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“Terms of reference” for 2013 polls


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Jesus said, `If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’…” (John 8:31-32, the Holy Bible).

COMELEC NEEDS TRANSPARENCY: Here is a reaction from Mr. Jonathan Matanguihan to our column entitled “Desecration of the rule of law in Comelec”: “To show that there is rule of law is very simple. It only takes transparency.

“For transparency, all that must be done is publish in the Comelec website and in the newspapers the updated election results and the computation for seat allocation showing that the seat allocations were based on the procedure laid down by Supreme Court in the case of Banat vs. Comelec. Why can not Comelec be transparent? Is there something truly obnoxious and contemptible that the public must not know?”

OTHER THINGS THE PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW: What other things should the public know about the automated and computerized elections that the Philippines underwent last May 13, 2013?

There are still many things, and we promise to bring them out here in this column in the days to come, God willing, but for today, let us ask the Comelec if, in its agreement with Smartmatic Inc., the provider of the computer system for the elections including the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, it signed a document called “terms of reference”.

The “terms of reference” is supposed to detail what the Comelec and Smartmatic were legally obliged to do, to make sure that the computerized or automated election on May 13, 2013 will be transparent, efficiently-carried out, and honest and truthful, reflecting the true vote of the people.

“TERMS OF REFERENCE” FOR 2013 POLLS: The question, however, is this: it would seem that despite the “terms of reference” being a public document, Comelec officials, led by Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and his commissioners, have put a tight lid on its contents, and never once did they even make those contents public.

This is inexplicable, considering that this document called “terms of reference” will give all interested parties, especially the candidates who ran last election, an opportunity to determine whether they won—or lost—fair and square.

It was also necessary for this document to be made known publicly, so everybody who is interested in an honest, orderly, and peaceful elections would know if Comelec did its part, or Smartmatic complied with its obligations, towards making the last automated election honest, orderly and peaceful.

COME OUT WITH “TERMS OF REFERENCE”, COMELEC URGED: That being the case, and in accordance with transparency, I am asking Chairman Brillantes and his commissioners: did you and the Comelec sign any such “terms of reference” in its agreement for the holding of the automated elections for 2013?
If so, can you make public the contents of that document called “terms of reference”? Can the Comelec also give an account to the public, and to all the candidates who won and lost, of the Comelec’s and Smartmatic’s compliance with those “terms of reference”?

REACTIONS? Please call me at 0917 984 24 68, 0918 574 0193, 0922 833 43 96. Email:,  -30-

By Atty. Batas Mauricio

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