AES Watch

STAR Scorecard (as of January 15, 2010)


Comelec’s poll automation is endangered
Appraisal Report No. 01

The aesWatch’s STAR (System Trustworthiness, Accountability and Readiness) Scorecard presents the group’s rating on the 20 areas of concern for the 2010 automated elections. The 20 items are grouped into four categories: (1) setting-up; (2) trustworthiness of the internal workings of the machine; (3) training of personnel and voters’ education and; (4) contingency plans.

The appraisal done on these 20 items insofar as the target deadlines were met or, whether ongoing or completed, the preparations and activities were accomplished properly forms the basis for rating the Comelec’s Readiness for the automated elections. The Readiness rating has an impact on the system’s Trustworthiness. As the country’s chief election manager, planner, and implementer the Comelec will therefore have to Account for whatever lapses, delays, and system vulnerabilities there are now and will unfold during and after Election Day.

Tasked by the AES Watch alliance for the appraisal is the STAR Scorecard Committee whose members included: Mr. Lito Averia, president of Philippine Computer Emergency Response (PhCERT); Dr. Pablo Manalastas, Ateneo IT faculty and CenPEG; Prof. Segundo Romero of UP, DLSU, and Association of Schools of Public Administrators (ASPAP); Prof. Allan Borra, DLSU-Caucus; Mr. Mano Alcuaz; Engr. Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada; and Rick Bahague, coordinator of Computer Professionals Union (CPU). Mr. Alfredo Pascual, president of UPAA, Evita Jimenez, CenPEG executive director and Dr. Jaime Caro, chair of UP computer science and president, Computing Society of the Philippines (CSP), also joined. The committee inputs were consolidated and summarized by a team of CenPEG researchers – Prof. Rosa Cordillera Castillo, Ayi dela Cruz, and Roda Manalac.

The AES Watch has also been informed and guided by numerous studies, reports, and observations on the Comelec management and its AES system done as early as 2008. The appraisal also distils the concerns raised by many sectors, voters and poll watchers, teachers, citizens’ organizations, IT professionals, academics, and political parties in numerous forums, symposia, and dialogs held all over thecountry as well as in meetings with the Comelec, Congress leaders, and other agencies.

The 20 items were rated according to the preparedness of Comelec to properly implement the automated elections on May 10, 2010. Comelec’s preparedness is assessed based on its compliance with the Comelec timetable, provisions of RA 9369, and the Terms of Reference (ToR), as well as with its response to the concerns and requests from various stakeholders regarding data and security of the automated election system.

Each item was rated as Pass, Warning, or Danger or Fail. “Pass” is given when an activity is timely and properly accomplished; “Warning” if time is running out for Comelec to finish the activity without compromising the reliability of the system or to respond to issues and concerns raised by stakeholders; “Danger” if deadline had been breached which leaves Comelec little time to recover in preparing for a successful automated election on May 10, 2010. Lastly, “Fail” is given for concerns which Comelec can no longer satisfactorily deliver or remedy.

Based on Comelec’s latest calendar as of October 10, 2009, 10 out of 27 activities due for completion on Jan.15 this year have not been completed. Foremost among the delayed activities is the delivery of machines and software components by Smartmatic-TIM which should have been finished by December 31, 2009. The delay of the delivery of the hardware and software components impedes or compromises succeeding activities that Comelec has set in its timetable such as the certification of the system by the Technical Evaluation Committee and the configuration of the machines.

Last December 17, the JCOC asked the Comelec to submit their replies to the 20 questions raised by AESWatch by January 4, 2010 but up to this date, there have been no responses and report yet especially on the preparedness of the resources in voting centers such as telecommunications/ transmission and power infrastructures as well the refinement of the General Instructions. Chief among the concerns of the group is the non-compliance of Comelec with RA 9369, Sec.12 regarding the release of the source code for review by any interested groups or political parties. With the limited time from now until May 10, there is no way for the source code to be reviewed thus putting in doubt the reliability and trustworthiness of the system.

Based on this STAR Card, Comelec FAILED 1 item, was given a WARNING rating for 11 items, DANGER for 8 items, and did not PASS any item. Comelec was not given a PASS rating by AESWatch because of its pattern of delays and changes in the calendar as well as inability to install needed internal safeguards for the election system as of January 15, the cut-off date of the Scorecard study.

Moreover, the basic structures like transmission, machine deliveries and deployments for the setting up of the AES nationwide have not been effectively put in place; voters education and technical training have long been overdue for the poll centers’ thousands of personnel including the BEIs (teachers) and most of all, the General Instructions (GI) as well as contingency plan all but remained drafts and proposals.

Overall, the ratings revealed that Comelec is in the danger zone in its preparations for the coming May 10, 2010 automated elections.


The AES Watch Conveners include: UP Alumni Association (UPAA); Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG); National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA-CBCP), Bishop Broderick Pabillo (CBCP) and Bishop Deogracias Yniguez (CBCP and Ecumenical Bishops Forum / EBF); National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP); Dr. Reena Estuar, chair of AdMU Dept. of Information Communications System; Dr. Jaime Caro, UP computer science & President, Computing Society of the Philippines (CSP); Dr. Rachel Edita O. Roxas, DLSU College of Computer Studies; Computer Professionals Union (CPU); Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP); Dilaab Foundation; Association of Schools of Public Administrators (ASPAP); Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PhCERT); Transparency International (IT-Philippines); National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP); Engr. Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada; Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD); Senior Catholic Citizens’ Organization;; CCM; Coordinating Council for People’s Development (CPDG); Solidarity Philippines; Pagbabago (Movement for Social Change); Council for Health & Development (CHD); Movement for Good Governance (MGG); and others.

For details, please contact:
Ms. Ayi dela Cruz
CenPEG TelFax 9299526
AES Watch Secretariat Office c/o Jenny
UPAA, Bahay ng Alumni
Diliman, Quezon City
TelFax 9206875

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