EDITORIAL

Bautista double-talk about ‘ComeLeaks’ disfigures the law and official duty

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To hear the double talk of Comelec chairman Andres Bautista, the hacking of the voters’ data of the Commission on Elections should be no cause for alarm. It is just an ordinary happening for the nation’s premier agency in supervising the exercise of suffrage and the election of our public officials in local and national government.

This is grievously mistaken about the crime of hacking and misguided in its idea of how the problem should be resolved. The original finding of the National Privacy Commission is that on March 2016 there was a data breach of the Comelec’s voters’ data base, which may be used by private hackers and could victimize the individual voters affected. It suggested further that affected voters can sue the Comelec and its chairman for damages. Several public watchdogs have expressed their intent to file suit.

Instead of dealing with the issue squarely, like rebutting thoughtfully the charge that the Comelec was negligent in its duty to protect its voters’ data base, Chairman Bautista has taken the arrogant and misguided position of challenging critics and complaining groups to initiate an impeachment charge against him in connection with the ComeLeak controversy.

“Go ahead,” Bautista boasted. “The truth will set us free, so go ahead.” He said impeachment proceedings would be an opportunity for him and the Comelec to clear their names.


“We actually want a full- blown investigation to be conducted on the hacking. We want a hearing on this in aid of legislation.”

Bautistia questioned the privacy commission’s ruling saying that the commission had “misappreciated facts, legal principles, and material contexts.”

And then he argued that the hackers are the ones who should be punished, not the hacked (meaning the Comelec).

This is misleading and dismaying.

It is Comelec which has a sworn and constitutional duty to protect the information of voters within its registry.

It is the voters who are the victims of the hacking, not the Comelec, because they are the ones who will be disadvantaged if any piece of their personal information is misused.

If anyone has a primordial duty to press for an investigation of the hacking, to ferret out its perpetrators, it is Comelec. It should be the one to call on the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate. That is not for Congress to undertake.

Bautista says the Comelec submitted a report on Dec. 29 and implied that it addressed all issues. That report, if true and substantive, must be made public.

The issue in any case is a matter of law and duty – of law in regard to the elections and the right of suffrage, and the constitutional duty of the Comelec to conduct free and fair elections in our country.

Bautista with his cavalier attitude misrepresents the seriousness of hacking as a crime to the Filipino public, when in fact today it has become a major international issue in the relations of nations. Russia has been accused by the US of hacking and intervening in its recent elections, damaging relations enough to cause the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US. China has similarly been accused of cybercrime by the US.

We believe the statements of the Comelec Chairman are just as troubling as the hacking, because they indicate how ineptly the election body does its work, and how badly it is being led.

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7 Comments

  1. Bautista knows who paid and cheated thats why hes so arrogant in asking for the senate or the congress to have an hearing in aid of legislstion..senator and congressman who paid and cheated will not touch this issue with a ten foot pole..

  2. this is a HIGH CRIME !

    all comelec members should go to jail for betraying the foundation of democracy

  3. A data breach of the voter’s data base? Can anybody elaborate this statement? Are there any specifics? Look at this statement:
    “The original finding of the National Privacy Commission is that on March 2016 there was a data breach of the Comelec’s voters’ data base, which may be used by private hackers and could victimize the individual voters affected.”
    Hacking have not taken place, because the wording used, such as “may be used by private hackers and could victimize individual voters affected. “May be used or could victimize” are only possibilities that can take place, but did not happen. This is the reason why Mr. Bautista is very confident in clearing the COMELEC as a whole, and will make his critics look like a bunch of stupid fools.

  4. this official is a remnant of the past admin. remember saf44? the officials involve didnt took responsibility. same with the comeleak, the argument is if yahoo can be hacked, why cant we? bravo!

  5. This could not have been pulled off without the complicity of the gov’t IT computer institutions which should also all be under investigation and purged of their yellow co-conspirators.

    Just as likely the cyber crime hacking of hundreds of billions from Bangladesh was instigated by the gov’t IT agencies given access to the security codes, supercomputers and expertise to pull off the scam.

  6. “We believe the statements of the Comelec Chairman are just as troubling as the hacking, because they indicate how ineptly the election body does its work, and how badly it is being led.”

    This Comelec Chairman has a equally bigger sin to explain to the Filipino people – the blatant fraud committed in the recent Presidential election. They in partnership with Smartmatic are moving heaven and earth to frustrate the ongoing protest in the VP race by barring as much as possible the manual recount of a large percentage of the ballots under the supervision of the PET. The exposing of the truth in this election will suddenly bring down heaven and earth on the Commission’s heads with consequences they cannot accept.

    In fairness naman kay Chairman Andy the “how ineptly the election body does its work, and how badly it is being led” assessment applies not only in his regime but over the past 4 to 5 Comelec Chairmen’s. Why kaya ? Isn’t it obvious then that the culprit(s) might NOT be ever-changing residents of the En Banc but in the permanent officials in next one or two levels of the agency’s management given the long-running (15 or so years ?) ineptness and incompetence and most especially corruption. This MUST be investigated asap. Otherwise the coming ratification of /plebiscite on the 2017 Constitution and the 2019 election will also be defrauded like a business as usual thing

  7. At one point Bautista seemed to insinuate that anyway any agency is susceptible to hacking. To us the public, it was as if he was admitting his comelec database was indeed hacked. Bautista should stop his impeachment and double – talk bravado by talking instead on strengthening whatever safety measures they have against such hacking vulnerability and leading investigations for good. Unless the COMELEC under Bautista now is like the DOJ under Delima on Bilibid mock raids and investigations and that it turned out there was actually no safetynets against drugs. By then it is another big government let down!