If I wanted to rig the elections 

by Gus Lagman

If I wanted to rig the 2016 national and local elections (NLE), here’s a list of what I would do:

1. First and most important, I would recommend to the appointing powers (assuming I have a strong influence on this individual or group), candidates for Comelec Chairman and Commissioners who would follow my bidding. Corrupt election lawyers would be good candidates. While I personally know some who are honest, there are quite a few who are known experts in election cheating and who, at the right price, would easily agree to conspire with me. I have personally heard one say that they could open ballot boxes without breaking their seals. I can only conclude that he had been involved in that dishonest practice.

I would not choose honest IT and management practitioners who would recommend good systems with proper controls. With them around, it would be next to impossible for me to tamper with the results of elections. Also, they would recommend systems that are so inexpensive that there won’t be enough money to play around with (that is, after the money passes through our pockets).
2. For the automation of elections, I would choose a non-transparent precinct-counting technology, like Direct Recording Electronic (DRE), Optical Mark Recognition (OMR), or some similar systems. As such, it would be difficult to trace machine-embedded cheating mechanisms. In addition, the protest process would be so weakened that there will be very few of them.
3. I would look for a vendor who would be willing to “play ball” with me. I would commit a sure win for them, come bidding time. If I could, I’d also get “my” Comelec Commissioners to award to them contracts on a negotiated basis. It should not be difficult to find such a vendor; the Internet has a wealth of information on the bad eggs of election automation.
4. I would instruct “my” Commissioners to rig the bidding so that my chosen vendor would win, no matter what. Being lawyers, they would take care of looking for legal angles and justification, lame as they might be, so there’s a semblance of fairness in the bidding process.
5. I would tell “my” Commissioners not to worry about violating laws and even their own bidding rules. Election advocates will complain, but they should just be ignored.
6. I would instruct my chosen vendor to rig the computer programs to favor certain candidates – which means rigging both the precinct-counting machines and the Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS).
7. I would not bother hiring outside service providers to manage the project as doing so would only make my control of the operation more difficult.
8. In order that the cheating mechanisms in the computer programs would not be discovered, I would look for ways by which review of the source code by political parties and groups would not happen. Allowing it would only open the risk that the embedded cheating mechanisms would be discovered.
9. I would ignore the legal requirement for digital signatures to make the transmissions easy to manipulate.
10. I would tell the machine vendor not to provide the complete Election Returns (ER) data and the canvassing data in Comelec’s public website so no one can check if the consolidation and canvassing of the results are accurate; we could pass on the blame to the telecommunications companies for the incomplete data.
11. To make sure protests will not prove anything fishy, I would cause the printing of additional ballots, even after the elections, so that we could replace the contents of the ballot boxes to match the machine-printed and “doctored” results.
12. If some individuals or groups try to block my plans, I would instruct Comelec to call them “election saboteurs”, “trouble-makers”, or “attention-getters.”
13. I would also look for “envelopmental” journalists who will write articles attacking and discrediting those “trouble-makers”. 
14. I would try to influence some legislators to become “mouth-pieces” of the Comelec and its machine vendor.
15. If I had any influence in the Supreme Court, I would make it known to the justices that there are no alternatives to the Comelec-chosen machine and that for the sake of our elections, the Court should support the decisions of the Comelec.