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AES Watch

aeswatch 2010
aeswatch 2010 What is AES Watch?
Secretariat: University of the
The AES Watch is an inde- Solidarity Philippines,
Philippines Alumni Association
(UPAA), Ang Bahay ng Alumni, pendent, voluntary, CCM, Ecumenical Bishops
Magsaysay Ave., University of the proactive, and nationwide Forum (EBF), and UPAA.
Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City networking of citizens With the Comelec re-
Telefax: 929-9526; groups and individual maining unresponsive to
Telephone: 920-6868; Fax: 929- volunteers promoting the appeal, the initial con-
8327; clean elections and ensur- veners vowed to continue
ing that the May 2010 elec- engaging in activities
tions push through – either aimed at increasing critical
automated or manual – awareness of the AES
with proper safeguards among the public and me-
and remedies in place dia. They saw the need to pants in helping ensure the
towards achieving a peace- counteract the negative success of the AES and the
ful, transparent and suggestion that critical May 2010 elections while
aesWatch Conveners’ credible exercise. studies about the AES and engaging the Comelec to
shared concern: the Comelec preparations pursue proper
TRANSPARENT AND CREDIBLE The AES Watch was ini- are equivalent to promot- preparations. Lastly, the
ELECTIONS tially formed in mid- ing backward, manual conveners also agreed that
October 2009 from a group election system or to sid- it is important to engage
...includes University of the Philippines Alumni of more than 200 signato- ing with cheaters and the public – the key stake-
Association (UPAA), Center for People Empower- ries –individuals and or-
ment in Governance (CenPEG), National Secre- being “doomsayers.” holders – especially in rais-
tariat for Social Action-Catholic Bishops Confer- ganizations – to the Joint ing their level of
ence of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Broderick Appeal for the Release of Moreover, the conveners
Pabillo and Bishop Deogracias Yniguez of the
awareness and
Commission on Public Affairs of the CBCP, Center the Source Code initiated agreed that being critical participation in the crucial
for People Empowerment in Governance by CenPEG , NASSA- means being active partici- forthcoming elections.
(CenPEG), Ecumenical Bishops Forum, National
Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Dr. CBCP, AMRSP, NCCP,
Rachel Roxas, dean of the De La Salle Univer-
sity- College of Computer Studies (DLSU-CCS),
Dr. Reena Estuar, chair of the Ateneo de Manila
University- Department of Information Communi-
cations System, Dr. Jaime Caro, chair of the UP
Department of Computer Science, CAUCUS-
Philippine Computer Society, Association of Major
Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), How was AES Watch formed?
Computer Professionals Union, Solidarity Philip-
pines, Philippine Computer Emergency Response
Team (PhCERT), National Union of Students in
the Philippines (NUSP), Engr. Rodolfo Lozada, The coming May 2010 will be automated using Preparations for full auto-
Dilaab-Hearts Foundation, Senior Catholic Citi- national and local elec- technology outsourced to mation are replete with
zens Organization, Coordinating Council for
People’s Development and Governance (CPDG),
tions are crucial. A new a foreign-backed uncertainties (e.g., timely
Health Alliance for Democracy, (HEAD), Trans- President will be chosen, consortium. Time is run- delivery by supplier of, Concerned Citizens’ Move- together with other na- ning out but the Comelec voting machines, nation-
ment (CCM), Association of Schools of Public
Administrators in the Philippines (ASPAP), tional and local officials, has yet to make a con- wide availability of
Transparency International-Philippines, Pagba- with close to 50 million vincing case that it is electronic transmission
bago (Movement for Social Change), Council for
Health and Development (CHD), Move- people expected to vote. ready to implement a facilities, etc.). The
ment for Good Governance (MGG), Alyansa For the first time, the trustworthy automated Comelec has already re-
Agrikultura, and others.
synchronized elections election system (AES). vised the AES implemen-

tation timetable six times to accom- cies faced by the AES, many elections cannot be fully-automated
modate delays and constant concerned citizens and advocacy and that manual voting will still
changes in schedules. groups have taken separate initia- take place in many parts of the
tives to en- country.
Studies by advocacy groups have gage the “...there is a need to organize a more
found the AES to suffer from techni- Comelec. Under the cir-
vigilant and broader coalition of citizens
cal vulnerabilities such as those Individually, cumstances,
related to verifiability of voting re- groups and individual volunteers there is a need
they have
sults, security of electronic trans- shared criti- critically looking at the AES preparations, to organize a
mission, etc. Safeguards against cal findings so as to have stronger voice through more vigilant
these vulnerabilities must be put in of studies on and broader
unified action and public support…”
place to deter internal rigging, but the AES, coalition of citi-
the plans of Comelec in this regard called and lobbied for safeguards zens groups and
remain unclear. The possibility of and remedies, and/or individual volunteers critically look-
electronic fraud, if not satisfactorily offered alternative systems, with ing at the AES preparations, so as
addressed, is a serious concern as the common aim of getting the to have stronger voice through uni-
cheating machineries are getting needed remedial or corrective fied action and public support, in
honed while majority of the Filipino measures instituted, but to no avail. engaging the Comelec. The Come-
voters have yet to fully comprehend Some have also asked the Comelec lec must institute the necessary
the workings of the AES and their to be forthright in disclosing the measures, including appropriate
implications on voters’ rights. true state of its preparedness for contingency plans, to ensure
Apprehensive about the contingen- the AES. Already, reports from the peaceful, clean, and credible elec-
ground show that most likely tions come May 2010.

Who are the members of AES Watch?

The AES Watch, as formed, is professionals most especially IT will extend to political parties and
multi-sectoral. It welcomes the par- practitioners, business, media, and other cause-oriented organizations
ticipation of groups and individuals other basic sectors working in the that promote transparent and credi-
from key sectors who subscribe to grassroots communities. ble elections.
clean and transparent elections and
are keen to be involved in monitor- The AES Watch will liaise with poll-
ing the preparations for and con- accredited groups like PPCRV, as
duct of the AES. The AES Watch is well as with NAMFREL and other
open to the ecumenical community, national and international observ-
human rights groups, lawyers, aca- ers’ missions that will be deployed
demics and youth-students, various during the elections. Networking

What is its advocacy?

The AES Watch will engage the partial? How many will go manual? according to the design of the election
Comelec on issues related to the system;
readiness and trustworthiness of the 2. Propose appropriate mechanisms
AES. It will and actions for, as well as participate 4. Ensure safeguards and remedial
in any way possible, in addressing measures on the identified
1. Urge Comelec to defining the pa- problems and gaps in the AES vulnerabilities and critical areas to
rameters of its readiness for the auto- preparations; raise the level of trustworthiness and
mated elections, hybrid or partial credibility of the AES and/or ensure
automation, and/or manual elections 3. Help come up with clear guidelines that elections push through in May
in the country: How many will be as well as practical application of an 2010 whatever the problems are.
fully automated? How many will go appropriate adjudication process

While respecting unified stand transparent, and credible elec- conference;
on common concerns under the tions. Various forms of advocacy
AES Watch, individual members will be used, including: 5. website for education and
and groups may continue other exchange of information
engaging respectively on their 1. statements, letters, paid ads,
petitions, press releases, position 6. preparation and dissemina-
own as individual organizations tion of voters education and poll
or in tandem with other groups papers
watchers guides in support of all
with the Comelec on pertinent 2. participation in JCOC hear- other voters education and poll
issues. ings, interventions, dialogues, watch trainings
More intensively, the AES and consultations with Comelec
Watch will pursue public advo- and concerned stakeholders
cacy with regard to the major 3. forums, symposia, roundtable
issues of poll automation and discussions, conferences and the
management with the objective like
of raising public awareness on
the criticalness of the automated 4. media and press dialogues,
election as well as participate in conference;
ensuring mechanisms and


The following principles will serve as Guided by the right to public 4. Clean and credible election. An
the basis of unity and action of the information, the people have the right election can be clean and credible
AES Watch: to vote in secrecy as well as the right only in the absence of all types of
to know how votes are verified and fraud, such as tampered voters’ regis-
counted and that tration, vote buy-
1. Election and the right to vote are a results truly express ing, internal rig-
sovereign right. Election is a public, their free and sover- ging and hacking,
political, and democratic exercise that eign will. dagdag-bawas (vote
“The right to vote is exercised
expresses the people’s free, sovereign, padding- and -
and political will to choose the gov- not only on Election Day” shaving), intimida-
ernment that will represent their tion and militariza-
3. Right to know.
rights and aspirations as a nation and The right to vote is tion, and so on.
as a people. It is a means toward exercised not only on
making democracy work and making 5. Accountability. Those responsible
Election Day. The right to vote in- for negligence and mismanagement
public governance solely as a public cludes the right to know how an elec-
service and for public interest with of the election, fraud, deliberate vot-
tion system such as the AES works, ers’ disenfranchisement, partisan
accountability. including its source code, secret and politics of government agencies, and
public keys, and all other major fea- all other attempts at manipulating the
tures and vulnerabilities. It is the peo- election must be held liable and ac-
2. Secret voting and pub- ple’s right to know critically whether countable in accordance with current
lic/transparent counting. Election poll automation will ensure clean, election laws.
and all its instruments – including transparent, and credible elections so
poll automation - must guarantee the they will be able to safeguard their
democratic principle of secret voting votes and make sure their vote
and public/transparent counting. counts.
The AES Watch Organizational Structure

The AES Watch currently has a 3. Academe An Advisory Group may be
Working Group composed of the organized composed of one or two
original conveners who initiated the 4. Church/Faith representatives from each of the
AES Watch formation last October. 5. Research/Policy Study following sectors: business, IT,
This Working Group, as expanded church, media, NGO, academe,
to accommodate new groups and 6. Business research/study, lawyers, which can
individuals joining the AES Watch, be consulted from time to time
will continue to perform the coordi- 7. Lawyers/Legal regarding the network’s multifac-
nating function. eted concerns.
8. Media
The AES Watch will have as its
highest consensus making body, the
Assembly to be composed of all From the Assembly, a Multi-
groups and individuals advocating Sectoral Coordinating Secretariat
transparent and credible AES and will be organized from its list of con-
May 2010 polls. veners to involve multi-sectoral
leaders, representatives of different
The AES membership may be or-
groups from different regions,
ganized into sub-groups to facilitate
volunteering their individual or or-
coordination and action, e.g.:
ganizational resources to promote
1. IT critical AES watch advocacy and
active intervention for transparent
2. NGO/PO and credible May 2010 polls.

For further inquiries, please contact us at:

aeswatch 2010

Secretariat: University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA),
Ang Bahay ng Alumni, Magsaysay Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
Telefax: 929-9526; Telephone: 920-6868; Fax: 929-8327; Email: