Filipinos are not over with the Smartmatic nightmare during the election in 2016. However, it might still be the same provider in 2019. Bongbong Marcos’ plight seems not enough. Section 33 of RA 9369 states that the JCOC must monitor and evaluate the digital election system within six months from the date of the election. Comprehensive assessment and evaluation of the AES technologies must be the basis for the appropriate recommendations to Congress.” The Comelec Advisory Council or CAC never failed to submit its report to the JCOC or Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on time since 2010 until 2016. This is when Marcos questions its integrity in his electoral protest.
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Compliance is Overdue
The JCOC has not convened yet to deliberate on the performance of the automated election system or AES after 18 months. Therefore, the AES technology for 2019 midterm elections stays the same. Most of the stakeholders like the AES Watch, Tanggulang Demokrasya, Philippine Computer Society Foundation, Solidarity for Sovereignty, Nationalist Filipinos Against Foreign Intervention, Citizens National Guard, etc. are now urging the committee to act on this.
Ex-JOCC Chairman, Sen. Koko Pimentel and former Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista were reminded of their obligation to promulgate the IRR. Unfortunately, no such action has been done yet. It is also not certain if Pnoy appointee Acting Chairman Christian Robert Lim will do something about it. This is despite clean elections advocate, Atty. Glenn Chong’s noise regarding the 2016 elections fraudulent activities that are not only manual but digital in nature.
Former DICT Secretary and CAC Chair Rodolfo Salalima said that the CAC “envisions the creation of an ecosystem of interoperable. This is where multiple and mixed technologies providers can reasonably participate in election technology in the country’s elections. CAC encourages more diversity. He notes that in the past three elections, the Comelec uses the AES technology from only one vendor which is Smartmatic.
Bautista’s six options for 2019 are all from Smartmatic. Option 1 is 2010 and 2013 PCOS. Next is the purchase of VCMs on lease in 2016. The third is to combine both. Option 4 is the lease of new optical mark reader Smartmatic machines or OMR. Option 5 is the usage of other systems besides an OMR technology. They are still Smartmatic’s DRE technology. Finally, option 6 is to combine any of the five options. Unless the JCOC convenes, these options remain regardless of the progress of Marcos’ protest against Robredo’s victory.