21 May 2010

Tip of the "digital" iceberg?

Discrepancies found by PPCRV: tip of the iceberg?

News reports say the PPCRV has received 70,255 and encoded 43,035 election returns ERs). Out of these, they found 29 discrepancies, or an average of one in 1,484 ERs (.07% error rate). PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa was quoted saying, “We can say that the election is clean because the discrepancy is very minimal.”

Unfortunately, computers are not evaluated that way. If your spreadsheet program makes one error for every 1,484 cells, junk it at once, because it is useless! If your wordprocessor changes one of every 1,484 characters it processes, junk it too.

While the analog side of an automated system (such as the scanning of marks) may introduce errors, we expect from the digital side zero error. Even a single error in a million characters or operations is a cause for worry, because it suggests a bug (a problem) in the machine’s logic. When testing software, testers assume that if you find one bug, more hidden bugs must exist. Unless that bug is found and properly evaluated, we can’t say if the problems it can cause are minor or major. All we know is, something is wrong with the software.

Unless the 29 discrepancies have been traced to the particular portion of Smartmatic software that caused them, and other portions of the software have been searched for similar bugs, it it premature to declare the election “clean”.

PPCRV grouped the 29 discrepancies into four:

1.Candidates got zero votes (four machines). It is not clear from the news report whether some or all of the candidates got zero, and whether this occurred in the transmitted or the printed ERs, so we will leave this type of discrepancy for future analysis.

2.A candidate got one less vote during transmission (at least two machines). The printed ER says a candidate got so many votes. But the transmitted ER has one vote less. That’s a “bawas”. Now, why would that happen? We had been worried earlier that the PCOS machine would print something, but transmit something else. And here’s the proof that the PCOS machine does print something but transmit something else. This is called malicious code. That it exists in one part of the system suggests that other parts of the system may also contain malicious code. In this particular case, the vote-shaving involved only one vote. But it is just as likely that the instruction could deduct not one but two – or for that matter, three or more. The discovery of malicious code really calls for a thorough review of the Smartmatic source code.

3.Total votes in the transmitted ER was less than ten (nineteen machines). The printed ER has several hundred votes, but the transmitted ER has less than ten. The Comelec had earlier explained this away as follows: the board of election inspectors mistakenly transmitted the results of the previous final testing and sealing (FTS) instead of the May 10 results. This means that the FTS data are not zeroed, even if the May 10 data are zeroed at the start of voting. Here’s another case of malicious code. It means that the PCOS machines keep not one but two (and perhaps more) versions of vote data – the data from the FTS, and the authentic May 10 data.

4.Total votes in the printed ER was less than ten (four machines). The transmitted ER has several hundred votes, but the printed ER has less than ten. This confirms that the PCOS machine keeps not one but at least two versions of vote data. It also suggests that BEIs, although it is not in the Comelec general instructions, can actually choose which vote data to print or transmit. In the third type of discrepancy, the BEI correctly printed the May 10 vote data but inadvertently transmitted the FTS data. In the fourth type of discrepancy, they inadvertently printed the FTS vote data but correctly transmitted the May 10 vote data. They must have pressed some keys, or done something different, that would either print the FTS data, or transmit the FTS data. These are undocumented options apparently triggered by hidden commands the BEI must have inadvertently pressed. This is another case of malicious code.

Let us be more systematic about this. There are four possibilities: 1) print May 10 data, transmit May 10 data; 2) print FTS data, transmit FTS data; 3) print May 10 data, transmit FTS data; and 4) print FTS data, transmit May 10 data.

The first one is the honest option, if you want to report exactly what the PCOS machine says it counted. The fact that other possibilities exist already indicate the existence of malicious code.

The third and fourth possibilities are BEI mistakes, caught by the PPCRV as its third and fourth types of discrepancy, respectively. We have already confirmed that these possibilities exist. That there are only 23 cases, means only 23 BEIs made mistakes among those who knew about the hidden commands. This is the tip of the iceberg that PPCRV stumbled on but consider “minimal”.

The second one is the undetected dishonest case: the BEI sends a false report instead of what the PCOS machine counted. This will not show up as a discrepancy. To detect it, we can: 1) count the votes in the ballots and compare the results with the machine count; 2) examine the CF cards in case they still contain both the false and the authentic vote data; 3) search the PPCRV and Comelec database for ERs whose transmitted and printed versions both contain ten total votes or less. The last method will not work, however, if the FTS before the elections was secretly done not with ten ballots but with several hundred. In fact, this looks like a plausible cheating method.

We must thank the PPCRV for detecting these discrepancies. They prove the existence of malicious code in the Smartmatic software and suggest a way high-tech cheating could have been done. Now, we have clues and can investigate further.

20 May 2010



14 May 2010

Electronic election fraud?

Isn't it statistically improbable that Gibo Teodoro got only about 3.5 million votes in the recent presidential elections? Wasn't he at least more popular than Jose de Venecia in 1998? What about Erap Estrada and Bayani Fernando losing in their respective bailiwicks, and Manny Villar losing in his own precinct?

Curiously, the election figures closely follow the pre-election surveys of SWS and Pulse Asia. This seems eerily unusual.

More important than making one's preferred candidate win, is making the system of voting work. It will break the nation's heart if massive electronic cheating is eventually uncovered. More so if those who complain the loudest turn out to benefit the largest.

In the coming days, the Comelec, Smartmatic, PPCRV and the leading candidates will need to convince the majority of the voters that no "electronic election fraud" happened.

Acknowledging that the system is more important than the candidate, let's hope for the best that the May 2010 results reflected only a failure in the electoral campaign rather than a failure of elections. Then again we should also prepare for the worst.

Dodong aka Ka Kiko

* * *

A shot at the heart of the nation
FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) Updated May 15, 2010 12:00AM

The question before us is not about losing or winning. If that were the only reason we should hail the example of candidates who gallantly conceded in the presidential contest — Villar, Teodoro and Gordon as soon as the unofficial PPCRV count was out putting Noynoy ahead.

Like Al Gore, the losers who have conceded would rather preserve the peace and stability of the country by accepting the results. I go along with the spirit of sportsmanship of candidates who accepted their defeat. But that was not all there was to it.

There is a difference between what happened in the United States between George Bush and Al Gore. Gore’s graceful concession strengthened America and its institutions. As Tom Friedman of the New York Times wrote “Al Gore reinforced the system by his graceful concession; Mr. Bush will have to reinforce it by his presidency.” That was not to be and Americans learned their lesson at such a high cost.

* * *

Filipinos are expected to do the same with losers by taking it on the chin and forget that they had just gone through a grueling campaign that sometimes made us believe (erroneously in hindsight) it was only a matter of choosing candidates who were best for the country. To some it was not about candidates. The background chorus was about a growing resolve that it would also be the most honest with media and foreign observers keeping watch. But revelations have been pouring in that this may not have been the case.

Clean and honest elections by the new automated system was hailed as fool-proof against cheating. In the run up to May 10, it was said that any attempt to cheat would be blamed on the Arroyo administration. The basic reason for holding an election — to choose the best man or woman who would bring change was sidestepped. It was a shot at the heart of the nation.

When the precincts closed at 7 p.m. there was a sigh of relief — the elections were generally peaceful with only pockets of violence. The usual media outlets hailed the victory of automation against cheating because these were released to the public quickly. Not so fast. When the morning after came, some of the candidates and there lawyers were in shock and disbelief at the figures.

Some of those who complained were Erap who allegedly lost in San Juan and Bayani Fernando in Marikina. These numbers were unbelievable even if they came from the machines. They are not complaining about having lost. But you can’t blame them if they would like to know how they could have lost in their own bailiwicks. At this writing, there are teams of lawyers closely combing through the ballots and scrutinizing the system installed by Smartmatic. According to reliable sources, they are looking into why there were no media or civil society groups or party representatives who were present during the three days when the memory cards were reconfigured.

Various losing candidates are investigating to know just why and how it happened. Nicanor Perlas, Sen. Jamby Madrigal and J.C. de los Reyes may be the tail-enders but they are doing a great public service by leading the call for an investigation on just what went on with the machines with results that seemed to have been programmed rather than an accurate quick count. Only then would they concede.

As far as they are concerned the elections are not over until the last vote has been counted and audited. That is what Senator Mar Roxas said who is in a bitter fight against long time Makati mayor Jejomar Binay for the vice presidency.

Manoling Morato has come out on television that he was amazed when the PPCRV released the same percentages at 8.30 and again at 11.30 when more tallies had come in. There was not an iota of change on all four leading candidates. He said “It seemed that the percentages had been pre-set, as programmed.” Incidentally, they do not differ from the surveys. Even ANC anchors were surprised when despite the automation the PPCRV went ahead of the Comelec in tallying the votes. I heard one say, it seemed the roles were reversed. It was expected that Comelec and PPCRV would be doing parallel counts. The mounting criticisms and investigations may reveal that the automation may not have been fool-proof after all.

* * *

08 May 2010

Pedrosa article re Noynoy censored by PhilStar

This article of Carmen N. Pedrosa was intended for publication on the 08 May 2010 issue of the Philippine Star. Unfortunately, it was censored out. Even if you do not agree with the views of the writer, you will have to agree that the non-publication was a clear instance of abuse of media power in gross violation of the constitutional right to freedom of expression. Dodong aka Ka Kiko

From: carmen pedrosa
Date: Sat, May 8, 2010 at 8:58 AM
Subject: column not printed today
May 8, 2010 (Saturday) Carmen N. Pedrosa

The machines that will fail; letters from Boston

It is not as if it is being said for the first time. I repeat what others have said that failure of election will not come from the PCOS but from two other machines - FV (Filipino voter) and FC (Filipino candidates).

The machines are so out of date, they cannot function properly for the selection of leaders for our country. The FV is out of sync and performs as if it has nothing to do with why he is voting a particular FC. The FC operates within this flaw and produces results with nothing to do with FV.

That in brief is the problem we face when the results are known after May 10. When disaster strikes and the country malfunctions (with candidates declaring beforehand that they will not accept defeat) let us put the blame on those who refused to accept that the machines are not and cannot work unless these are fixed.

*       *       *
Among those I turned to in my quest for information that would help voters choose a qualified candidate to be our president is another family friend of both the Aquinos and the Agulars. They formed a tightly knit Filipino community in Boston. Let us just call him Jim because, he, too like so many others who have something to say about Noynoy as unfit to be president of the Philippines does not want to expose himself.
*       *       *
Dear Ms. Pedrosa

Just when I think of giving up on RP...because it doesn't want to be helped...I meet someone of your high stature---who is into saving RP (from dud leaders?). I am naturally encouraged again.

To go into your inquiry, I am sorry to tell you that I do not have any medical information about Noynoy.

Seriously, I don't hope to go into that route. I have always relied on my own personal observation and inference in evaluating a person, and that is how I form my idea of someone who should not even think of being president.

I'm sorry to sound preachy, but I think it is time for us Filipinos to discern that way about candidates who simply "like" public positions, but which are out of their aptitude.

The Agulars and I stayed together everyday of my trip there leading to the Upsilon reunion at the Manila Polo Club. Steve and I belong to that Batch. And to his widow and son's family, it was a sentimental reunion with "Steve's brods."

To this day, we are each other's extended families, as when we both lived in Massachusetts.

Personally, I think the Agulars, (especially the late Dr. S. Agular), are apolitical. But they are very loyal to family friends. The Aquinos are one.

In politics, I am more loyal to RP ( the Republic of the Philippines. That's why Gordon is my candidate. I wish to read more of your regular columns. I think we have many sensible things in common about what is good for RP.

This letter was followed by another.

Thank you for this attention…tho' undeserved... but I would rather not be another 'witness to corroborate' the imperfections of Noynoy. I believe we have enough evidence in the open to convince a nation that Noynoy should best be left to himself...not running for president...and certainly not be used---not by his sisters, not by his relatives, and not fussed about by the media.

Unfortunately, the RP media abetted this yet another political aberration. It's our culture and our habit to promote the bizarre and the incompetent, e.g. Erap, Lapid, Revilla, etc.

We prefer to be entertained, it seems that way. And this might sell newspapers, but it carries no responsibility.

I could not believe, for instance, the headlines that came out from both The Philippine Inquirer and the Philippine Star newspapers. They actually hailed the dramatic internal struggle of Noynoy to make a decision for the 'big plum.' Is there a movie about this heir cashing in on a huge political inheritance?

That's right...the media played a big part in making a Noynoy attractive to the millions of impressionable voters.  Of course, it's not lost in me that we (you & I?) might be that child yelling to the crowd that the king is shriveled in the head, and has no clothes.

But we have to look back some 30 years ago. How much can we rely on Pinoy "kantiyaw" humor...things said in anecdotal bantering of a small party of friends?

In MA then, I remember asking why ... "itong anak ni Ninoy ang layo kung sumagot."(not in the presence of Ninoy, of course.)

And the answer I got was: ..."kasi may kulang." ...which was consistent with what I thought was a missing bolt in his head. (never occurred to me that he would run for president, let alone his mother, Cory!...years after. Cory, I think, was a disaster for RP.)

Thirty years since...I repeated the incident, and the answer I got was: "ikaw naman...! 'di naman gano'n ang ibig sabihin ng "kulang".

And what did it mean? The explanation was that...he was "kulang sa pansin ng tatay"....because all the attention was given to the (spoiled) youngest, Kris. And this, supposedly, had a big impact on the "kid."

I see...but not quite. I may get into EXPLANATIONS, but still this is not the DISCUSSION I want to get into with my friends. So I left this matter to rest. Besides, it is a 30 year-old personal observation of a "kid". Times have changed. I'm often chided. Even some people are able to get out of cancer, so I'm reminded.

Today, I am further reassured, "Have you heard Noynoy speak lately? He KNOWS how to speak in public now."

And is this why 'that kid' is urged to run for president?!?

*       *       * 
These letters reinforce the opinion that the validity of a psychiatric report on a person’s ability to lead does not rest on whether the report was signed. Indeed the report can be true even without a signature.

What is necessary is that what it reports can be verified through other means. It is not the signature that makes the report. Experts arrive at their conclusions by observation, asking questions and then evaluating their observations through the prism of knowledge through textbooks and experience. Ordinary people can do the same without having formal expertise.

Reports do not become bogus for a lack of signature. The details of the report have been reported widely and interpreted by its readers according to what they hear, what they see, and make their own profile of the person concerned.

06 May 2010

Surveys as pre-election cheating?

There's now a surge to put Gibo in MalacaƱang!
SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) Updated May 07, 2010 12:00 AM

Yesterday we featured the Smart/Philippine STAR survey that shows Gibo and Noynoy Aquino are in a virtual tie in almost all issues and that survey only proves to one and all that the SWS & Pulse Asia surveys were manipulated. This story came out in the left front page of The Philippine STAR last Thursday entitled, “Noynoy kin, allies, behind Pulse, SWS’. Proof of the pudding is the Smart/Philippine STAR surveys that Gibo isn’t ranking only a single-digit as what SWS and Pulse Asia was selling to us.

It is also fact that this week alone, GIBO has suddenly experienced a last minute surge obviously coming from the silent majority or the undecided voters who took the slogan “Kaming Walang Kibo; Ay para kay Gibo!” Again proof of this comes from an email sent to me yesterday.

“Sir for the past days I have been trying to gauge voters’ sentiments in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in order to gauge if Gibo could really be a “Dark Horse” candidate. It appears there is a steady surge of support for Gilbert Theodoro’s candidacy. Proof to this is the fact that GIbo’s official fan page grew from 260,000 fans to around 330,000 in less than 24 hours. I wanted to ask you if you notice a similar welling of support in the form of reactions to your column. Thanks. RB Osorio, 4th year student BS International Relations major in Diplomacy Lyceum of the Philippines U.”

Mr. Osorio, truth to tell, my Facebook and my emails have been deluged with letters thanking me for enlightening our readers on the truth about Gibo Teodoro. Although I did get a few nasty ones, who tell me that I’m a liar, a braggart and yes, some even asking me how much is Gibo paying me for the columns we write. All I can say to these people who deals on hatred is, “God forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” But this is part of my neighborhood being a columnist. These people do not even know that I am based in Cebu. But if I’m getting less than 1 percent nasty letters, then there must be something good that I am doing. 

Again for our final plea… especially to those who are undecided at this time that they shouldn’t be fooled into believing that yarn that a vote for Gibo is a vote for Manny Villar. This idiocy has been debunked by the Smart/Philippine STAR survey. Hence a vote for Gibo is a vote for Gibo!

04 May 2010

Cardinal hits call for people power

Rosales reacts to Aquino’s warning of poll fraud

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:36:00 05/03/2010

MANILA, Philippines—A senior church prelate Sunday said that warnings of another “people power” outburst if next week’s elections were marred by massive fraud were “crazy (and) irresponsible” and the conditions that produced the 1986 popular revolt were not present now.

“The laws are not done in the streets,” Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said in a talk with reporters, adding that the 1986 People Power Revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos was “an extraordinary situation.”

“You don’t do that again. That’s why we have the laws now,” he added.

Rosales made the statement when asked by a reporter to comment on a statement by Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III that people might again take to the streets if he were cheated of victory in the presidential election.

Rosales said he had not heard anyone make that statement but that he disagreed with such sentiments.

“I did not hear that but if anyone said that, that is (an) irresponsible statement,” he said.

People are sovereign

Aquino, the front-runner in surveys conducted by the polling outfits Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, was quoted in a media report as saying during a campaign sortie in Pangasinan province that “sovereignty resides in the people.”

“If they feel their will has been thwarted, I’m sure they will again regain sovereignty among themselves,” he said.

The same report quoted Aquino as saying that “it’s premature to call for people power.”

An ABS-CBN report last week quoted dissident Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon as saying that if politicians manipulated the results of the elections, “the people will come out … We have no choice but people power.”

Asked for clarification of Aquino’s position, his spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told the Inquirer by phone Sunday: “If it is clear that he lost because he was cheated, or through failure of elections, then that (people power) is an option that he will take.”

“If he lost in an honest, clean and orderly elections, then he will abide by the results,” Lacierda added.

‘Let’s use our head’

Rosales said that if there was a basis to call for people power, he was not averse to it, but he indicated that he saw no reason to call for any mass movement now.

He said the situation in 1986, when Filipinos turned out in massive numbers to oust Marcos, was different from the current situation.

“Why inject that, why infuse that into the present situation?” Rosales said.

“Remember, at that time there was a dictator and the dictator was there with no real credible election, only referendum, and it was (for) as long as 20 years. Good heavens. Do you repeat that? No, come on, let’s use our head. These are two different things.”

Rosales said that anybody in the place of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, who called on Filipinos to support the military rebels against Marcos in 1986, would have to do what he did.

But Rosales said that at the time, there were “unimaginable things,” such as there having been no credible elections for 20 years.

“Come on, come on, that’s just crazy, crazy, crazy,” he said. “These are two different things. That’s why whoever said that, that’s a little different. Whoever said that, I have never heard him, but [that] kind of thinking is irresponsible thinking.”

‘No, for heaven’s sake’

Asked if he would call for people power if the elections would not be credible, Rosales said he would not since there were legal recourses that people could take.

“No. For heaven’s sake, there is the Constitution. All these are covered by provisions of the Constitution. If there are complaints, credible, you go to the Comelec, you go (to) Congress, because you still have that,” he said.

Rosales lamented that Filipinos were always in a hurry, which was why, he said, they had failed to develop into a better people and tended to call for people power easily.

“We are always in a hurry,” he said. “We forget to grow in citizenship and to develop a real credible nation. To reach a stage where we mature as a nation and also [as a] people will take time.” With a report from Philip Tubeza