The camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday questioned a move of Smartmatic to exclude members of media from covering hearings before the Manila Prosecutor’s Office.
Complainant Jonathan dela Cruz, an adviser of Marcos and head of Abakada party-list, said the move to ban the media was uncovered after Smartmatic told the prosecutors that they will present a “clarificatory presentation” of the Automated Election System on July 21.
“First of all, there is no need for a clarificatory presentation because the prosecutor’s office is not a trial court. The fiscal’s job is to find out if there is probable cause,” dela Cruz told The Manila Times.
“We will question this move of Smartmatic. This clarificatory presentation must not take place because it is not provided in the Rules of Court at the prosecutor level,” he said.
Smartmatic, a Venezuelan firm, was the technology provider to the May 9 elections.
Media outlets, both print and broadcast, have been covering the case filed by Marcos against Smartmatic right after the polls.
Marcos lost to then-Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, who was proclaimed winner of the vice presidential race with a 260,000 vote margin over Marcos.
Dela Cruz had filed charges for violation of Section 4(a) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175 against Smartmatic personnel Marlon Garcia, a Venezuelan and head of the Technical Support Team; Elie Moreno, an Israeli and project director; Mauricio Herrera, a Panamanian; Neil Banigued, member of the Technical Support Team; and Commission on Elections IT experts led by Rouie Peñalba, Nelson Herrera and Frances Mae Gonzalez for their act of “intentionally altering computer data, without right and altering and interfering with the functioning of a computer and computer network by inputting, deleting and altering computer data and program, without right or authority.”