Erroneous COCs in 57 provinces blamed on Smartmatic’s counting

June 4, 2010 - At least 57 provinces as well as cities of the National Capital Region (NCR) have certificates of canvass (COCs) with final testing and sealing (FTS) returns. This confusion, the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) said today, can be attributed to Smartmatic’s erroneous counting system used for the May 10 synchronized elections.

CenPEG IT Fellow, Dr. Pablo Manalastas, shared this explanation in renspose to yesterday’s debate at the joint congressional canvassing committee triggered by the submission of two COCs from Bacolod City. One CoC contained the FTS returns while another, a “reconciliation COC” was the corrected version. But the confusion prompted the joint committee to defer the canvassing for Bacolod.

As a result, Manalastas said, both the Commission Elections (Comelec) and Congress should now debug all COCs that incorporated final testing and sealing (FTS) results. Data extracted from Comelec’s website  showed at least 57 provinces and cities have this problem, he said.

Aside from cities in the NCR, these provinces are in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Caraga Region, Southern Luzon Region (both Mainland and Island Provinces), Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and Central Mindanao.

Manalastas hastened to add, however, that “The committee actually has a much bigger problem, namely the fact that many cities and provinces had FTS election returns included in their COCs, and these cities and provinces have not yet submitted reconciliation COCs.”

He said this problem resulted from failure of the Smartmatic’s counting and canvassing system (CCS) program to reject the invalid COCs and accept only the valid ones. The Smartmatic CCS program was not subjected to a testing and certification in accordance with Philippine election laws, despite the SysTest testing and certification issued by Comelec’s Technical Evaluation Committee, Manalastas said.

The reconciliation COCs presented by Comelec Executive Director Jose M. Tolentino for Bacolod indicates a solution, rather than simply a problem, Manalastas, who is also a computer science professor of the University of the Philippines, said.

ERs from Bacolod City delivered to Congress had two sets of COCs. The first set of COCs included ERs that had 0-10 voters, clearly indicating that these were ERs generated for the FTS done for the city, and not valid election day precinct ERs.

The second set of COC is the reconciliation COC, in which election returns that had 0-10 voters have been replaced by the correct ones. 

However, the canvassing committee could not decide which COC to use for canvassing, even after Tolentino had explained that the reconciliation COC is the correct one. 

“That the canvassing committee had to consider the Bacolod City case as a problem is wrong. The Bacolod City case is a solution and not a problem, because Bacolod City submitted a correction to an erroneous COC, and this correction is the reconciliation COC,” said Manalastas.

CenPEG research based on Comelec’s online election results showed COCs integrating FTS results are seen in the following: Taguig and Pateros (NCR); Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (ARMM); Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga and Mountain Province (CAR); Ilocos Norte, La Union and Pangasinan (Region 1); Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela (Region 2);

Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales (Region 3); Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal (Region 4-A); Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro and Palawan (Region 4-B); Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate (Region 5); Antique, Iloilo and Negros Occidental (Region 6); Bohol, Cebu, and Negros Oriental (Region 7); Northern, Eastern and Western Samar, Leyte, and Southern Leyte (Region 8);

Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur (Region 9); Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental (Region 10); Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental (Region 11); North Cotabato and Sarangani (Region 12); Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, and Surigao del Norte (Region 13).


For further information, please contact:

Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)
3/F CSWCD Bldg., UP Diliman, Quezon City
TelFax +9299526 or +4344200

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