrada and his runningmate Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay ruled the elections in the local absentee voting.

Local absentee voters include government employees, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) who were allowed to vote in areas where they were temporarily assigned to perform election duties even if they were not registered to vote.

Estrada obtained 8,770 votes, while Binay received 12,995 votes.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro Jr., a former Defense Secretary, was second to Estrada with 6,199 votes, while Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino was a poor third, obtaining 2,744 votes among the local absentee voters.

In the vice presidential race, Binay was followed by Sen. Manuel Roxas II with 4,583 votes and Bayani Fernando with 821 votes.

The tally Friday showed the following: Vetallano Acosta – 1; Aquino – 2,744; Delos Reyes - 5; Estrada – 8,770; Gordon – 

225; Madrigal - 5; Perlas – 13; Teodoro – 6,199; Villanueva – 259; Villar – 670.

For Vice President: Binay – 12,995; Chipeco – 3; Fernando – 821; Legarda - 117; Manzano – 175; Roxas – 4,583; Sonza – 22; Yasay - 110.

But for the overseas absentee voting (OAV), Aquino and Roxas continued to lead in the official canvassing of votes for president and vice president..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100530hed2.html

7.3% growth an illusion, not sustainable — Diokno By Aytch S. de la Cruz 05/30/2010

7.3% growth an illusion, not sustainable — Diokno

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
The 7.3 percent growth in the first quarter that Malacañang has trumpeted as a “fitting legacy” on the final days of President Arroyo and attributed to her “effective” policies is a mirage and will not be sustainable, being the result of the low base effect from last year, election spending and the rush to complete Arroyo’s so-called state of the nation address (Sona) projects, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

“Adjusting for low base effects and election spending and the last minute rush to complete large scale projects, the economy probably grew by 3.6 percent rather than 7.3 percent,” Diokno said.

Diokno sees the supposed strong growth as a combination of the significant impact of election spending on some economic activities such as broadcasting media, which went up 31.4 percent during the period from 1.3 percent a year ago, and rental of office spaces that grew 10.9 percent from negative 4.6 percent.

He added the growth in manufacturing is largely base effects and also election induced. 

Growth in petroleum output is explained by the sharp decline in refining last year, he said. This soared to 65.9 percent from a negative 29 percent a year ago. 

Growth in electrical and office equipment can also be explained by higher demand due to the elections, he said.
In contrast, growth that should matter to most Filipinos such as in agricultural output was not realized during the period.

“The 7.3 percent growth in this sense is not sustainable. It is also unevenly distributed,” he said.

The strong growth has a negative impact on the poor, which are mostly in the agricultural and rural sectors. “Palay production shrunk by 11.4 percent, corn output was down 16.8 percent, and sugar production fell by 4.6 percent,” he said.

“What happened to those who rely on agriculture including their families? I expect unemployment, poverty and hunger will increase despite the strong growth. Isn’t that ironic?,” he added.... MORE  

  SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100530hed4.html

CHR chief slams Comelec for maltreating whistleblowers 05/30/2010

CHR chief slams Comelec for maltreating whistleblowers

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) took the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to task yesterday for its treatment of so-called whistleblowers, saying the recent actions of the officials of the poll body on those who recently claimed to have knowledge of election fraud borders on intimidation and harassment.

CHR Chairman Leila de Lima, in a statement, particularly noted the action of Comelec Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer who raised his voice on two whistleblowers on the overpriced ballot secrecy folders calling them liars. Ferrer also reportedly lost his cool and kicked a chair in front of the two witnesses on the anomaly. 

“The reported incident involving a Comelec Commissioner and two whistleblowers, wherein the former allegedly pointed repeatedly his fingers at the latter and kicked a chair, llegedly provoking a fistfight, must not be countenanced,” CHR chairman Leila de Lima said.

“That incident must be duly investigated. There are legal remedies against false, malicious or libelous claims, if at all, which, however, exclude maltreatment of the whistleblowers. There are proper ways to refute the claims, or counter-act the moves, of whistleblowers other than intimidating or harassing them,” she added.

Instead of blowing his top, De Lima said the Ferrer should have given the witnesses an assurance that what they have revealed would be duly investigated.

She said whistleblowers are a rare breed of individuals. “Many other people would simply choose to turn a blind eye to an anomaly, so as not to jeopardize their careers, their ambitions, their personal security and the safety of their loved ones. Whistleblowers, on the other hand, see graft and corruption, illegal activity and human rights abuses, and despite the huge personal cost involved, choose to make public these anomalies for the greater good,” she said.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100530hed5.html

Group nixes gun ban, wants ‘total pro-gun’ law By Charlie V. Manalo 05/30/2010

Group nixes gun ban, wants ‘total pro-gun’ law

By Charlie V. Manalo

While it expressed opposition to the total nationwide gun ban currently being implemented by the government, a group of gun use and ownership advocates is set to ask Congress to pass a law that will relax existing rules on gun ownership and allow Filipinos of legal age to own and bear arms regardless of caliber and quantity.
Perry Punla, president of Gun Enthusiast Confederation of the Philippines, said there is a need for lawmakers to draft a law that would give people “the right, not just the privilege to own a gun.”
“Right now there is a total gun ban (being implemented), but no (move has been taken to push for the enactment of a) total pro-gun (law),” Punla said in a phone interview with the Tribune.
In the proposed total pro-gun gun law, he said gun owners no longer have to apply for a permit to carry firearms because a gun license is enough.
“To those who say that guns kill, that is a wrong notion because what can kill is the one holding a gun. It is not unlike a driver of a vehicle: It is not the car which can kill, but the driver,” Punla said in Filipino, in defending the right of anyone to own a gun..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100530nat1.html

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