Name-calling as arguments for Smartmatic-TIM – and the loose ends of the argument of Mr. Casiple

It seems that when you have no substantive argument, you can resort to calling the opponent’s position as “absurd.” Mon Casiple, an election watchdog, reportedly said of the Harry Roque petition:

The end result of his petition will be to stop the automation, but his group wants to portray themselves to the public as supporters of the poll automation.”

A question for Mon Casiple is simple: How does he know that the Roque petition will  derail poll automation?

Of course, if the petition has merit, it would derail the Smartmatic-TIM contract.  That is not the same as derailing automation per se.   Casiple’s comment suggests that he believes that Comelec will then do nothing more, and simply revert to manual election. Why is that?

It may be argued that “there will be little time left” to automate. If true,  Casiple imples that this is  supposed to be the fault of Roque et al. Casiple seems to want it both ways:  One is that Roque is absurd, but if not, then it is Roque’s fault that automation will not take place.

But there is something that can be “saved” from the controversy.  There is time to implement proper pilot testing at the 2010 elections, and the Smartmatic-TIM contract can be novated into a part of a pilot test.   Such an approach would be well in accord with the law.  Of course, the monetary amounts involved should be scaled down accordingly.

It may even be proper to interpret the law to allow for automation of the canvass nationwide, while conducting pilot tests of precinct counts.  The technologies of counting and transmission are severable, and the “demonstrated capability” requirement may be met by the technology for transmission and canvass of precinct results.  (I urge Mr. Casiple, as watchdog, to promote the idea that the watchdogs would take pictures of manually produced election returns, and upload them into sites where the public or media can consolidate the results themselves.  This is an approach that is also in accord with RA 9369.  While this may require resources and energy, I am sure the watchdog groups have these. )

The basis for this suggestion is that the electronic transmission of precinct counts can easily be made transparent, whereas absent pilot testing there remain serious doubts on the integrity of the precinct count made by machine.

But it seems that a pilot test is not what Comelec or Mr. Casiple wants.  It seems that what they both want is full automation without a pilot test.  The still-nagging question is Why.

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6 thoughts on “Name-calling as arguments for Smartmatic-TIM – and the loose ends of the argument of Mr. Casiple

  1. You don’t seem to want to recognize the 2008 ARMM pilot test wherein two different technologies were tested successfully. The Advisory Council has evaluated the performance of both technologies and recommended to Comelec that it use the OMR technology for the full automation in 2010. This report was also submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. The Congress passed the budget for the 2010 full automation. What more do you want? I think I know what you want, you want the OES system of Gus Lagman. You are nothing but part of the obstructionist group of Roque et al pushing Lagman’s system. Madali kang mabasa, pre! Puro kayo smoke and mirrors, disguising yourselves as something else but pushing the same thing. Ngayon sinisiraan po pa ang Smartmatic, mahiya ka!

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    1. Smoke? Mirrors? Sinisiraan ang Smartmatic? Obstructionist? And you know what I want? How do you know?

      Ad hominem, ad schmominem. I let this pass this one time, OK?

      But seriously, I asked another commentator to show me what Congress, in assembled session, did with the report of the Oversight Committee, if there was such a report.

      I’d be very glad to see the proceedings on the matter. And thanks for visiting.

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    1. This seems now to be a story of at least three conspiracy theories, all speculative. Dean Jorge Bocobo’s is one. Another is that those who favor the Smartmatic-TIM contract want it as “all or nothing” so they can then blame the nothing on Roque-cum-Garci etc. while maximizing the chances of “all” for whatever reasons they have. Yet another theory is that the Smartmatic-TIM pulls through and there is massive failure of elections, and that is what those who happen not to like Roque also wanted all along. I have no idea which of these theories is credible. What do you think?

      But I believe the Supreme Court will see through the various posturings and find a way out. One obvious way is to manually count the precinct but automate the canvass. I urged this very early on in the Daily Tribune as “cheap insurance” against a faulty machine count. It is sensible to consider automation of canvass as one that may have “demonstrated capability” even without pilot testing because the difficult problems of ensuring ballot secrecy and sanctity do not exist at that level. Perhaps we can agree on this? At a San Mig light “summit” though not at the White House?

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  2. “There is time to implement proper pilot testing at the 2010 elections, and the Smartmatic-TIM contract can be novated into a part of a pilot test. Such an approach would be well in accord with the law. Of course, the monetary amounts involved should be scaled down accordingly.”

    Under RA 3969, section 6 of the said law “AUTHORIZES” the use of automated elections but does not REQUIRE, as a precondition to full automation in 2010, the testing of automated elections.

    In fact, nowhere in the law is the term PILOT TESTING used and the closest term resembling PILOT TESTING occurs here:

    SEC. 10. Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follow:

    “SEC.12. Procurement of Equipment and Materials. – To achieve the purpose of this Act, the Commission in authorized to procure, in accordance with existing laws, by purchase, lease, rent or other forms of acquisition, supplies, equipment, materials, software, facilities, and other service, from local… …Participation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall not be conclusive of the system’s fitness.

    This section basically says that participation in a pilot exercise is not the sole basis for determining the fitness of the system to be used.

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    1. Thanks for pointing out that the word “pilot” in fact appears in RA 9369. I believe that “pilot exercise” is the same as pilot testing. This is one case where a plain-meaning meaning makes sense.

      In any event, RA 9369 authorizes automated elections nationwide “provided” that the 2007 pilot exercise was implemented. But it was not. That is the essence of the “condition precedent” argument and interpretation of Sec. 6 of the law. Please see my earlier post.

      You are perfectly correct in saying that participation in a pilot is not the sole basis for fitness. But that does not mean that a pilot is not necessary. Instead, it means that the pilot must be evaluated, if only because the law requires the automation system to have “demonstrated capability.” In other words, if the exercise was found wanting, we cannot go ahead willy-nilly to automate nationwide precisely because there are known problems still to be solved. And that is also why the law sets up an oversight role for Congress. I have been trying to find out exactly how that oversight function was implemented with respect to the 2008 ARMM elections, and I have not yet found a definitive timeline and information on this.

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