By MANUEL L. MORATÓ
Believe it or not
In 1995 when the PCSO started the lotto using the computerized betting machines, manufactured by ILTS or International Lottery Totalizator System, the company that owns the intellectual property; based in San Diego, California. I wish to inform the public that the machines used by the lotto gaming are the only computerized machines that is tamper-proof.
Before the lotto gaming could start in the country, there were originally over five systems provider in the world; and PGMC, Philippine Gaming Management Corporation won the bidding. That was the time of my predecessor, Dr. Mita Pardo de Tavera, then chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) whom I succeeded.
When I took over, the bidding was over and the winner was already declared. The PGMC won to provide their system for the entire country. But then President Ramos decided to divide the country to avoid monopoly. I was told to give Luzon exclusively to PGMC. Luzon was to be operated exclusively by PGMC and Visayas/Mindanao was given to G-Tech and Tanjung (the second placer in the bidding) which later was taken over by Pacific On Line.
The purpose of my writing this column is to help find a solution to our dishonest voting system replete with cheating, computerized by the machines of Smartmatic. To this day, our problem of cheating has not been resolved.
I had mentioned in my previous column that Smartmatic was used in the State of Illinois when Obama ran for President of the United States. But the results were heavily contested and Smartmatic, the machines used in that election in Illinois was banned by the U.S. from providing its system ever again. The question we should all ask is: Why did our Comelec chose Smartmatic after that well-publicized incident in Illinois?
What I am getting into is to help President Duterte find a “fraud-free” machines for our elections.
In 1996 after the lotto was given the go-signal to operate, the COA and other government agencies investigated the lotto system thoroughly and found it tamper-proof. I called on the Comelec and Namfrel for a luncheon meeting at Mario’s Restaurant in Quezon City and the Comelec was represented by Commissioner Teresita (sorry I forgot her last name) to represent the Comelec. That was the time the Comelec was already considering of computerizing the elections.
I invited Mr. Bill McPhail of ILTS to come to Manila to explain if the lotto machines can be used for voting in our election in 1998. He told that group that the lotto machines can be used for the election and it’s tamper-proof. It can also be used for census, etc…
I even remarked if we can stop the lotto betting for one day on election day. He said, there is no need to stop for these machines used by the PGMC and manufactured by ILTS can be used for voting in an election at the same time. The people can bet and vote at the same time. I was then PCSO Chairman and I remarked that we will reserve the day of the elections only for voting.
I asked how much would it cost to prepare the machines. He said that it would take six months to do the software to be inserted to the Main Computer Center; and the cost? 300,000 dollars of which at the time would only amount to ten to fifteen million pesos.
There was a law that must be amended by Congress, however. Our votes travel to many places before it reaches the Comelec. The computerized system we are using today is like the manual voting. From the precinct to the municipal and beamed again to another server. That law must be changed if we ever continue a computerized election. I have no space to go into detail. I will continue in my next column on Saturday. If I ran for President in 1998, it was actually to find the defect of our manual election. The ballot boxes are taken to the precinct level to the municipal where the cheating actually took place. The buying of votes I was told by a senator-friend was done in the munisipiyo. But amazingly enough, the Smartmatic had to follow the way of the manual voting for its in our law.
To correct and to free the cheating in our election, we must use the lotto system; that is, from the betting station straight to the Main Computer System where the results are known in only 30 minutes after the voting closes. More in my next column.
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Our deepest condolences to the family of Eduardo P. Mari who passed away last Sunday morning of pneumonia at age 82. His remains is at Funeraria Paz, Manila Memorial, Sucat, Paranaque.
To his children he left behind, we know that your beloved father is now in heaven with your beloved mother: Charlie, Mariles, Louie, Eduardo, Rocio (my niece-in-law, widow of my late nephew, Tom Morato; together with my two grandnieces Ana and Carol); Patricia and Melissa. My sympathy as well to the other relatives, brothers and sisters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law.
Burial is on Wednesday, June 5 at 10:00 A.M. in Manila Memorial.
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