An Open Letter to COMELEC Chair Bautista

Dear Chairman Bautista...

An Open Letter to COMELEC Chair Bautista

Chairman Andres Bautista
Commission on Elections
Palacio Del Gobernador
Intramuros, Manila


Dear Chairman Bautista,

The national and local midterm election is fast approaching and it seems Smartmatic is again being considered as the election systems provider in May 13, 2019. When will you ever learn?

I have sent you so many letters highlighting the incompetence and violations of Philippine election laws of this company and yet you so stubbornly allow this Venezuelan company to ruin Philippine elections.

In all previous elections managed by Smartmatic, from 2008 to 2016, Smartmatic has violated election laws by accessing elections servers during election day!  In 2008, Smartmatic was surprisingly allowed by Chairman Melo to access servers in Mindanao remotely from Manila. In 2013, I was actually not surprised that you, with the eager participation of PPCRV Chair Henriette De Villa, authorized Smartmatic to illegally access the election servers, change scripts and delete files.

And again in 2016, you permitted a foreigner to access election servers during election day.  Whether it affected the results or not is irrelevant. RA 9369 under Section 28 states that “gaining or causing access to using, altering, destroying or disclosing any computer data, program, system software, network, or any computer-related devices, facilities, hardware or equipment, whether classified or declassified” is a violation of the law and “shall be penalized as provided in this Act, whether or not said acts affect the electoral process or results”.  Marlon Garcia of Smartmatic admitted in a hearing conducted by the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System that he accessed and deleted computer data in 2013. In 2016, he again unrepentantly declared on national television that he accessed and changed computer data.

You are the valedictorian of your batch in Ateneo Law School and you have a Masters in Law from Harvard! I do not have a law degree and yet I can see that there is a clear violation of Philippine laws!

And despite these deliberate acts of blatant disrespect of a foreign vendor towards Philippine election laws, which as Chair of COMELEC you are obligated to uphold, here you are again allowing Smartmatic to participate in the bid to provide the election system in 2019.

You may accuse me of having vested interest because I am currently an employee of a rival election vendor of Smartmatic.  You and I, including the previous and current COMELEC Commissioners, know that I have been advocating to blacklist Smartmatic since 2008, when they first showed the arrogance to access the servers in Wao, Lanao del Sur remotely from Manila during the 2008 ARMM automated elections.

In 2016, a Venezuelan thought he had the authority to implement a “cosmetic change” in the middle of a tightly contested VP race.  Marlon Garcia has been managing election projects in the Philippines since 2008. Smartmatic has conducted 3 previous national elections in the Philippines.  I am sure they already know the nature of Philippine elections and yet they still implemented a cosmetic change to correct the “?” to “ñ”.  And that “cosmetic change” has divided this country ever since.

Smartmatic even admitted that they have installed secret servers in 2016.  These servers collect ALL precinct results before it is transmitted to the municipal canvassing and consolidation servers!

Did you know about this? If you did, why did you allow this? If you did not know about this, what will you do now that you know?

There is something sinister behind that action, or they are just simply incompetent.  Either way, they should not have any business managing elections systems in this country. Ever.

I do not blame these Venezuelans for what they have done. The Philippines for them is just business, and a lucrative one at that.  They do not have a stake in this country’s political stability. They do not care about this country’s future. They do not care how history will judge them.

I hope you do.

Sincerely,

Leo Querubin


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TheLOBBYiST.
About the Author
Mr. Leo Querubin is a Certified Management Consultant, a Master Project Manager, A Certified International Project Manager and a Fellow of the American Academy of Project Management with over 30 years of extensive, international experience in planning and implementing large scale IT projects. He is currently a Managing Consultant at Indra Philippines handling the Public Administration, Education and Healthcare markets.
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