Describing as “horrible” the dismissal of a cyber crime case filed against technology provider Smartmatic and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday said they will seek reversal of the decision before the Department of Justice.
“Despite the express and categorical admission made by the Comelec IT personnel, Mr. Rouie Penalba, of his lack of authority to allow any tweaking of any component of the AES, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila still ruled in favou of Smartmatic and dismissed the case filed by Abakada Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz,” Vic Rodriguez, lawyer of Marcos, said in a statement.
“For us, the issue of the complaint was simple–were Comelec and Smartmatic authorized to change the system at the height of the transmission of votes on May 9, 2016? With the admissions coming from Comelec officials, including Chairman Andres Bautista himself, that no authority was given to change the script on the night of the elections, it would have been an easy decision for the Manila Prosecutors’ Office to make a finding of probable cause to charge the respondents with the violation of the Cyber Crime Law,” he added.
In a 27-page resolution, the city prosecutor panel dismissed the charges against Marlon Garcia, head of Smartmatic technical support team; Elie Moreno, Smartmatic project director; Neil Baniqued, Smartmatic team member; and Rouie Penalba, Comelec information technology officer, for insufficiency of evidence.
“To our mind, compliance or non-compliance on the “Protocol of Escalation” or the intention of replacing a character in the system supposedly for “cosmetic change” would have been best ventilated in a full- blown trial of facts and not on a party’s mere invocation as a matter of defense. The same should have been afforded to establish that such a forbidden act of ‘tweaking’ was indeed undertaken with malicious intent,” Rodriguez said.
He added that the panel prosecutors, however, looked the other way, took the defense of Smartmatic and Comelec personnel at face value and completely downplayed the admissions on the unauthorized change.
Rodriguez said the former senator will not take it sitting down.
“Marcos would like to reiterate that he will not stop until the whole truth in the conduct of the last elections is revealed and all vote cast are properly counted,” he added. JAIME R. PILAPIL