May 6, 2010
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today warned that election postponement or election failure will benefit no one but Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The group kicked off protest actions in front of the Comelec today against any “no-election and holdover scenario” that it fears could arise from the problems in poll automation.
“The upcoming polls will be conducted under a cloud of doubt and suspicion because of recent events that are the doing of Comelec and Smartmatic. What happened were not just glitches but a potentially fatal nationwide malfunction. Even if these are resolved as Smartmatic says they will, the damage to the poll’s credibility has been done,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The people demand that the Comelec deliver on its mandate to provide credible elections on May 10, but the recent events are a setback in terms of credibility. This is the one thing that can be exploited by those who are pushing for a no-election scenario or postponement. This is what the Arroyo regime can use to justify a holdover,” Reyes added.
The group said that a long chain of events has led to the current election debacle. These include the absence of rigorous tests, limited field tests, limited mock elections, the non-certification of crucial election equipment and software and problems in the source code review.
“Many of the problems are avoidable but what boggles the mind is why Comelec and Smartmatic did not take the necessary steps to avoid these problems, despite calls from various sectors. That is why people tend to be suspicious that this can be linked to moves to keep Mrs. Arroyo in power,” Reyes said.
Bayan said that the massive troop deployment in at least 10 cities in Metro Manila is not just aimed at so-called election hotspots, but also aimed to quell protests that may erupt when the elections fail.
“What is certain during these uncertain times is that the people will surely act should there be election fraud and failure,” Reyes said.
Bayan said the optimistic assurances from the Comelec and Smartmatic should be backed-up by actual end-to-end tests at the precinct levels and canvassing boards.
“We ask the people to be vigilant and monitor the PCOS tests that will happen from now until Monday, because that is one indicator of how the poll automation will be carried out,” Reyes said.
Bayan said that the fact that the testing of PCOS machines will be carried out until Monday, Election Day and that the Comelec has admitted that there will be inevitable poll delays, are already causes of concern. (Bulatlat.com)