Archive for May 29, 2009

Poll machine insides must be videotaped

GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc, The Philippine Star,  May 29, 2009

NP spokesman Gilbert Remulla is someone my Cavite clan considers a political enemy, since he beat our uncle in the 2001 congressional election. And yet they swear by his character. Gilbert never stole or land-grabbed during his two terms in office, my kinfolk aver. They know him to be a decent fellow, and so understand his hurt in being falsely accused. I knew him before he plunged into politics to be a decent newsman too. Virtually unopposed he had run for a second term in 2004 because political leaders wanted a good man to succeed.

* * *

It’s a delicate balancing act for the Comelec. The lone qualifying bidder in the poll automation, Smartmatic-TIM is now demonstrating the capability of its precinct count optical scanners. Smartmatic-TIM needs to keep confidential the proprietary features of its machines, and thus want only selected persons to view the test-runs. But the bidding process has to be as transparent as possible. So the special bids-and-awards committee (SBAC) had to let losing bidders watch, but with limited number of reps. The latter protested, arguing that experts in different aspects of election computerization had to monitor based on their specialized fields. But the SBAC put its foot down: only two reps per bidder, that’s that.

As Smartmatic-TIM ballot counters hummed into action Wednesday, another issue cropped up. It was pointed out that electronic gadgets could interfere with or even sabotage the accuracy of vote tallying. It’s a good thing that nothing of the sort happened during the first six of 26 test-run criteria. But things can go awry. And so the SBAC ruled that no cellular phones were to be allowed the next day, yesterday. The possibility arose that tape recorders and video cameras, ubiquitous electronic gadgets in the very contentious bidding, would be banned as well. On the other hand, such recorders are basic tools for transparent proceedings. The SBAC also noted that risks posed by electronic gadgets were not mentioned in bidding rules prepared by the Comelec technical committee. Yet the perils are real and grave that partisan saboteurs on Election Day can sneak electronic mini-devices into counting centers to alter balloting results. So the SBAC ruled that the automation contractor must install features to counteract such widgets.

The SBAC security imposition is new but necessary. And since it has waded into the unprecedented, the SBAC might as well set other security measures. Like, if Smartmatic-TIM passes all 26 criteria and thus bags the supply contract, the Comelec must videotape the insides of its counters. This is to prevent bait-and-switch, which dishonest equipment suppliers employ to maximize profit. In bait-and-switch, the seller displays an A-1 machine, but delivers inferior items to the unsuspecting buyer. It’s like hooking a first-time car buyer to test-drive a sleek P5-million Mercedes Benz, but delivering a Minica and insisting it’s what he chose.

This is not to say that Smartmatic-TIM will bait-and-switch. But the Comelec needs to protect the credibility of the election. This depends on the accuracy and durability of the 82,200 counting machines it will buy from Smartmatic-TIM — or from ES&S-AMA if it too qualifies. Videotaping the insides of the poll counters would give the Comelec basis for comparing demonstrated and delivered machines. More so since Smartmatic-TIM already served up a very attractive bait: a bid of P7.2 billion, which is 37 percent way below the Comelec automation budget of P11.3 billion.

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Apologists of the offender are now ganging up on Katrina Halili. Supposedly she seduced the poor doc into bed with prohibited sex-enhancers. Supposedly her crying on TV about their videotaped tryst being made public and even her filing of charges with the NBI were all scripted. Supposedly she is not the only sufferer here since the male partner also was needlessly exposed.

Their chatter is empty in light of the basics. The lovemaking, even if consensual, never was meant for public display via video-copies. Merely videotaping it surreptitiously violated Katrina. Even if she had allowed the taping, distributing it was hurtful emotionally, psychologically, personally and professionally. Katrina is the victim of an offender who has no sincerity to apologize without having to insert “condemn the sin and not the sinner.” She deserves support, especially for her courage in standing up to defend her and all women’s rights against abusive lotharios.

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E-mail: jariusbondoc@workmail.com

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May 29, 2009 at 12:55 am Leave a comment

Ngiti naman diyan

SAPOL Ni Jarius Bondoc Pilipino Star Ngayon, May 29, 2009 12:00 AM

Ina siya ng tatlo nang bumalik sa kolehiyo. Huling subject na niya ang Sociology. Nakaka-inspira ang propesor, kaya ganado siya sa inatas sa klase na huling proyekto. Pamagat nito’y “Ngumiti”, at bawat estudyante ay lalabas at ngingiti sa tatlong tao para itala ang resulta.

Palabati siya, kaya para sa kanya’y madali lang ang class project. Kinabukasan, bumabagyo, tumungo sila ng mister at bunso sa hamburger joint. Walang pasok kaya pagkakataon mag-quality time sa isa’t-isa. Nakapila sila para um-order nang biglang nagsilayuan ang mga tao sa paligid. Pati mister niya napaatras.

Hindi siya umalis sa kinatatayuan, pero nakaramdam ng kilabot gumapang sa batok. At noon niya naamoy ang matinding sangsang ng maruming katawan ng tao. Nili-ngon niya kung saan nanggagaling ang baho, at na­pansin ang dalawang hukot at matatandang pulubing lalaki.

Nang titigan niya sila, ngumiti ang unang pulubi. At nakita niya sa mata nito ang paghingi ng pagtanggap. “Magandang araw,” anang pulubi habang binibilang ang barya sa kamay. Humuhuni-huni sa sarili ang isa pang pulubi, kaya nabatid ng estudyanteng ina na sinto-sinto ito at umaasa lang sa unang pulubi para sa kapakanan.

Nginitian din niya ang dalawa at pinauna sa pila. “Isang kape lang sa amin, Miss,” anang unang pulubi sa salesgirl. “Hati kami, pampainit lang, kasi malamig ang ulan sa labas.”

Nang siya na ang oorder, ibinili niya ng tig-isang almu­sal ang mga pulubi. Ihinatid niya ito sa mesa kung saan naghahati ang dalawa sa kape. Niyakap niya ang unang pulubi, at lumuluhang sinabihan, “Napakalaki ng puso mo, mapagmahal ka’t ma­tulungin, ito ang munting regalo ko.”

“Salamat,” muling ngiti ng pulubi. Pati ang sinto-sintong kasama ay ngumiti at tumango, tila naiin­tin­dihan ang eksena. Nang umupo na siya sa mesa ng mister at anak, hinalikan siya nito. “Napa­kalaki ng puso mo, kaya nag­pa­pasalamat ako sa Diyos na binigay ka   Niya sa   akin.” Lahat din ng mga tao sa paligid nakangi-ti sa kanya. Nang i-submit niya ang report, naantig ang prope­sor at humingi ng pahintulot na ikalat sa In­ternet ang true story na ito.

May 29, 2009 at 12:00 am Leave a comment


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