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Sep 21st
Home Columns Ike Señeres No Holds Barred—(068)
No Holds Barred—(068) PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Ike Señeres
Written by Ike Señeres   
Saturday, 22 May 2010 11:58


By Ike Señeres


Fairly A Failure


O ne day before the election, the COMELEC said that they were 98% ready. One day after the election, the COMELEC said that it was fairly successful. I do not know what barometer they are using, but the only measure should be 99.995% accuracy, as it was defined in the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the automation bidding.


Two days after the election, the COMELEC said that their critics were proven wrong, and they even issued the propaganda that some of the critics admitted that they were happy to be wrong. For the record, I now say that I was not wrong, and I am not happy about what the COMELEC has done and has not done.


I think that it is morally and technically wrong for government agencies to unilaterally declare the success of their own projects, because of an inherent conflict of interest. I have the same objection to the practice of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to declare success by reporting low crime rates, because of the same conflict of interest issue.


If government agencies are really sincere and if they would want to be transparent about their own reports of success, they should allow third party reporting and validation by disinterested groups or organizations. In the interest of good governance, the government should use these independent reports as the basis for the payment of official financial obligations, such as the case of the COMELEC automation project.


In several columns and on the air broadcast interviews, I challenged COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo to prove that their system is trouble-free, without necessarily admitting on my part that their system is hack-free. As it turned out, system trouble became the more apparent problem, with some instances of internal hacking so to speak, allegedly perpetuated by internal operatives who gained access to the security codes and the passwords.


In a manner of speaking, hacking became a non-issue somewhere along the way, as the COMELEC started removing the security features of the system one at a time. Their behavior is akin to someone who bought a very expensive car that is fully accessorized, but later on decided to strip his car of all accessories, until he is left with a stock car that actually costs lesser than the original price of his fully loaded car.


This analogy of buying a car goes back to the time when the COMELEC supposedly piloted the Direct Recording Equipment (DRE) in the ARMM election, but later on they made a decision to use the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology. This behavior is akin so someone who has test driven a truck, but later on decided to buy a car.


Moving on with this analogy, the COMELEC decided to deploy the OMR machines without the benefit of testing them. This behavior is akin to someone who buys a car, but decides later not to break it in, subjecting it right away to the rigors of day to day usage.


Since COMELEC started with a quantitative claim that they were 98% ready, they should have ended it also with a quantitative report that it was 50% successful, which is my own numerical interpretation of what “fairly successful” means. In mathematical terms, that means an accuracy rate of only 10,000 for every 20,000 ballots, a far cry from the requirement of 1 mistake for every 20,000 ballots, as it was defined in the TOR.


When I interviewed SMARTMATIC spokesman Gene Gregorio in Net25, he could not explain how they were able to reprogram the compact flash (CF) cards if they were really “read only”, as Chairman Melo himself claimed. I took the trouble to explain on the air that CF cards are like CD-RW disks that could be re-written several times, unlike the ordinary CD disks that could be written only once, being “Write Once Read Many” (WORM) by design. I wonder if Melo understands this.


Under the cover of darkness, the COMELEC decided to destroy the supposedly “defective” CF cards in their possession, until they were stopped by the legal action of some losing candidates. Since these cards are supposed to be government property, these should not be destroyed without following the normal accounting procedures. Since these cards are actually re-writable, what is the point in destroying assets that are still properly re-usable?


Watch KA IKING LIVE! Thursdays 7pm to 8pm in Global News Network (GNN), Channel 21 in Destiny Cable. Email or text +639293605140 for local cable listings. Visit



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Last Updated on Saturday, 22 May 2010 12:26

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