Roberto Verzola is an electrical engineer (1982) by training. His work experience covers a wide range of interests, from the design and assembly of RF amplifiers (1981-1982) to information technology (1980-present), from chip-level troubleshooting of digital modules (mid-1980s) to policy studies on intellectual property rights (early 1990s), from operating an email server (1992-2000, for which he earned industry recognition as ‘father of Philippine email’) to studying the social impact of new technologies. He has also been, since his college days deeply involved in social issues, a commitment which earned him three years behind bars (1974-1977) as a political prisoner for publishing an underground newsletter during the dark days of Philippine dictatorship.
Combining his technical background and social commitment, he has regularly served as technical resource person for Philippine as well as Southeast Asian NGOs. As a product of his decades of work on ICTs and their social impact, his book ‘Towards a Political Economy of Information’ was published in 2004.
Roberto has recently turned his technical expertise and social reform commitment towards understanding electoral processes and election automation. His detailed analysis of the 2004 Philippine presidential elections and the 2007 senatorial elections called attention to the chronic cheating that afflicted Philippine elections.
At the Oxford Internet Institute, he will study how technologies and other modern developments have been used in various countries to enhance (or subvert) electoral processes and to apply the lessons learned to the Philippine case. He also wants to get Oxford academics to review his 2004 book for promising areas of further research and study, if any.