Brillantes challenges Lagman on source code debate, retreats | The Daily Tribune

Brillantes challenges Lagman on source code debate, retreats | The Daily Tribune

Written by Alvin Malacas
Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00

Poll Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. yesterday challenged former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Agusto Lagman to a debate on the source code, claiming that the latter is misleading the public with his claims that the Smartmatic precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines cannot run without the certified source code. He later retreated from his hurled challenge, saying he prefers a dialog with Lagman instead.

In an earlier radio interview, Lagman said it is on record that he never said the PCOS machine can’t run without the source code, although he also mentioned that the Billantes-claimed certified binary code, that is solely machine readable, which the Comelec will be using on election day is a pirated software.

Lagman also stressed that without the human readable source code, no one is to know what commands the binary code is giving the PCOS machines and that without the human readable source code, along with the review, the election results will be put to question.

Brillantes admitted, however, that he cannot take legal action against those who are spreading the possibility of a failure of elections on May 13 in connection with the source code issue.

This is because anyone is free to express himself and ventilate his opinion.

But what he can’t accept, he says, is the fact that one of those creating fears in the electorate is a former official of Comelec in the person of Lagman.

With this, Brillantes was prompted to challenge Lagman, one of the critics of the automated election, to a debate so the people may hear both sides of the coin and eventually put a stop to fears that there would be a failure of elections.

Lagman has been very vocal about the possibility of the failure and credibility of elections if the source code is not present.

The claim was branded by the poll chief as misleading and Lagman he said is creating a scenario that there would be a problem come election time.

The poll chief added that Lagman should have mentioned in his statements that the source code was reviewed by an independent certifier and converted into the binary code.

The binary code, however, cannot be claimed to have been certified and cannot be used since the owner of the software, Dominion Voting Systems, has not given permission to Smartmatic to use that software.

Lagman has scored the poll body for its failure to acquire the source code owned by Dominion, a Canadian based company.

The poll chief though maintained on Monday that he has do away with the source code after software owner Dominion and local supplier Smartmatic failed to deliver the system on time.

Even Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo has said that there should be a source code because if they don’t comply with the law then the poll body is liable as per Section 12 of the Poll Automation law.

For his part, Father Joe Dizon, spokesman of Kontra Daya, has said there is no issue with the source code if the Comelec did not allow private and foreign corporation to run the elections.

Also yesterday, Brillantes scored Lagman for espousing an open system or the manual polls which could delay proclamation which he said is a more dangerous system.

He also called on the other critics of the automated election to come forward and dialog with him because the question is about legality and not technicality.

He said he is willing to talk with them in an open dialog, adding Lagman should have that dialog to clarify all these charges.

Brillantes disclosed that Lagman was his classmate in San Beda during his high school days and said he could not remember any issues where they have not agreed.

Meanwhile, an anti corruption group yesterday called on the Comelec to urgently resolve the issue on the ban against barangay chairmen from engaging in partisan politics to ensure fair, clean, and honest May 13. 2013 elections.

In a prepared statement leaders of the Center for Anti-Graft and Corruption Prevention, Inc. (The Center) believes that until the issue is resolved by the Comelec, the current and widespread public perception that the poll body inadvertently abets crooked politicians who use equally crooked barangay chairmen as “poll thugs” and “community-based machineries” to conduct cheating in the local and national elections, will remain a fact and a tight truth unfurled before their naked eyes.

Lane Afable, secretary-general of the The Center, cited countless reports by its conduits and members from across the country’s that almost 97 percent of the country’s 42,027 barangay chairmen are currently, directly and indirectly campaigning for or against a candidate –taking the opportunity of the absence of Comelec’s official issuance of a ban on them (barangay chairmen) from participating in partisan politics.

“Should the Comelec continue to delay or fail to resolve the issue, it can only mean that the May 13, 2013 elections are to be riddled and drowned by fraud, and the flagrant violation of The Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines and other laws by crooked politicians were deliberately permitted by the poll body,” Afable said.

Afable said, since Day 1 in their monitoring that started Oct. 5, 2012, barangay chairmen have been already activated by their political patrons, especially local officials like municipal and city mayors, to cheat, buy, coerce and intimidate voters for them, and the impact, at this point, has been huge and severe already that all can say Brillantes’ May 13, 2013 polls were acutely infested by crooked politicians, otherwise known as “political tungros”, the resilient pestilence of fraud during elections.

Afable said, last Jan. 18, 2013, then Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento had warned barangay chairmen from participating in partisan politics with corresponding penalties, but was undermined by the lack or absence of Comelec’s resolution on the issue which he promised to be issued soonest.

“So far, the Comelec En Banc to date, almost four months now from Commissioner Sarmiento’s vow and almost 25 days before May 13, 2013, Chairman Sixto Brillantes has yet to set a rule and resolve the issue. And, many candidates and electorates are outraged by such neglect of public duty,” Afable claimed.

He said that thousands of barangay chairmen across the country who engage in partisan politics today are used by incumbent and crook local officials running for re-elections as community machineries to buy votes (in many forms), coerce and/or intimidate helpless electorate for them to illegally capture votes and net a fraudulent election victory in May 13.

Afable explained that barangay chairmen were elected through non-partisan election, thus, officials should observe faithfully the law and respect the process.

The “non-partisan election” issue comes first as a legitimate point and that should define all succeeding arguments; thereby setting aside the importance that a barangay chairman holds an elective position, which in fact, was only a consequence of non-partisan polls. But many lawyers circumvent it for selfless intents of politicians -that in effect: set the endless fraudulent electoral processes, Afable claimed.

“Tens of millions of voters are affected by Comelec’s failure to do its simple job to come up with a resolution on the issue. Since nothing is done, openly now, The Center may conclude that the May 13, 2013 polls are already flooded with fraud,” Afable said.

Afable said, The Center hopes that Brillantes should now act on the issue before the public again cries out and calls May 13, 2013 another mockery of general public sentiment.

With Pat C. Santos

Published in Headlines | The Daily Tribune

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