This coming May 2010 has spawned many scenarios–serious or not–that are not germane to the election itself but important within the context of retaining power by incumbent president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
That she and her group in Malacañang wants to stay in power is a given. They have been going this route since day 1 of her term in 2001. The political struggle in the past four years since the Garcillano tape exposé revolved around this attempt to maintain the power beyond 2010.
This, of course, expresses itself most graphically in the various desperate attempts to undertake charter change. As late as in the waning days of this present Congress, the attempts were made. However, all of them failed, defeated by the steadfast opposition of the people, the various democratic institutions such as the Supreme Court and the Comelec, and the political opposition.
As things stand out now, the 2010 elections–with its new automated system–will push through as scheduled. In the same breath, it can be said that the alternative scenarios–whether within or outside the context of the elections–also thrive in the people’s mind as energetically.
First, there is the scenario of the automated cheating. This scenario assumes that the Comelec, the Smartmatic-TIM joint venture company, the PPCRV citizen arm, and the watchers of the political parties are co-conspirators in this grand scheme.This entails the subversion of the source code and improper programming of both the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine and the consolidation servers at various levels.
A variation on this theme is the interception of the election return data and substitution at the lower levels of the process. Again, this will require inside knowledge in both Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM. The brouhaha over alleged jammers is within this scenario.
Another variation is the sabotage of the PCOS machines in certain controlled areas, reversion to the manual system of counting and canvassing, doing the cheating according to the old ways, and inserting the results into the automated system.
Allegedly, there is the estimate that only 15% or even less of the votes cast need to be compromised in this manner to influence even the presidential election results, especially if it is a tight contest.
In this light, it is important to note the figures cited by Bishop Cruz and the PPCRV concerning the probable number of ghost or multiple registrants. Bishop Cruz cited the figure of 5 million while the PPCRV–based on its extrapolation of the 40,000 Davao multiple registrants–put it at 3.2 million. If true, these numbers can certainly affect the outcome of the presidential elections if not effectively prevented.
Second, there is the scenario of no-election, no-proclamation. The most realistic variant of this scenario is the prevention of voting in 15% or even less of the actual voters come election day. In a tight contest, this can effectively prevent the immediate proclamation of the winner in the presidential contest.
Allegedly, this will happen in the ARMM and other areas controlled by warlords or political dynasts. If stretched to the limit, it may even prevent the proclamation of the new president and vice-president–possibly to include the successors.
The extreme scenario is martial law declaration or even just a declaration of a state of emergency. This requires foisting a breakdown of peace and order on a nationwide scale or of national significance. The object supposedly is to sweep aside the elections and set up a caretaker government beyond June 30, 2010. This is a possible but remote scenario.
All the alternative scenarios may or may not be hatching. However, they offer the challenges to the conduct of a credible, fair and free May 2010 elections.