The camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday expressed confidence it would win a cybercrime complaint it brought before the Manila Prosecutor’s Office against personnel of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and vote-counting machine provider Smartmatic, after the respondents failed to prove that they were not responsible for the “hash code” change at the height of the transmission of votes during the May 9 polls.
At the Manila Prosecutor’s Office, complainant Jonathan de la Cruz, a former representative of Abakada party-list, noted that lawyers of Smartmatic and Comelec assailed instead his competence to testify by saying he had no personal knowledge of the change in script in a computer server that processed election results.
“I am a complainant not just because I am an adviser of Marcos during the campaign period but also in my capacity as representative of Abakada party-list,” de la Cruz told reporters after the hearing.
He said the next hearing was set on July 15 at 1:30 p.m.
“If Smartmatic and Comelec will not submit any rejoinder, the case is deemed submitted for decision,” said Anna Liza Logan, lawyer of the Marcos camp.
City Prosecutor Recto Macapagal directed the Smartmatic legal team to submit again the affidavit of one of the respondents, Mauricio Herrera, who had left the country for Panama.
The affidavit of Herrera was only sworn to before a lawyer but the fiscal said it must be sworn to before a consul for it to be valid.
Other respondents in the cybercrime case, aside from Herrera, are Marlon Garcia, Elie Moreno and Neil Banugued of Smartmatic, and Rouie Penalba, Nelson Herrera and Frances Mae Gonzales of the Comelec.
Manila prosecutors are conducting a preliminary investigation of the cybercrime complaint that is separate from the election protest filed last week by Marcos to contest the proclamation of the Liberal Party’s Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo as Vice President.
If the complaint is found with merit, it will be elevated to the Regional Trial Court and the respondents will be arrested.
De la Cruz submitted a consolidated reply-affidavit along with documents and news articles containing reports of how the script of the Comelec transparency server was changed, and statements issued thereafter by individuals like Garcia.
He noted that no less than Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon had admitted that Smartmatic and Comelec personnel “should have asked permission from the en banc” before changing the script.
The seven individuals are accused of cybercrime offenses as provided under Section 4(a), (3) and (4) of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
De la Cruz informed Macapagal on Monday that two related cases had also been filed before the Comelec and the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
The Marcos camp is urging the Comelec to audit the Automated Elections System to reveal if the servers were used to manipulate the election results in favor of Robredo.
Justices of the High Court are poised to give due course to the Marcos election protest, which is included in the agenda of today’s en banc meeting, sources in the tribunal told The Manila Times.
According to a number of SC justices who talked on condition of anonymity, the case filed by Marcos before the SC, sitting as PET, would not be dismissed outright, because the charge of election fraud was a serious matter.