Ecumenical Bishops Forum
November 6, 2009
For reference : Bishop Delfin Callao, EBF Mindanao coordinator. Tel. no.
Mindanao church leaders call for vigilance on automated election
Lack of transparency and vulnerability to technical errors of the
automated election has the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) Mindanao and
Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) worried that the 2010
elections may be marred by electronic ‘dagdag-bawas’.
The two groups held a briefing and orientation on the 2010 elections last
November 3 to 4 to learn about the automated election system (AES) has 30
vulnerabilities including lack of testing, failure of revealing the source
code, possible power and telecommunication failure, and management that
the Comelec has yet to address.
Some 46 priests, pastors, along with Catholic nuns from the regions of
Davao, Socsksargen, Caraga, Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga attended the
briefing, after which they committed to conduct voters’ education and to
vigilantly monitor the election process to safeguard the votes.
“Imagine trusting the elections on the machine as the Comelec wants us to
do, a machine that has not undergone testing in actual conditions where
power failure and glitches are a high possibility,” EBF Mindanao
coordinator Bishop Delfin Callao (IFI) said in a statement released after
EBF Mindanao has member churches from the UCCP, Iglesia Filipiniana
Independiente, Methodist Church, Episcopal Church. The Sisters’
Association in Mindanao (Samin), an association of women religious, also
vowed to support this action. The EBF also calls on people competent in
information technology to help in educating the people on the automated
Bishop Constante Claro of the UCCP urged the public to be more alert to
safeguard their votes during the election. “We must safeguard our votes.
We must monitor the Comelec actions on this AES. We must make sure the
elections push through,” Bishop Claro said.
EBF Mindanao also supports the CenPEG’s call to Comelec to address the
technical and administrative vulnerabilities of the system.
CenPEG fellow Professor Rosa Castillo from the University of the
Philippines Manila said the Comelec may make the public perceive poll
automation will speed up counting and make elections free from cheating,
but they are sacrificing transparency.
Castillo’s group also urged the Comelec to release the source code as
mandated by the Poll Automation Law or RA 9369. The group said the source
code, which contains the program that counts the votes, must be reviewed
in order to see the correctness and security of the program. CenPEG has
now filed a petition of mandamus to the Supreme Court urging Comelec to
reveal the source code. #