What legal basis are you referring to, Comelec?
Nelson Celis, TMT, June 12, 2019
Posted by CenPEG June 18, 2019

THIS question is being tossed at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with regard to its response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to get rid of Smartmatic during his visit to Japan on May 30. Comelec, being an independent constitutional body, stated that it would review and check if there are legal grounds to ban Smartmatic. While Comelec is studying its legal basis, President Duterte reiterated his call on June 6 in Davao City at a post-Eid’l Fitr celebration: “Ang sinabi ko naman dyan sa Smartmatic, even if there is just one vote that is wasted hindi maganda ‘yan. Sabi ko maghanap kayo ng bago na walang palpak ni isang boto!”

Recently, the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG), the steering head of the AES Watch discussed the highlights of the last hearing of the 17th Congress’ joint congressional oversight committee (JCOC) on the automated election system (AES) on June 4, 2019 vis-à-vis the Comelec’s possible legal basis for banning Smartmatic. No brainer, the CenPEG said, as Smartmatic had violated the AES law, or RA 9369, since it automated the national and local elections in 2010, notwithstanding its primary role as one of the service providers in 2008 ARMM elections. CenPEG referred to AES Watch’s System Transparency, Accountability and Readiness (STAR) scorecard that Comelec could use as legal basis. The details of the STAR card showing the major violations of Smartmatic was published athttps://www.manilatimes.net/2019-elections-assessment-worst/558175/, titled “2019 elections assessment: Worst!” But of course, the STAR card would also point to Comelec’s negligence as it allowed Smartmatic not to comply with the AES law.

Let us quickly review why Comelec should not study anymore all the possible legal bases to save Smartmatic as the provider of AES in the 2022 presidential elections, to wit:

Going back to Comelec’s response to President Duterte’s call to get rid of Smartmatic, they don’t need to review as there are so many legal grounds for banning Smartmatic as cited above. Let’s now reverse the situation. What if President Duterte were to ask Comelec if there was legal basis for implementing queuing servers, regional hubs, transparency server, data processing outside the country through amazon.com, and use of digital machine signatures? What if he were to ask Comelec why they have been violating the AES law since 2008?

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