HOWIE SEE IT: Hope For Hope

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By Atty. Howie Calleja

For Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections (HOPE), election coalition 1SAMBAYAN launched last April 22 its poll watchers’ election monitoring initiative featuring a newly created mobile application that seeks to empower every Filipino voter to “safeguard and defend” our compatriots’ votes. During a media gathering, the coalition introduced the HOPE (Honest Open Philippine Elections) APP, which is now available for download on mobile phones for free.

As my 1SAMBAYAN colleague and Lead Convenor, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, succinctly puts it: “the purpose of the HOPE app is to empower every Filipino voter to protect not only his or her vote, but also the vote of all voters in his or her precinct. The voter will not only cast his or her vote, but will also ensure that all the votes cast in his or her precinct are not tampered with by hackers or cheaters … The HOPE app can make every one of the more than 64 million registered voters a guardian of the votes of all voters in his or her precinct. This, I personally believe, is a game changer in Philippine elections,”

The app can be downloaded for free on both Google Play and App Store. As 1Sambayan’s poll watchers’ election monitoring tool a central national command center shall likewise receive, monitor, coordinate and document all field reports from this phone application. Developed by Cornerstone Technologies (CT) through the leadership of its CEO, Atty. Ria Villanueva-Dam, this app incorporates the following features: (1) Secure Chat Platform with User Verification; (2) News Page; (3) Events Page; (4) Secure Broadcasts; (5) Watcher Training Module; (6) 911 Call; (7) 911 Chat; (😎 Live stream; (9) Video Conferencing; and (10) Camera for taking photos of the Election Returns.

Operationally, at the end of voting hours on election day on May 9, 2022, the 1SAMBAYAN Pollwatcher will take a picture of the Election Return at his or her precinct — specifically the election results for the President, the Vice President and the Senators. The HOPE app will automatically transmit all submitted pictures to the 1SAMBAYAN National Command Center located at the Mondragon Building (old I-Academy Auditorium) in Makati City for documentation. Thus, the 1Sambayan poll watchers will have these results on hand at the canvassing boards, whether at the Municipal, City or Provincial Canvassing Boards to ensure that all Certificates of Canvass issued by these boards are correct. Any tampering of the electronic transmission of the Election Results from the precincts to the local or national servers will easily be discovered and exposed.

Let me reiterate that the System Hash Code is the same for all vote counting machines nationwide and has already been made public by the Comelec. Thus, if the System Hash Code does not appear at the bottom of the Election Return, that means the Operating System Code of the Vote Counting Machine has been tampered with. Any change in the Operating System Code, even a change in one letter or comma, will disable the System Hash Code and prevent it from appearing in the Election Return.

Let every voter be a pollwatcher. And together with our 1SAMBAYAN Election Monitoring Groups all over the country, we envision that all the votes cast in this 2022 Polls will truly mirror the sovereign will of the people. Let no one subvert the voice of the Filipino People, and may our collective use of this HOPE (Honest Open Philippine Election) App be that needed safeguard in the realization of this aspiration.