The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has been caught out many times turning a blind eye to electoral fraud, tolerating crooked technology suppliers, and bending its own rules to favour specific candidates and/or their parties.
Firstly, the COMELEC has a long track record of presiding over fraudulent elections. This is evident in the many incidents that mark electoral history in the Philippines over the last several decades with big appalling blatant cheating reported not just in 2016 but also in 2004 and 2010.
Second, somebody in the COMELEC seems to be protecting SMARTMATIC, what is widely regarded as a crooked technology supplier.
The problem is, since members of the Supreme Court are considered luddites or among those who fear technology, they are slow to act on any petition that challenges the legitimacy of the election results. They did order the Comelec to compel Smartmatic TIM to make public the source codes used to run and operate the equipment. They simply refused and that was that.
Even a Senate investigation last year of how Smartmatic TIM conducted the 2010 elections, failed to provide clear answers as the company evaded questions on how the PCOS machines work. It is obvious they could get away with it because the Senators are hopelessly inept at making sense of the technical jargon.
Allegations of election fraud in 2010 fell on deaf ears. They were immediately dismissed as sour grapping even when more than one whistleblower came to speak out.
Third and last, when push comes to shove, the COMELEC will excuse its preferred candidates when they are in breach of its own guidelines as what happened in 2016 when it allowed vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo to be declared winner of those elections despite her party failing to comply with COMELEC requirements surrounding submission deadlines of candidates’ Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs).
Roxas and the LP had, last Wednesday, the 8th of June, reportedly requested an extension of the deadline citing “voluminous number of receipts that have to be scanned and attached” as their excuse.
Section 2 of Rule 10 issued by the COMELEC applicable for these 2016 elections states that there is absolutely no provision to allow an extension of the 8th of June deadline for filing the SOCE for any reason whatsoever…
Leni Robredo is, by all intents and purposes, disqualified from taking her post as vice president. Thanks to a cooperative COMELEC, however, she now occupies the post and is regarded by her supporters as the Philippines’ “vice president”.
Really, Filipinos need to re-evaluate the role the COMELEC plays in dishonest elections. For their sake and the sake of their fragile “democracy”.