Monday, May 20, 2013


SOME of the residents of Lualhati Barangay just in front of Mansion House went home from Manila and the provinces just to vote. In fact, election is another family reunion for most of us. And so it was a shock to them when they went down the stairs to Wright Park and into Rizal Elementary School that rainy Monday night only to find that they cannot vote. Their ballots were sent to Compostela Valley instead.
It was another shock to them when they watched on TV the Comelec Chief Sixto Brillantes that this was no failure of elections as there was no goons or guerrillas who burned their ballots or prevented them inside the classroom. it was just dumb luck that their ballots were sent to Mindanao.
Some of the Lualhati residents were told to come back the next day. Another shock to them when they were told that their votes won't matter. It was too small to affect the mayoral, vice-mayoral and council races.
Clearly they were disenfranchised but, to borrow the favorite term of the elected mayor, we cannot do anything.
At least with the Compostela Valley, their vote will be needed and a special election was scheduled for them.
The SWS and other surveys will not do a survey about this but many voters (like the voters of Lualhati Barangay in the 2016 presidential elections probably) did not vote last Monday because of their fear of PCOS.
Many are afraid that their ballots will not be read by the PCOS machines. They are afraid that the information in the particular ballot they filed will be traced back to them so that they would know how you voted. Many are afraid that their ballots were, as the new term would have it, pre-shaded.
Fear of technology and the unknown is not strange to many Filipinos; that's why they don't have cellphones and Facebook accounts. That's why they are afraid of PCOS.
They find it easier to have manual voting. They preferred the long nights spent watching each ballot being read and marked on blackboards, then filed by the teachers and then sent back to the ballot boxes.
Who can blame them? The first time PCOS was introduced the CF cards were corrupted and it took a week to replace them all. Many said that gave the "brokers" enough time to  corrupt the elections.
This time, 200 PCOS were corrupted. And 200 out of 70,000 may be a credible enough margin of error but still that is 200,000 votes assuming it is 1,000 votes per PCOS.
Although these were replaced, the suspicion of technology cheating remains. At least with the Kilong Elementary School in Sagada, when the SIM card for transmission was busted, the voters were told to fill out their ballots as usual and trust the teachers to not tamper them and they will count the ballots manually.
With other towns, some villagers were told they have to come back when the problem is fixed and they simply did not come back.
Also the centralized national counting was stalled because of poor transmission. Many started commenting in Facebook and other social media that "cooking" has started.
Filipinos have been cynical about our elections because of massive cheating. Of course with computerized elections, counting time has been drastically reduced and the window for corruption has also been lessened. But as they say, the chance for grand cheating is now easier and more systematic.
We can say that with PCOS, winning has been faster. But winning the faith of the Filipino voters will take a much longer time.   


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