Cong Corrales .
“They’ll be asked nothing about their absurd justifications, born in the shadow of the total lie.” – Otto Rene Castillo, Apolitical Intellectuals
WITH the President’s favored senatorial slate dominating the recently concluded midterm polls, many of this administration’s apologists interpret this phenomenon as validation of its supposed war on drugs.
The Commission on Human Rights puts the killings brought about by the war on drugs at 27,000 drug “suspects” killed. Although the Philippine National Police has a lower figure of those killed in the last three years at 5,300 people, mostly urban poor, it could not be denied that this is an unprecedented carnage.
Many apologists were quick to point out that the midterm polls win of this administration meant that the people “have spoken” in support of the war on drugs with no less than Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. leading the pack.
However, the seven-hour glitch of the Commission on Election’s “transparency server” has effectively put a cloud of doubt on the winners at the senatorial polls. From 0.4 percent of all precincts nationwide uploaded to Comelec’s server at around 6:15 pm Monday last week, it suddenly jumped to 90.57 percent of total precincts in the wee hours of Tuesday.
I’m sure everyone who followed the midterm polls closely has heard of Comelec’s reasons for the server glitch. Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon explained that the data packets “flooded” their server after they simultaneously received the digital election returns.
Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo offered a more technical reason for the glitch but hidden in jargon by saying that a “java error” was the reason for the seven-hour glitch of their transparency server.
Let me remind you, my readers, that this is not the first time that Comelec has handled automated elections. The 2019 midterm polls was the fourth time they have handled automated elections in the country. Voters started shading ovals next to the names of candidates in the 2010 presidential elections. Given that they have been at it for four polls already, shouldn’t they be good at it?
An election advocacy group compared the 2016 and this year’s election. The results are staggering if not starkly points out the inefficiency of Comelec. In the 2016 polls, there were 120 secure digital memory cards that malfunctioned, 801 vote counting machines malfunctioned, and there was a 10-minute glitch in Comelec’s server. In comparison, the recently concluded elections showed that 1,665 SD cards malfunctioned, 961 VCMs malfunctioned, and the controversial seven-hour glitch in its server.
With those figures, don’t the voters have the right to question the outcome of the midterm polls?
Carlos Conde, Asia researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch, pointed out that Ronald dela Rosa, one of the biggest winners in the elections, “may still have a date with justice.” Remember that dela Rosa was one of the foremost architects of the drug war.
“However one views the election results, it won’t change the fact that victorious candidates implicated in ‘drug war’ crimes shouldn’t receive a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Conde said in a statement.
For me, the recently concluded midterm elections are neither validation nor approbation of the President’s “war on drugs” but a confirmation that voters can easily be misrepresented in an election.
As a colleague succinctly puts it: “Comelec has spoken, not the people.”