MANILA, May 20, 2013— A multisectoral group said it is not the supposed conspiracy between poll watchdogs that is the problem but the alleged “conspiracy between the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic in undermining the elections using taxpayer’s money.”
Convenors of the Kontra Daya, composed of the clergy, teachers, information technology experts, and activists was reacting to Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes’ warning that he would go after the critics of the automated election system.
“The real conspiracy we should be worried about is between Comelec and Smartmatic. It is the conspiracy that allowed P1.8 billion in taxpayer’s money to be used to purchase the PCOS machines even if they are unreliable,” said Kontra Daya convenor Fr. Joe Dizon.
“It is the conspiracy to cover up the widespread machine failures and transmission problems that occurred during the elections. It is the conspiracy to shun accountability for the problem of the AES. It is the conspiracy to trump transparency and integrity,” he said.
The priest said the poll body should welcome and not attack the critics, adding that criticisms are necessary “if we want to have better system.”
“The reason none of the watchdogs are praising Comelec and Smartmatic is because the problems persisted, if not worsened in 2013,” he added.
The group said that from the start of the May 13 elections and its immediate aftermath, both Comelec and Smartmatic have been singing the same tune, that the polls went smoothly and that the results delivered were fast and credible.
“Comelec should be beholden to the people, not to any foreign corporation like Smartmatic. When 30% of the PCOS machines fail to transmit votes, Comelec should be the first to raise hell against Smartmatic,” Kontra Daya’s Prof. Gani Tapang said.
The problem is that Comelec willfully entered into a problematic agreement with a foreign private corporation, effectively surrendering a sovereign function to a foreign entity and ending up defending a questionable system.”
“We will be studying what legal options taxpayers have so that there will be accountability for the failures and problems that marked the 2013 elections,” Tapang said. (CBCPNews)