Karol Anne M. Ilaga and Malou Mangahas
Philippine Middle for Investigative Journalism
Election officers and observers have declared the May 2019 elections fraudulent, but by all indications, their use and
the number of functioning 3,414 voice counter (VCM) data, 4,067 faulty secure digital (SD) reminiscence playing cards, and pencils that leaked to the poll, virtually all pens have been replaced at the final minute.
These disasters have been not with out penalties as election statement teams reported late opening of queries, long queues and delays throughout the nation. Such discomfort might have, amongst other issues, discouraged voters from ready for his or her flip to vote.
But from the Election Commission (Comelec) and out of doors sources, PCIJ has discovered from a couple of and doubtless extra critical shortcomings:  A collection of avoidable delays in procuring goods and providers that resulted in four revisions to the election calendar;
VCMs, SD playing cards and pen pens are smaller things, it appears.
One of the most important points is Voter Registration Verifiers or VRVMs, the second costliest contract in Comelec's last election, value almost a billion pesos. (Solely the Smartmatic TIM Company wins the PhP1.178 billion Election Results Secured Broadcasting, Administration, and Associated Providers together with Knowledge Middle Necessities (ERSTSMRS) contract.)
Is Controversial it has not been absolutely mentioned in public and is at present limited to whispering among Comelec and survey watchdogs. However the reality is that two out of three 27,747 VRVMs that Comelec had hired for pilot testing as a result of many areas didn't work at all. The contract worth or taxpayers' money might probably be wasted on this contract: Php 987 146 922 or about 18 % of the ballot physique's complete spending in the course of the May 2019 elections.
General, Comelec raised approximately Php 4,024 billion for 23 totally different contracts. items and providers for last May's elections. Nevertheless, it had granted a better approved price range settlement (ABC) of ESP 5 279 billion for all 23 contracts. In all instances, 23 contracts have been signed at a considerably lower price than all ABCs, main to a PhP 1.256 billion surplus or a combined worth volatility of 23.78%.
A minimum of 16 of the 23 contracts awarded have been 10 to 70% decrease than ABCs, indicating that Comelec apparently was unable to evaluate and safe the ABCs for the goods and providers it wanted according to secure market standards and venture research.
The Dodged Guidelines
The 4 most problematic contracts, value Php 1.32 billion in complete, came beneath Comelec's circumstances, which seem to have affected authorities procurement rules.
For one, bundled contracts on a poll paper (Php127.28 million) and pencils. (Php. 26,54 million) was awarded to the one collaborating contractor in the negotiation process who had been unsuccessful in two previous unsuccessful tenders for the same contract.
The contractor, Triplex Enterprises Inc., lists Pedro O. Tan as president and others named Tan as officers and shareholders. Between 2007 and 2019, it acquired a total of Php 1.38 billion in contracts with government procurement, national printing and different government businesses.
Second, SDC cards have been awarded a PhP 22.5 million contract. a potential joint venture or three way partnership between two corporations: S1 Technologies Inc. and Silicon Valley Pc Group Phils., Inc., which has three aside from the same seven directors and officers. JV Partners, who own workplaces in residential addresses in Quezon Metropolis, embrace Joel L. Pe, Mei Nga Ko, Aileen Co., Tiffany Okay. Tia, Nelson Okay. Co., Reyna S. Isla and Milagros R. Fernandez. Toni Teefane Chunpeng is co-director of S1 Applied sciences, while Jeanette C. Co and Christine Tan are nicknames for the Silicon Valley pc group.
In 2015-2019, Silicon Valley gained contracts value a complete of PhP 97,961,164.72. authorities businesses. Its largest shoppers have been the Davao City Authorities and the Philippine Statistical Authority in Space 12 or SOCCSKARGEN, for which it has gained contracts value Php 14.four million and PhP four.5 million.
S1 Technologies, in turn, had obtained PhP 360.5 million contracts from 2007-2019 from several authorities businesses headed by the Ministry of Well being.
Comelec concludes four most problematic contracts for the May 2019 elections. nevertheless, the costliest is the lease for the pilot testing of VRVMs, with a finances of ESP 1.16 billion (out of the unique $ 727 million initially allotted in 2016).
. VRVMs have been to be half of Comelec's efforts to block "flying voters" or those making an attempt to vote either in multiple place or utilizing the identify of one other voter. Utilizing stay fingerprint scanning know-how, VRVMs are designed to confirm a voter's id and decide if she or he is registered in a specific area.
In the course of the 2019 vote, 32,067 VRVM pilot exams have been accredited. areas from the unique plan of only 23,000 counties in 2016. The machines have been used in 14 areas: Manila City, Quezon Metropolis, Caloocan Metropolis, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Area of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and provinces including all cities, Pangasinan, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur and Misamis Oriental.
But since most of the leased models have been not in use at all, as a result of electoral officers might not use them or because they have been malfunctioning, Comelec did not have enough basis to announce the complete implementation of the challenge in the 2022 elections. The machines can nonetheless be used to register voters – that is, if Comelec decides to purchase troubled machines on or before August 31.
Jose M. Tolentino Jr., CEO of Comelec, stated in early June. In a congressional Joint Supervisory Committee (JCOC) hearing on an automatic electoral system, only 33% of leased models "worked properly without problems" whereas 66% have been not in use as a result of of electoral issues. He additionally stated that an estimated 3,900 models had "natural defects".
The Comelec Protocol, pp. 19-0641, bears the views of Tolentino. Indeed, in accordance to a decision acquired by the PCIJ on 24 July, 66% or two of the three VRVMs put in place both malfunctioned or not used at all.
The resolution also said that in 17 out of 19 pilot areas, VRVMs have been not working or have been not used at all; the inactivity fee ranged from 51.50% to 100%.
Cotabato Metropolis additionally stated in a decision adopting the Comelec Election and Barangay Affairs (EBAD) report on the implementation of the voter registration system (VRVS). , Iloilo and Tawi-Tawi had the very best proportion of inactivity / inactivity.
Not all of the 145 models in Cotabato City have been used. More than eight out of ten VRVMs used in Iloilo (2,176,2572 plane) and Tawi-Taw (268,329 plane) have been also unused in accordance to the decision.
Of the five largest provinces with the very best VRVM deployment, only Pangasinan had a utilization price of greater than 50 %. Others, Cebu, Cavite, Iloilo and Negros Occidental, had low utilization rates from 15% to 31%.
Comelec's EBAD reported that Pangasinan reported the "highest percentage of VRVM functionality / usage" (60.64%). , Misamis Oriental (52.08 %) and Nueva Ecija (48.50 %). Regardless of this info, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez stated in an interview every week ago that he was not aware of VRVM malfunctions, though he acknowledged that in many locations. , the machines have been not even used.
He reported that numerous causes led to the inactivity of VRVMs in many areas: machines have been packed early because academics had encountered difficulties; The BARMM native authorities determined to use solely the record of computerized voters on election day; and some board inspectors (BEIs) and survey staff combined their directions and decided not to use the machines anymore.
In accordance to Jimenez, the confusion had to do with procedures for starting machines, which have to be subject to a certain order. Comelec offered coaching on how to use the machine, however added that the manned questionnaires apparently do not keep in mind the teachings quite properly. It is true that this story has greater than a failed reminiscence or confusion with the directions of the elements.
& # 39; Technical bug & # 39;
On May 8, 2019, just five days before polling day, Comelec En Banc decided to change the overall tips for the use of VRVMs due to obvious supplier oversight. . The overall instructions issued by Comelec in April had been a reference to the training that was used by the election officers to use the VRVM gear.
Commissioner Marlon S. Casquejo later expressed his disagreement with the last-minute change, which meant that registration and validation of the BEI was not required. Casquejo wrote in his disagreement on May 14, 2019 that the service supplier used a special model of the system through the coaching and that the whole lot had labored out then. But there was an error with the vendor updating the system every time the BEI credentials have been registered.
“We're talking about millions of nests just for training; the venue rental and food reservations are not yet included, ”Casquejo stated. "With these last-minute changes, training, materials and manuals would be redundant – all because we want to adjust to the service provider's mistake."
In accordance to him, the Fee ought to not "compromise". own resolution to modify service provider failure or unpredictability to deliver the promised output. "
" This is not just a typo, "he added." A technical error was caused by the service provider, which resulted in the service provider being unable to deliver the services it promised. If the latter cannot comply, the solution is to terminate the contract at the service provider's expense. . "
A number of questions
Casquejo's disagreement over the last-minute revision of the Basic Tips was ignored. 19659002] However the concern would later be one of the key VRV system points that electoral officials mentioned within the EBAD report. Different points they listed have been" login questions " ) With EB feed "; machines that cling, freeze or shut down routinely; fingerprint scanning and guide search features that have been behind Some voters might not be identified by fingerprinting. malfunctions brought on by passwords issued to customers; and issues with the printing features of the machines.
Election officials additionally condemned the shortage of technical help by VRVM subject technicians. The unified reporting system that the contractor for the Nationwide Technical Help Middle was to ship was not used within the VRV technical help mode. Calls to VRV technical help have been manually recorded or recorded. Also, Gemalto / NextIX might not produce common stories and statistics.
As a result of of these issues, many BEIs determined to cease utilizing VRVM and resorted to EDCVL, the report said
. The VRVM provider uses a special model of the system than the one used in the training of election officials, and has pressured Comelec to withhold further expenses value roughly one billion pesos from the availability contract.
Throughout a public hearing organized by regulation enforcement, Comelec CEO Tolentino reported that Comelec has issued a decision stating that its finance department will suspend anticipated payments to VRVM suppliers, Gemalto Philippines Inc. and NextIX Inc., till the Fee completes its investigation into the undertaking fiasco. To date, nevertheless, Comelec has already paid 17% of its contract to the Gemalno / NextIX three way partnership for ESP 987 million, or ESP 167,eight million.
Although Commissioner Luie Tito F signed a decision on upgrading the ABC of the VRV venture. Guia had expressed early reservations concerning the venture. Guia said in Protocol 18-0546 of 24 August 2018 that the pilot check did not embrace a transparent implementation plan, resembling requirements, measures and standards, in addition to a transparent foundation for deciding whether the challenge might be carried out on a larger scale
. in carrying out large-scale public funding in IT tasks, "Guia wrote, including that Comelec also needs to guarantee that it is accredited by the related businesses. such because the Division of Info and Communication Know-how (DICT) or even the National Economic (and) Improvement Authority (NEDA) is a requirement for costly tasks akin to VRVP.
too huge for a pilot
Guia additionally pointed out. that the target quantity of models seemed too excessive to carry out the pilot alone. According to him, 32,000 models is already a 3rd of what a full implementation would require. He pointed out that the ABC challenge additionally broke the FIM 1 billion by PhP 1.144 billion.
"The pilot may lead to a decision to either accept or reject the test," Guia wrote. "If the decision is rejected, over a billion pesos from the pilot will be absolutely high."
The commissioner recommended that it might make more sense to prohibit the undertaking to areas recognized to have a substitute vote or
Jimenez has subsequently advised the PCIJ that Comelec needed sufficient giant pattern so that the inquiry body can acquire all potential mixtures of circumstances. He stated in 2008 that a pilot check for automated elections was also carried out in the Muslim Mindanao Autonomous Region, which additionally had a huge inhabitants.
"The argument was that if you can do it in such a difficult place, you can do it all over the country, no problem," Jimenez stated. "I think similar thinking was the basis for decision making – if you can do it on a sufficiently large pilot, then doing the national scale should be a walk in the park."
Some election officers assume otherwise. They advised the PCIJ that the system should not be reused, "because it did not speed up the voting process but slowed it down due to malfunctions." The EBAD report additionally requested electoral officers to make particular suggestions for or towards. Use of VRV System in Elections 2022.
Different Comelec insiders provide certified help for the VRV system by saying that even when the system ought to be reused, "the system should be upgraded and improved." They stated that rigorous testing ought to have been accomplished for software integrity and hardware sustainability, extra complete coaching on VRVM functionality, and a “more efficient and responsive technical support system provided by the contractor” for operation and troubleshooting.
These insiders also advised that VRVM technicians be employed by Comelec so as to be held more accountable. They added that VRVM ought to be made extra user-friendly and streamlined.
The VRVM Agreement was awarded to a joint venture between NextIX, Inc. and Gemalto Phils., Inc. on December four, 2018, or just 5 months prior to the vote. Neither firm has responded to PCIJ's queries since this writing.
In accordance to Gemalto's 2016 Common Knowledge Sheet, virtually all or 99.99% of the company's shares are held by Gemalto Holdings Pre Ltd, a Singapore-based microprocessor firm. cards and provider of retailers, software program and service. Gemalno's dad or mum firm is a digital safety company based mostly in Amsterdam with the identical identify.
Dutch-based Gemalto, half of the French Thales Group, supplies software program purposes, safe personal units resembling sensible playing cards, and different providers. It has offered electronic passports, driving licenses and citizens' id playing cards to nations all over the world. In September 2018, the Estonian authorities filed a lawsuit towards Gemalto for accumulating up to € 152 million in alleged security flaws in the company-issued citizens' id playing cards. Gemalto additionally described the hacking events related to its manufactured SIM playing cards between 2010 and 2011, which have been introduced and confirmed in 2015.
Again to this nation, a joint venture between NetIX, Inc. and Gemalto Pte. Ltd has also submitted to the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) the bottom calculated bid for the supply, delivery and managed providers of registration packages for the construction of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) or the National Id Certificate System intercepting the "cradle to the grave".
The second lowest bidder for the PhilSys challenge is Dermalog, which can also be a Gemalto associate in a contract previously tendered by the Land Transport Agency (LTO), according to the current Philippines. Every day Inquirer Report.
Who Owns Gemalto?
Of the opposite 5 nominal shareholders of Gemalto Phils., Inc., two are overseas: Michael Au (Canadian) and Lim Pei Ee (Singaporean). Both Au and Ee are based mostly in Singapore. The remaining are Filipinos: Samson Uy Ching, Magilyn T. Loja and Abelaine T. Alcantara.
In Makati City, Gemalto Phils., Inc. is primarily engaged in "manufacturing, customizing, importing, exporting". , buy, sale, distribution, promotion, design, improvement, purchase, maintenance, design, meeting, installation, advertising of custom-made pc packages, software program and hardware for electronic knowledge processing and storage, wholesale of sensible cards, magnetic tapes, card customization and related playing cards merchandise and purposes, hardware, software, techniques, associated features and the goods, machines, and belongings used or useful in connection therewith. " NextIX is a household owned business based mostly in Cebu City. Next registered with the Securities and Change Commission (SEC) on August 31, 2005, NextIX is engaged in analysis and improvement of Internet-based communication units. It also acts as an middleman within the provision of telecommunications providers.
alone, Gemalto is taken into account a overseas journalist underneath Philippine regulation as a result of it is an entity with lower than 60% Filipino ownership or possession. There are several circumstances that a overseas bidder must meet before being allowed to bid. In the case of a voter registration verification challenge or VRVP, Gemalto qualified as it began a three way partnership with a Filipino firm.
Amongst these eligible beneath the Revised Implementing Rules of 2016 and Republic Act 9184. for the availability of items, resembling VRVMs, are people or entities that type themselves into a three way partnership with at least 60% possession or ownership in the Philippines.
A replica of the settlement between Gemalno and NextIX exhibits that NextIX holds 60% of the three way partnership and Gemalno holds 40%. In accordance to the doc, NextIX is a "lead partner" and "joint venture leader". The latter shall be chargeable for negotiating the phrases, obligations and instructions of any agreement or on behalf of the Joint Enterprise. . NextIX CEO Roberto Jesus A. Suson and Gemalto Approved Signatory Clarisse Gazzingan Cayetano signed a joint venture settlement on November 27, 2018.
A assessment of tender and quotation info from March 2000 to March 2019 was revealed. According to the Philippine Authorities Digital Procurement System (PhilGEPS), Gemalto had one earlier authorities contract: "Manufacture, customization and delivery of 600,000 Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) compatible cards" at the headquarters of the Improvement Bank. Philippine Islands. A contract value Php 27.8 million was signed on June 22, 2016.
PhilGEPS knowledge also exhibits that NextIX has gained contracts for six authorities businesses and local government models totaling PhP 80.6 million in 2012- 2017. businesses embrace the Division of Social Welfare and Improvement, Department of Commerce and Business, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Philippine Submit Office, National Printing House, Philippine Knowledge Middle Improvement Financial institution, and City of Makati.
As well as, PhilGEPS knowledge exhibits the 2017 agreement with NextIX to purchase a five-year driver's license from Inland. The contract, valued at PhP 8229.67 million, is NextIX's largest cope with a government company and represents greater than 50 % of the ABC of the VRV challenge.
As part of the VRV undertaking's bidding requirements, the Gemalto and NextIX three way partnership submitted a certificates of acceptance and other paperwork from the Commission's Electorale Nationale, a document unbiased of France, displaying that Gemalto had completed a $ 29.08 million election file evaluate challenge. US $, or equal to PhP 1.285 billion, based mostly on the trade fee in 2015 when the transaction was signed.
Nevertheless, NextIX and Gemalto individually would not have exceeded the Internet Asset Requirement (NFCC) as a result of their financial place is nicely under the agreed price range. So as to be accepted, the NFCC have to be at least as giant as the ABC.
The newest financial statements obtainable to Gemalto and NextIX point out that the funds of these two corporations might not be enough to provide a challenge value almost a billion pesos.
For example, NextIX's present belongings in 2014 have been only Pta 16.2 million, while its current liabilities have been Pta 11.four million. Gemalto Phils. The company had present belongings of Php 67.6 million in 2015 and present liabilities of Php 46.four million.
Though these two corporations do not have present contracts and supply a undertaking of more than two years, the most important NFCC NextIX and Gemalto would solely be Php 97.eight million and Ph234,9 million respectively.
Nevertheless, when buying items, the provider might provide a binding credit standing from a common or business bank, as an alternative of NFCC calculation. That's what Gemalto did.
A post-graduate report from Comelec's Technical Working Group (TWG) exhibits that Gemalto offered a credit score certificates issued by Commonplace Chartered Financial institution dated September 6, 2018, for PhP 117 million or equivalent. To 10 % of ABC. On October 22, 2018, Normal Chartered confirmed the credit restrict via one of its trade service managers.
Two other corporations had participated within the bid for the VRV venture. According to an official report by the Authorized Fact Election Community (LENTE), which observes the survey, a spokesman for a potential joint venture firm SMMT-TIM & Smartmatic famous shortly after the announcement of tenders that another bidder had not adopted Comelec's directions. Apparently, that they had solely delivered quotes that excluded the purchase. Gemalto's adviser and a consultant of one other bidder, Dermalog, said that that they had complied with the requirement by putting "FILLED" in the tender types. Nevertheless, an examination of the varieties submitted by TWG revealed that no amount was reported.
According to the LENTE report, after careful consideration by the Particular Promotions and Awards Committee (SBAC), its chairman, Director Julio Thaddeus Hernan, requested. Representatives of Gemalto, NextIX and Dermalog testify in their manifestations that when or if Comelec chooses to exercise the decision choice, it pays zero. Each bidders replied yes and all bidders signed a summary.
The Comelec TWG Publish-Schooling Report exhibits that the Gemalto-NextIX Joint Enterprise complied, but a number of gadgets have been marked with "**" and "*** & # 39; Note & # 39; ** & # 39; means & # 39; refer to the offer documents & # 39; and & # 39; *** & # 39; means & # 39; HAT (Hardware and Approval Test) subject to delivery (during contract execution), including any other technical information that can be verified by customization only. "
Jimenez reported that the Gemalto-NextIX Joint Enterprise handed the examination, which included a collection of checks that included the use of the system from start to end. But he stated most of the testing was completed after the contract was signed. – PCIJ, August 2019
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