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Manila Standard - Recolonization by Smartmatic

News & Interviews
19 October 2018

By Rod Kapunan | Manila Standard

"It was definitely not to bring about change."

It is so pathetic to note that a reverse transition is taking place in what Marx said that history is a march towards the liberation of society. Ours is completely different, for it seems our politicians have not been grooved to follow the stereotypical path of seeking to perfect our freedom through a democratic process of electing our leaders.

Our case is unique because our political leaders opted to adopt the modernity of computerizing our electoral system not to bring about change, but to put us back into the cage of being re-colonized in a make-believe mandate done through systematic electoral fraud. A functional democracy revolves not so much on the kind of government the people would wish to put up, but on the process whether those they elected to govern were truly elected by the same democratic process, and not carried out by some kind of hocus-pocus machines like the ones rented from Smartmatic in 2009 at a staggering cost of P11.3 billion to assist us in exercising our basic right to elect our leaders.

The Comelec cleverly tossed back to the Department of Budget and Management the question of why it only appropriated P8.1 billion. According to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, the amount does not include the cost for the automated election system, which he says would cost us an additional P4.3 billion.

One could sense that the Comelec and the DBM played the game of charade in not appropriating the amount of P12.4 billion to allow Comelec Chairman Christian Robert Lim to reuse the old ones, notwithstanding that it has caused us many problems that to this day has not yet been resolved. Thus, instead of buying new sets of voting counting machines with the usual option to purchase, the Comelec avoided being accused of misappropriation by not spending beyond what has been allocated to it.

To make sure that the government will remain tied to Smartmatic, the Comelec argued that it was able to save because it is much cheaper to reuse the old VCM than buy new ones without clarifying that the old ones will remain a property of Smartmatic and if we want to reuse them again, we would have to pay another staggering cost for its mere use. Jimenez however explained that Smartmatic was required to provide “security marks” on the voter receipts in the 2019 election which is doubtful much that it failed to comply in the 2015 presidential election.

Since it would entail the use of sophisticated computer machines manufactured and owned by foreign corporations, we were forced to hire a private company just to assist the Comelec in managing and operating them, unmindful that it already constitutes a violation of the constitution. It is absurd, for while we strictly require that only Filipino citizens could vote, those that conduct and operate those machines are aliens.

This column is particularly interested in how Smartmatic managed to sneak in to determine the fate of our Republic. I am saying these because it appears that Smartmatic began as a partner of Strategic Alliance Holding Inc. to supply the counting machines in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the 2008 election. What is not clear is whether it was the government through Comelec that contracted Strategic Alliance Holding Inc., and later brought in its partner, the Smartmatic, or that their partnership was forged immediately after it was able to clinch the deal to computerize our electoral system.

To some, this came as no surprise because of the murky role of CEO Mugica and of Mark Malloch-Brown who launched the SGO Corp. Ltd, a holding company whose key asset remains to be owned by Smartmatic. Malloch Brown’s Manila ties dates back to the mid-1980s when he, as lead partner at the Sawyer-Miller Group, was picked as Corazon Aquino’s PR agency. Mark Malloch Brown then formed a close relationship with the corrupt family dynasty. The close cooperation between Malloch Brown was rekindled ahead of the 2010 election, when Benigno S. Aquino III became the first President whose votes were counted by Smartmatic, despite persistent allegations that the system was vulnerable to manipulation.

In July 2015, Malloch Brown returned to the Philippines and subsequently Comelec’s Andres Bautista awarded to Smartmatic the contracts of P2.6 billion for the 2016 election. He however left the country after his wife exposed him for systematic corruption amounting to billions of pesos. The crook who was appointed erstwhile chairman of the PCGG turned out to be the biggest crook. In October 2017, after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him, he surfaced in the US claiming illness.

To this day, complaints of election irregularities remain pending in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, prominent of which is protest filed by vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. against Leni Robredo. This involves the discrepancy in the result, which is now taking its toll on the credibility of the Comelec. The electoral protest of Marcos has become reprehensible that it contradicts the very purpose why Smartmatic was hired.

Notably in the evening after the closing of the election, Marcos was already leading close to one-million votes. But just before daybreak, he was overtaken by over one-million votes which means that close to two-million votes were discharged by the cheating machine. Nowhere in the election history of this country had this happened where a tsunami of votes in favor of one candidate surged to swamp the rival for it to accept that it was the result of the counting machines’ tabulation hooted as foolproof.

Maybe the Presidential Electoral Tribunal presided by Justice Alfredo Caguioa, an appointee—classmate of Noynoy Aquino, is having difficulty in making a decision that would favor Robredo. One could sense it could damage not the credibility of Comelec but of Smartmatic. This has only hastened President Duterte’s followers to urge him to declare a revolutionary government with the opposition hallucinating that such could lead to a dictatorship.

They argue that the Liberal Party and its allies in the various front organizations are using the given democratic space to bring down the government, be it by way of regular election, people power or coup d’ etat. It seems the electoral process is being undertaken by Smartmatic to protect them. Propaganda-wise, the elite control the mainstream media. Lucky for the President, we have the social media that remain highly partisan to him. The religious organizations could still muster the support of its followers but have been weakened because of their close association with the country’s elite and on the issue of taxing the Church.

Despite the accusation that Smartmatic is being supported by the CIA and the National Endowment for Democracy, an organization known for overthrowing of governments under the banner of colored revolution, our militant organizations continue to participate in the seemingly US-sponsored circus. We could only speculate that they participate and are allowed to win a few seats, to give credibility to Smartmatic, which reason why the public are uncannily curious why the Left remain silent on the issue of electoral fraud committed by Smartmatic.