In a post on Facebook today De La Salle University (DLSU) professor Antonio Contreras announced his intent to sue University of the Philippines (UP) physics professor Ian Vega for libel. Contreras writes…
Today is the day I say enough is enough.I have decided to file a criminal case of libel against one physics professor. And it is appropriate that I have to start with another academic.Now, I am angry.
This follows a comment made by Vega on Facebook (screen-captured by Contreras here) in which he attacked Contreras using baldly-false claims about the latter’s qualifications, his motives in spearheading a campaign to expose electoral fraud seemingly perpetrated by the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and his intellectual capacity as a DLSU academic. In his Facebook post, Contreras quotes Vega saying…
[Contreras is] either slow, too proud or paid. Whatever the case, he’s a sorry excuse for an academic. There I said it.
Contreras, working with expert statistician David Yap had been working hard collecting and analysing data to validate long-held suspicions that the COMELEC and its pet supplier of voting technology, Smartmatic, have conspired not only to rig this year’s elections but also that of the 2010 and 2013 elections. On all occasions, Philippine corporate media had seemingly successfully and consistently buried stories to do with incidents that point to this suspect partnership.
Initial data analyses in the early days of the vote count revealed disturbing patterns in the ensuing results over the period since Smartmaric employee Marlon Garcia allegedly implemented an unauthorised change in the system. These patterns were spotted by independent observers one of whom was Yap.
Since then, Contreras and Yap have been the subject of a concerted vilification campaign from various quarters allied with the Liberal Party and its embattled vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo in an effort to discredit a mounting popular and long-overdue movement to call out irregularities in the way the COMELEC has been managing elections in the Philippines and keeping suppliers of critical voting technology under proper control.
Many Filipinos look to both Contreras and Yap for leadership in a growing movement to rid the Philippines of a long tradition of election cheating. Anonymous Philippines for its part have announced their own on-going non-partisan investigation into electoral fraud and have indicated that they are close to submitting the results of that investigation to the proper authorities. Recently, IT experts hired by COMELEC and Smartmatic came forward and blew the whistle on nonsensical orders they received from the COMELEC to recall defective Smartmatic vote counting machines (VCMs) and consolidated counting servers (CCSs) to their Sta Rosa Laguna offices rather than release standby units to replace them.
The COMELEC, being a government agency is not protected by any notion of “presumption of innocence” as its apologists assert and, as such, burden of proof of the soundness of its systems and processes as far as protecting the integrity of the vote falls squarely upon it.
Filipinos are waiting; in the case of Contreras and Yap as well as all of the victims of this travesty to Philippine democracy, waiting bravely.