The Comelec and the Defense secretary admitted that in a worst case scenario, they expect 30% of PCOS Machines to fail. Tita Henrietta de Villa said there are 76,000 PCOS machines that will be used in this elections. So, there will actually be 22,800 PCOS machines expected not to work effectively come May 10, 2010. And how many votes will these be?
Comelec says one machine, one precinct, clustered that is. Meaning, if its a clustered precinct, 1,000 voters. That is about 22.8 million votes that will be MANUALLY counted if this scenario happens. Curiously by the way, if its only 22.8 million, why is COMELEC PRINTING 30 MILLION BALLOTS TO BE USED IN THE MANUAL COUNT?
Okey. So, it's actually fine if all of these votes will still be counted. The question to my mind right now is simply--how many days will it take for the Comelec to finish counting all 22.8 million votes? Let me refresh your memories on a June 19, 2009 press release by COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo on the automated elections? What happened to this?
“The 2010 elections is coming up fast, and the Filipino nation is looking forward to it, quite possibly with more anticipation than any of us can imagine,” Melo told an audience of more than a hundred people at the launch of the website which promises to give voters instant access to candidates and their platforms.
“With automation, we will drastically minimize the impact of human intervention in the process. Teachers serving on the Boards of Election Inspectors (BEI) will not have to stay up – and stay under tremendous pressure – as long as they used to, thereby minimizing the risk to them,” Melo said.
The COMELEC chief added that automation will definitely speed up the electoral process as well. “With the precinct level counting done within an hour, and results available within thirty-six, we will see an electoral exercise unprecedented in the rapidity with which our people will know who the winners will be.”
All in all, Melo said, the poll body is confident that the coming 2010 elections will be “breaking all sorts of records and defying all sorts of gloomy predictions” about the continuing vibrancy and viability of our electoral process.
But Melo emphasized that in order to make the 2010 elections truly something for the record books; political players, the engaged private sector, and the COMELEC must all work together.
“And so we urge everyone who intends to play some role – large or small, as a candidate or as a simple partisan, or as a responsible citizen – to commit ourselves to several key imperatives.”
Among the key imperatives Melo pointed out are the promotion of voters’ registration and protecting the safety and security of the voters – starting this early, on through the campaign and even beyond.
“We who hold ourselves out as leaders of our people, we must guarantee that we will represent the best values, that we will conduct ourselves as befitting servants of the sovereign people, and that we will adhere to the strictest standards of truth, responsibility, courtesy, and respect in everything that we do.”
Remember--there is this period from May 10 to May 30, 2010, lasting for about twenty days (20), which we, as a people, will actually be living in SUSPENDED ANIMATION. Why? Because by twenty days, we don't simply know who really won as CONGRESSMAN, SENATORS, VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT, thanks to COMELEC. The margin of error is simply astounding and 22.8 million votes can make or break any person's bid for any national or Congressional poll.
If the Comelec fails to count the votes BEFORE MAY 30, there is a BIG PROBLEM--we will still don't have someone to head the Executive department. We expect that, by this time, there is still some semblance or at least SOMETHING THAT WE CAN LATCH ON--a leadership or at least some form of it.
Good if our teachers will speed up the counting in their precincts. But, how many hours will they need to count each and every ballot? Will it be faster than before, given that there is a new form of the ballot?
Based on a confidential COMELEC document presented to a security meeting, various scenarios are expected to happen:
1. In areas where manual counting is being done, expect it to be chaotic (re-phrasing what is in the document). Why chaotic? Because people from different parties and civil society groups will be there, in the precinct, during the counting. Since 20% in a close fight is a huge figure, representatives of politicians will be hammering these, questions here and there, obviously contributing to a slower pace of the entire process. This will happen in areas without media coverages. Hence, higher possibility of fraud.
Fraud will surely happen, or what Melo tagged as "human intervention"--the very scourge that automation wanted to address but, will fail, to the tune of 9 billion pesos.
Pulse Asia says that expect a three cornered fight--Aquino, Villar and Erap. Aquino's numbers hover between 36-37%, let's just make it 37%, Villar's numbers about 25-27% and Erap's between 18 to at least 22% by the elections.
How many votes are we talking about by 37%? If there is 50 million registered voters, traditionally only 80% of them will actually cast their votes. That will be 40 million votes. So, what we're saying, it will only be 40 million votes come May 10, 2010.
If this is 40 million votes, and we have 22.8 million votes to be manually counted, that is not 30% but represents 57% of votes cast. Meaning, we will have 57% of all votes cast to be manually counted and only 43% under automation. Wow.
Okey, let's say Aquino gets 35% of the votes cast, that's only 14,000,000 votes. Fifty seven percent of this will still be in suspended animation, meaning, 7.8 million votes. This is a lot.
How about Villar's? If he gets 27% of the votes cast, that is about 10.8 Million votes. If you take 57% of it, he has 6.176 million votes still to be manually counted.
Do you get it? There is a lot of things that might happen in this scenario because the margins between the two candidates have actually been whittled to a small one, meaning 1.7 million votes difference.