The Philippine Star - Once more we must remove Smartmatic

3 March 2020

By Valeriano Avila | The Philippine Star

Unfortunately, I failed to read this news from PDI dated last May 30, 2019 when President Rodrigo Duterte was visiting Japan and told the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “dispose” of Smartmatic, the provider of the vote counting machines for the Philippines’ automated elections. Thankfully, someone put this news on his Facebook page so I was able to read it. It turned out Duterte said, “I would like to advise Comelec now, I won’t delay this: Dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud.” This was said in meeting with the Filipino community in Japan.

The issue of having Smartmatic tinkering our elections has always been my pet peeve, especially after I learned that the elections of 2020 would have been won by Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro. During the counting of votes, we noticed that Gibo’s votes stagnated while that of PNoy Aquino kept on climbing up to win that election. It was then that we realized that Smartmatic was shaving the votes for Gibo and giving it to PNoy. It was then we realized that Smartmatic was created to interfere with our electoral process while making them tons of money from our taxpayers! At the end of the day, it now turns out that Pres. PNoy Aquino was our worst president!

Meanwhile, back to what Duterte said in Japan, “I will assure you, I will bring this matter before the nation. And I will tell them: “Stop it because you are creating a problem that will explode.” We all know that the Comelec is an independent constitutional body, however Duterte said that he will tell the Comelec to look for another technology provider for the 2022 elections.

Duterte added, “The people don’t like Smartmatic, and if you use that in the next elections, three years from now, I don’t know what will happen. Something has got to be improved on the system. Stop using Smartmatic because there’s been a lot of – I don’t want to attribute corruption.”

At this point, I would like to reiterate that the Department of Justice (DOJ) in conjunction with Interpol must work hard to find the former Comelec chief Andres Bautista whose public spat with his wife exposed the moneymaking he did during his stint as Comelec chairman. We know that Bautista went to Malacañang to visit Duterte, but nothing came out on the press about that meeting, except that Duterte last year wanted the Comelec to stop using Smartmatic. For sure Duterte knows what the Comelec/Smartmatic has done, especially as he was elected president under this system

What the Comelec couldn’t explain even up to now is the issue that brought presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas from the last place in the group of presidentiables to end up as second placer to Duterte? This was one phenomenon that could never have happened in the old system of manual elections.

It has almost been three years since Bautista flew to the United States despite a standing arrest warrant issued by the Senate. This is why many Filipinos say that crooks in the Philippines go to the US to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth! This was among the issues raised during the Senate debates on the P22-billion budget of the DOJ for 2020. The National Bureau of Investigation, said it has yet to find a way to capture Bautista.

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We read in our Facebook page that there was a hostage-taking inside the V-Mall in the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan last Monday noon. According also to reports on Super Radyo dzBB, security personnel promptly began evacuating the premises, which were then cordoned off or locked down in response to the incident. San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora and Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas (remember him when he was here in Cebu?) director of the National Capital Region Police Office, were already on the scene.

The San Juan mayor said that authorities were working on negotiations with the security guard, who had some 30 persons held hostage at the shopping center's administrative office. The security guard had with him grenades and multiple firearms. Greenhills management said that the guard was a former employee of the Safeguard Armor Security Corp. Fortunately this episode ended when the security guard surrendered. Mind you, such incidents do not happen often in our country.