Probe sought on 6 party-list groups
By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was asked yesterday to investigate six party-list groups for alleged links to President Arroyo.
In a letter to Comelec Chairman Jose Melo, Kontra Daya said Agbiag Timpuyag Ilocano Inc. (Agbiag), Babae Para sa Kaunalaran (Babae Ka), Youth League for Peace Advancement (Lypad) and Kalahi Sectoral Party (Kalahi) would “bastardize” the party-list system if allowed to run on May 10.
In a memorandum dated Oct. 16, 2006, Malacañang’s Office of External Affairs said these party-list groups must be supported, the letter added.
Kontra Daya said Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak Maharlika (ADAM) was formed by Energy Undersecretary Zamsamin Ampatuan, while the Binigkis na Interes ng mga Drayber sa Adhikain Inc. (Bida) was founded by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairman Efraim Genuino.
“We urge the Comelec to immediately conduct an investigation and a public hearing on the issues raised,” Kontra Daya said.
“This can serve as an initial step in correcting the abuses of the party-list system.”
The Comelec must be watchful over the possible endorsement of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP) and 1-Utak whose nominees are Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Kontra Daya added.
JDV III: Protect counting machines
Senatorial candidate Joey de Venecia III has urged Comelec to make a “full revelation” of arrangements in the transporting of vote counting machines to protect them from software designed for digital dagdag-bawas.
“While the more than 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines are now safely under guard, these will be under threat from contamination once their distribution commences,” he said.
“There are very real dangers that the PCOS machines can be waylaid and tampered with by individuals possessing the technical know-how to insert malicious software intended to alter the results as ballots are inserted into them on Election Day.”
De Venecia said three years ago, a study conducted by the Center for Information Technology Policy of Princeton University showed the most widely used automated voting machines in the United States were vulnerable to “malicious software.”
“While the machine tested by Princeton University researchers was a direct recording (touch screen voting) machine (the Diebold AccuVote), its internal architecture is basically similar to the PCOS machines leased by Comelec from Smartmatic.”
De Venecia said the study showed “malware” introduced into the voting machine can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine.
“So, even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss and anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute,” he said.
De Venecia said such vulnerability points to the clear and present danger of precinct level “digital dagdag-bawas,” the likes of which will totally compromise the integrity of the elections.
“I was among those whose earnest efforts at pushing for anti-corruption reforms and promoting information technology to bring in investments and create jobs (and) whose winning bids for the Senate can easily be knocked out by automated election fraud,” he said.
“We urge the Comelec to revisit the safeguards for both the technical integrity of the PCOS machines alongside the critical need of transporting these to all precincts securely and on time.” – With Jose Rodel Clapano