Star wars log – the Santayana “rule”

George Santayana famously said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  So the battle shifts to 2013.

From Dr. Pablo Manalastas’ analysis of the many errors in the automation implementation:


Comelec’s measure of accuracy of the AES-2010, has been faulty, ab initio, from the start. Furthermore, the various steps that Smartmatic-Comelec took in order to implement AES-2010 was fault-ridden in all steps of the way. The only redeeming quality of this computerized electoral exercise is that the final Comelec count, no matter how inaccurate, seems to be according to people’s expectations, and people are willing to accept the count, and forget the inaccuracies.  But the Philippine IT community must uphold certain standards of accuracy for an election system, and must insist that Smartmatic-Comelec fix the bugs in the PCOS-CCS systems. This is for their own good, and in preparation for election 2013, when Comelec might again force Smartmatic upon us.


The nagging question:  How does a Constitutional Body known as Comelec  “force” Smartmatic upon us?

UPDATE (June 27, 2010):  It seems the answer is to have Teddy Boy Locsin “exonerate” or even praise Comelec and then give Smartmatic a teeny tiny slap on the wrist for the “glitches” of the PCOS machines.  In short, put out the PR that all is well, and anyone who believes otherwise is just another “sore loser.”  Now I wonder what kind of “loss” it was that was their “gain”?  Was it good old fashioned trust and respect?

The price of liberty is vigilance.  Vigilance is patience and persistence.  Like rain in the famous W. Somerset Maugham short story.

UPDATE (June 30, 2010):  The newspapers seem to have caught on to a nuanced “spin” whereby Locsin plays bad cop on Smartmatic, but others get to carry the torch to praise the recent automation.  Same effect it seems, which is to condition the public to doing another PCOS in 2013.  In fact, Comelec announced they intend to buy some of the machines for special elections, after which the machines can be “studied.”  Of course, for legitimate purposes, such as showing how good they are for 2013.

Another nagging question: Were the prices charged by Smartmatic for lease and associated services, and for purchase, reasonable?  Here is where an independent “truth commission” idea is perhaps IN-ter-EST-ing, to borrow that famous word of Richard Feynman.  If those machines were overpriced, what do we do next?


7 thoughts on “Star wars log – the Santayana “rule”

  1. I am at awe that you and your most often quoted IT expert, Dr. Manalastas are the epitome of PERFECTION.
    You have redefined the meaning of Monday morning quarterback. Before the elections, you based your analysis on speculation and now, after the elections with hindsight, you begin to nitpick on everything. I really wonder if you or Dr. Manalastas have even came close to implementing an IT project of this magnitude only because you talk of perfection like it’s you own that lot. But then again, I am reminded that you are both teachers and a wise man once told me that those that can’t do teach!

    Yes, there are many lessons to be learnt from this experience and I’m hoping that these mistakes or shortcomings be corrected for the next elections. Charge it to learning curve. For me, what really counts is user acceptance. By all accounts except for the many newly sprouted “IT experts” and of course, losing candidates, the first automated elections in our country was a phenomenal success.

    So, I really don’t understand the continued ramblings from an anti Comelec-Smartmatic like yourself. I only venture to guess, that the likes of you and Dr. Manalastas, do these things out of spite, envy and ego. Oh, I forgot, does not earning money out of this multi-million dollar project, be also another reason?


    1. “Spite, envy, ego, and money.” I feel for the akomismo CSR because, precisely, it is spiteless, saintly, humble, and poor.

      Trollhood and astroturf thrive with the trickle-downs, but was it worth the slime? Este, the dime.

      Yes, of course, it was a “phenomenal success.” What with last-minute reconfigs of CF cards, and “hand fixes” patched on the “official” electronic results.

      I can’t prove it, sorry about that, but likely it also succeeded in bringing back the old-time vote-buying religion. And the party-list winners are pure, pristine, and clean as the driven snow, a state of affairs that’s totally independent of the praiseworthy acts of Comelec and Smartmatic.

      Glad you’re awed. Too bad you’re not shocked shocked shocked that the not-so-savvy Filipino people had to deal with an inferior product at an unconscionable price.


  2. Just read that CENPEG is demanding that Comelec and Smartmatic release several pertinent documents so that they can do an independent study on the recently concluded automated elections. CENPEG has from the very beginning been an anti-Comelec/Smartmatic critic, how can they perform an unbiased, independent study? You’ve got to be kidding me! I say just give it up fellows, go find another issue to gripe about. The Filipino electorate has already triumphed or are you all just oblivious of these facts.


    1. So any critic of Comelec/Smartmatic is biased and not independent. That seems to be your mantra. I don’t buy it, and neither do the “sore losers.” But good-faith critics will be happy to see transparency. Let there be a fair and reasonable random manual audit, for example. Not the kind where the potential cheats get to know by midday which precincts will be in the audit pool. For another, let any one, even the non-tech-savvy, have an easy way of deriving the COC from the printed ER.

      But the Comelec and Smartmatic you defend seem always to revert to the presumption of regularity defense. Even their “mistakes,” were all just human weakness, etc. The auditing BEIs are perhaps likely to be “blamed” for not knowing how to appreciate the ballot the way the machine does, so this explains the discrepancies. None of this will wash if the powers that be really want to be transparent and accountable. Para namang walang nang nangyari kundi bilogan na lang ng bilogan. How would you feel if you were on the “other side”? Do you want to be lectured na ikaw kasi, wala kang alam, kaya ka tanong ng tanong? I say this because you claim to be in on trade secrets on the security of the PCOS; but if you know and no one else does, then you can do the cheating and no one else will know. Is that fair?

      If the electorate “triumphed,”I think it’s more because the cheats couldn’t quite trust each other. Maybe that’s a good design, and then again maybe not.

      Maybe what is needed is an “internal affairs” unit to police the insiders. But that is a matter of political will. It may arise if the sore losers get to prove their case. Until then, it is up to ordinary folks to ask questions. And ask. And ask. Until Comelec and Smartmatic give sensible answers.


  3. “Until Comelec and Smartmatic give sensible answers.” You always get sensible answers to sensible questions and they are the truth. Human errors do occur in large scale projects like this, that is why the are many testing along the way, to catch these errors, one of which is the program adjustment to the last minute change in the ballot design that caused the malfunction of the CF cards one week before the elections. Smartmatic admitted this mistake and compensated for it both monetarily and through it fulfillment of delivery on election day itself.

    You just have to remember that elections is the business of Smartmatic, it would be against the grain for them to participate in rigging or cheating a country’s elections because their financial growth is highly dependent on its success of operations and it’s credibility and integrity. I hope you consider this thought.

    If it was any other vendor, foreign or local, I bet you that the same criticisms will be present. It’s just the way it is. The critics only flourish when media gives them attention but media is a back stabber. Wait till there is bigger and juicier news, all these critics of automated elections will all just fade away. Until you guys present a smoking gun evidence that cheating occurred, your days are numbered. Bon voyage, Orly!


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