Comelec likely to allow poll audit

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is likely to grant the petition of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for a technical and systems audit of its transparency and central servers but it will not be conducted by the senator’s team of information technology (IT) experts but by an independent team.

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Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista on Thursday said that he will propose the creation of an independent team of IT experts when the En Banc tackles the issue next week.

He said the audit should be non-partisan or free from any political intervention.

“I have not yet informed the En Banc about my plan to create an independent group. It would be best if we form a group of well known [IT experts) with proven capability and experience and non-partisan,” Bautista said in a radio interview.

“If you are working for a client, you will push for an end-result that would suit the interest of your client,” the poll chief pointed out.”

But Bautista said conducting an audit of the automated election system is not that simple because it also involves intellectual property issues on confidentiality.

“Smartmatic has proprietary rights on the source code. It’s a read only, like a PDF (portable document format) file which content you cannot change,” he explained. “We should look at how we can audit the server without compromising the interest of the other party.”

Marcos had sought the audit to determine if the change of script during the counting of votes altered the results of the elections.

Smartmatic backs out

Marcos on Thursday slammed Smartmatic officials for skipping the hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System (JCOC-AES) on the unauthorized script change in the transparency server of the Comelec.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, chairman of the joint panel, cancelled the hearing because he said it would be useless to pursue the investigation without the presence of Smartmatic officials.

Smartmatic executives attended the proclamation of the 12 senators and winning party-list groups at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) as allegedly requested by the poll body.

Invited to the Senate hearing were Smartmatic Philippines Project Manager Marlon Garcia and General Manager Elie Moreno, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon and officials of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

“It is unfortunate that the hearing…was not able to push through because of a ‘last minute’ notice from Smartmatic that they could not attend,” Marcos said.

The senator said Smartmatic officials owe the public a clearer explanation, rather than making a “cursory excuse” why they cannot participate.

“Smartmatic has been quick to claim that such change was merely cosmetic and did not in any way alter the results of the elections. If that is so, we expect them to be the ones eager to take advantage of the opportunity which the hearing is providing to settle the issue,” Marcos said.

“I hope Smartmatic would not make similar excuses should another hearing be scheduled. Otherwise, it would give more ground to concerns that the alteration of the script did cause more than just a cosmetic change,” he added.

Other issues that were supposed to be discussed in the hearing were the malfunctioning vote counting machines, transmission problems and the accommodation of Smartmatic personnel at Novotel Hotel near the Liberal Party headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City.

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11 Comments

  1. Common Sense on

    Hmmm, Smartmatic was HIRED by COMELEC so COMELEC supervises SMARTMATIC as its vendor/contractor. SMARTMATIC has a contractual relationship with COMELEC and is also subject to applicable laws. SMARTMATIC did not attend the hearing because it cannot act independently of its master, COMELEC. COMELEC did not allow SMARTMATIC to attend because it was obliged by COMELEC to SHUT UP. SMARTMATIC cannot testify against its own client. Understand the games now??

  2. Juan T. Delacruz on

    I believe that there were cheating involved during the election through vote buying, NOT vote manipulations like Senator Marcos trying to imply. Vote buying occurred at municipal or town levels because the Mayor knows exactly how many voters in each Barangay and he/she can commit that number to any candidate aspiring for national office, IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT. The voting machines (VCM) and the transparency server only process and count the DATA inputted and nothing more. These machines provided by Smartmatic are then classified as “Passive Devices”, meaning, they only process and count what was inputted in them. Printer is another example of a passive device because it only print on the command of the computer. It cannot generate anything, except to print what was inputted.

    The way I look at this, PNoy was successful in his plans, to make sure that Bongbong will not make the vice-presidency contest. From the beginning, Leni Robredo was hesitant in accepting the position because she doesn’t have the MONEY to use in her campaign. However, LP promised to help finance her campaign and they were able to fulfill that promise. The first month or so, during campaign, Leni Robredo already spent the most amount, already in PBillion mark, and Mar Roxas was almost kulelat on the surveys. As of May 18, Roxas is in second place and the Senatorial candidates like Drillon and Villanueva have the most votes. Can anybody see the transformation of the events here? LP had TONS of MONEY, and I suspected it was already spent for the Filipino voters, and that is also one of the reasons why Philippine economy has a big jump, was only predicted for 6.5 and went up to 6.9 percent.

  3. May mga nagkomento na wala sa katauhan ni Leni ang mangdaya. Tama, maaring walang kinalaman sa pangyayaring ito si Leni. Ginamit lang siya.

    Pero tingnan natin ang mga taong gustong manalo si Leni at ayaw na manalo si Bongbong Marcos. Wag natin kalimutan at isantabi ang tahasang sinabi ni Aquino bago ang halalan na gagawin niya ang lahat maharang lang na manalo si Bongbong Marcos bilang bise presidente.

    Ginamit ang pondo ng bayan para sirain si Bongbong Marcos sa anti-Martial Law ads. Pinakilos ang mga aktibista magulo lang ang kampanya ni Bongbong. Sa kabila nito tila di apektado si Bongbong Marcos sa patuloy na pangunguna nito sa mga surveys. Sa palagay niyo ba ay hanggang doon na lang ang puwedeng gawin ni Aquino?

    Hawak ni Aquino ang Comelec. Contractor ng Comelec ang Smartmatic.

    Noong una na sinabi ng kampo ni Bongbong na may nagbago ng hash code noong gabi ng May 9 at pagkatapos nito ay unti-unti nang naiiba na ang trend ay todo deny dito ang Comelec at Smartmatic. Parang ang gusto nilang palabasin na gumagawa lang ng dahilan ang kampo ni Bongbong.

    Ngayon, inaamin nila na nagkaroon nga ng pagpalit ng hash code noong araw at oras na ‘yon pero siyempre itinanggi pa rin ng Comelec at Smartmatic na naapektuhan ang mga boto lalo na sa bise presidente. Aaminin mo ba ang isang bagay na sisira sa crediblity mo? Atleast, para sa akin, initially may napatunayan na ang kampo ni Bongbong Marcos na tama ang sinabi nila na may gumalaw sa hash code sa araw at oras na ‘yon. Unang puntos para sa kampo ni Bongbong Marcos.

    Sa kasong ito, malinaw na may na violate dito ang Comelec at Smartmatic sa taong bayan. At dapat panagutan ito ng nabanggit na kampo.

    Madaling sabihin na ang pagpalit ng hash code ay isang pagtatama ng simpleng problema. Pero sa technology ngayon, ang simpleng “?” at “ñ” ay maaring daan para sa isang systema ng programa. Kung halimbawa i-exaggerrate pa natin, maaring ang “?” ay simbolo para kay Bongbong at ang “ñ” ay kay Leni na maaring sila lang ang nakakaalam. Kaya nga, ang lahat ng ito ay masasagot lang kung ipabuksan at surin o i-audit ang server. Kung walang tinatago ang Comelec at Smartmatic ay hindi sila mag-atubili na ipasuri ito sa ibang IT expert.

  4. How could they attend the proclamation of the 12 senators, but not the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System?

  5. Juan T. Delacruz on

    First and Foremost, Marcos and his Battalion of lawyers, IT experts, and all his airhead consultants, need to understand that Smartmatic Corp. does not have to comply with your request to be questioned by Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Therefore, you, Senator Marcos, are making a fool of yourself and running around with your head cut-off. Your wife, as a brillant lawyer, should have been a better adviser or consultant because she should have given you advise on the legalities of what you are trying to do or accomplish.

    Senator Marcos sought to audit of the AES. The whole AES? If he meant to audit the equipment, the software being used, the system configuration, and everything to include the connectivity of one system to another are PROPRIETORY hardware and software that belonged to SMARMATIC CORP. They cannot reveal their TRADE SECRET, and the COMELEC COMMISSIONERS are the custodian. SMARTMATIC are operating under the law, created by Congress and that is the AES Election Law.

    In reference to Malfunctioning of VCM, and transmission problems, these are beyond Smartmatic Control. I can explain the technicalities of why congestion occurs, but it will never be processed in your little brains because your lack of knowledge in computers in general. Just think of the traffic congestion at EDSA before holidays when everybody try to get out of Manila at the same time.

    Pertaining to the accommodation of Smartmatic personnel at a hotel near the LP’s Headquarters in Cubao , QC, does not have anything to do with the AES, and I would insult your intelligence and integrity if I was to answer that type of question, Therefore, SMARTMATIC does NOT have any legal obligations to comply with any of your wishes.

    • The COMELEC itself acknowledged that there was a breach of protocol when that script was uploaded during the transmission of votes. Now being the technology provider, Smartmatic owes the public an explanation. Simple as that mate.

    • I agree with your comments. All these complainants know very little or nothing at all about computers, yet they keep mounting off as though they are all IT experts. As stated by former Comelec chairman Sixto Brilliantes, who is BBM’s lawyer representing him in the official congress count, there cannot be cheating because the PPCRV totals are not official. As he said, “Ang daming mga bobo”.

  6. ernie del rosario on

    Bautista is quick in already laying down some parameters of the audit. He is more than partisan himself di ba ? It is not his choice. It should be the people’s choice. There are published and globally-accepted standards and guidelines specifically designed for the purpose, peer-reviewed and continuously being improved/tightened that the country SHOULD use, not something Bautista and his allies want. Otherwise it will NOT be independent and therefore not credible. So why even do it and spend for it if it is incredible again ?

  7. ernie del rosario on

    Why were they not subponaed and brought forcibly to the hearing ? The JCOC has that power di ba ? The issue is so urgent and very serious so her should be no excuses of any kind except if all these in-country Smartmatic employees are all dead.

  8. kunwari pa itong si Bautista….he’s a cousin of the Abnoy.The Smartmagic people are taking orders from the Comelec and the Abnoy to plan out their strategy to sing their song in harmony………..Mind you….nabura lahat ang mga traces para di mabuking.

  9. fidel S. Pescador on

    God never sleeps nor slumber…lalabas ang katotohanan kahit ito ay takpan ng husto ksi ito ay sisingaw bulok..at nasa bible ito ang lihim ay di maitatago at ito ay lalabas at lalabas din…there is no a perfect crime…God bless and save Philippines…