FORMER Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman (FCGL), through a letter dated January 13, 2015, accepted the challenge of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes (CSB) for FCGL to prove that internal tampering of election results can be done easily. CSB replied the following day by saying, “While the acceptance of my challenge is very much appreciated, I would like to note that it is unreasonable…to require in conducting such demonstration a technical person from Smartmatic…While we await the response of Smartmatic if they are amenable to your demands, I suggest that the proposed demonstration be conducted with your own programmer.”
Then on January 20, 2015, FCGL replied back to CSB stating, “I have always said that external hacking of the system does not worry me; but ‘internal tampering’ does. I have also said often enough that the system is vulnerable to tampering by an ‘insider.’ ”
Even without such challenge, there are pieces of evidence showing that internal tampering really happened in the past elections. Take the classical case of the Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) of PCOS machines on May 3, 2010, a week before the May 10, 2010 elections. A typical incident that happened then was the FTS conducted in Makati wherein the manual count differed from PCOS count; that is, the votes of Binay and Mercado in manual count were not reflected in PCOS count but instead reflected in favor of Genuino’s count. How did it happen when supposedly those 76,000 PCOS machines had been certified by the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) headed by the Department of Science and Technology? Was TEC remiss in doing their function to make sure that the PCOS machines were tested with 99.995% accuracy three (3) months before the elections as mandated by Section 11 of RA 9369?
But the Philippine Computer Society noted that on February 10. 2010, the TEC issued Resolution No. 2010-001 to the effect that the Committee certified the AES, including the PCOS machines, as operating properly, securely and accurately.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen only in Makati but it was also true for most of the precincts nationwide. Thus, such unforgettable and infamous first encounter with the defective automated election system (AES) of Smartmatic prompted Comelec to recall all the 76,000 compact flash (CF) cards.
By the way, it is important to take note that the CF cards contain the software codes and configuration files used for scanning, counting and transmitting the election results.
The Nation was stunned! An ordinary voter did not understand why such recalling of cards should be done in the first place. It was not even stated in the General Instructions of Comelec that when something happened unexpectedly, the CF cards should be recalled! Besides, our legislators didn’t even ask Comelec an explanation for such incredible actuation. That is why, there is a grave need for the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9369 to be promulgated by Comelec as stipulated in RA 9369 Section 37. This is to define and explain what RA 9369 wants us to know so that there won’t be different interpretations. But then, Comelec didn’t bother to prepare the IRR since RA 9369 was signed in 2007. That’s eight (8) years ago!
So the question arises now, who tampered with the contents of the 76,000 CF cards? Was the tampering done before or after the deployment the PCOS machines to the precincts? Remember that the TEC had certified that the Smartmatic AES, including th PCOS machines, was operating properly, securely and accurately.
Was the tampering done by an external hacker? Impossible! Nobody would have any access to the 76,000 PCOS machines as no communication lines were active yet before the actual election day. And if tampering was done when the PCOS machines were already deployed, you would need many many hackers to change the contents of the CF card. In any case, all the PCOS machines, from Batanes to Tawi-tawi, were very much physically secured.
So FCGL is correct then in stating in his letter to CSB:
“I have always said that external hacking of the system does not worry me; but “internal tampering” does. I have also said often enough that the system is vulnerable to tampering by an ‘insider.’ How does one demonstrate ‘internal tampering’– but by an ‘insider’ doing it? So, how can my conditions be unreasonable and ridiculous? In truth, demonstrating it is totally unnecessary, as Systems practitioners would readily understand, but I thought maybe you may not be aware of it and so I accepted your challenge anyway.”
On another note, Smartmatic blamed Dominion Voting System for failing to correctly read and record the paper ballots in their case filed at the Court of Chancery in Delaware.
The FTS case in 2010 is quite similar to the documentary film entitled “Hacking Democracy” and a part of which may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t75xvZ3osFg. Don’t be surprised! An “insider” can undo our choice of the next President!