25 August 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today assailed Smartmatic-TIM officials for “trivializing” the 2010 election after a company official drew a parallel between the use of automated teller machines (ATMs) and the counting machines for the election.

Appearing in a cable talk show Monday night, a Smartmatic official said ATMs were accepted in the 1980s on faith, and “it was more important since it involved our money.”

“Smartmatic-TIM cannot brush aside serious concerns about the integrity of the automated election results by arrogantly claiming that personal bank accounts are more important than clean and honest elections,” he said.

“The statement merely shows that the foreign supplier is not entirely interested in ensuring clean and honest election in 2010. It displays arrogance and insensitivity. For Smartmatic-TIM, the Philippine election is just another business deal. For us Filipinos, the 2010 election will be a defining moment in our democracy,” he said.

“Sa Smartmatic-TIM, profit nila ang nakasalalay sa election. Sa ating mga Pilipino, ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa at ng ating mga anak ang nakataya sa malinis na halalan sa 2010,” he said.

Binay said the parallel between automated banking and automated election is not totally applicable in the Philippines , since a large number of Filipinos do not have even have bank accounts.

“Smartmatic-TIM needs to be reminded that not all Filipinos are adept with ATMs, especially in poor communities and in rural areas where majority do not even have bank accounts,” he said.

Binay cautioned election officials and Smartmatic-TIM from offering a “dream election” scenario in 2010, saying that concerns about vulnerabilities in the automated election have yet to be addressed concretely.

And given the short time period to familiarize election officials and personnel with the new technology, Binay said a scenario where the election would be “informally outsourced” to Smartmatic-TIM looms as a possibility.

“Given the time constraints, we might end up in a situation where Comelec personnel, especially those in far-flung areas, would defer to Smartmatic-TIM personnel on election day, in effect informally outsourcing the election,” he said.

“This would be a dangerous situation and all of us should work together to avoid it,” he said.

The opposition leader again reiterated his appeal for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to actively engage independent computer experts , especially in checking vulnerabilities of the source code.

“We must admit that not all election officials and personnel are adept at computer technology. An independent review by recognized computer experts is necessary if not indispensable. And the source code review must be done now, and not in November when the counting machines have already been manufactured,” he said.


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