Monday, February 22, 2010

Failure of automated polls puts Philippine democracy in total jeopardy

A few months ago, it was ZTE-NBN whistleblower Joey de Venecia III who first cautioned the public on the automated elections. De Venecia III said that the public should maintain vigilance and always be on the alert against certain attempts by individuals to subvert the public will and make havoc the first automated polls in this country's history.

Now, Joey's cautions are being recognized not just by a few, but most of the Filipinos who desire change thru the democratic exercise of suffrage. De Venecia III, the Father of Information Technology (IT) and of the application of newer technologies in the BPO industry, knows what he is talking about. Operating an automated system in about 350,000 areas is no joke. It requires extensive study and management. That's why the plan of Comelec to employ 45,000 IT technicians at the onset, is, says Joey, a near impossibility.

With the elections only a few weeks from now, Joey De Venecia III and most of civil society (including this side) are still doubtful if really, the Comelec has the wherewithal to really implement full automation. Problems in energy, power and physical sabotage hound the poll body, not to mention fears of hacking and software attacks. These are things are expected to affect the outcome of the elections. The specter of a non-proclamation of winners vying in the national posts is as real as the sun sets in the West.

A non-proclamation of winners puts the entire democratic process in jeopardy since this will be the first time in the country's history where almost all posts will become vacant by May 10, 2010. Come May, the only Constituted body which will remain in operation will be the armed forces. All civilian posts will be up for grabs and for Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile, this is entirely problematic.

Who will exercise civilian authority when every posts are open? Enrile posits that, should a no-proclamation scenario appears, the armed component of the State should constitute itself into a transitory government and elect an interim civilian leader. That is like a coup.

I am even thinking that if the penultimate result of all these will all lead to an establishment of a Council of State composed of civilians and military chiefs, then, why waste 14 billion for the electikons?