THE camp of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday sought a technical and systems audit of the transparency and central servers of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to find out if the introduction of a new program script into the system did not alter the results of the tight vice presidential race.
Marcos, through his legal counsel Jose Amorado, filed a formal petition with the commission for a systems audit which he said has become necessary in view of negative speculation triggered by the “unauthorized” change of script or hash code of the transparency server.
“In view of these doubts and questions and the admitted tampering of the transparency server and the breach of protocols relating thereto, I am formally requesting that this honorable commission permit my team of IT [Information Technology] experts and programmers, within three days from receipt hereof, to conduct an audit of the transparency server and the central server,” Marcos said in a three-page letter to Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista.
The audit, the senator added, shall be conducted under the close supervision of the commission and its technical personnel.
“My team is willing to sign all confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that may be required by this honorable commission in order to protect its data security, and to preserve all proprietary information belonging to this honorable commission and/or Smartmatic,” Marcos said.
“With the tampering of this sole security feature, how can we be assured that the data have not been altered in other ways or on other occasions?”
Amorado believes that the change was more than “cosmetic,” as claimed by Smartmatic and the Comelec.
“The problem is, it’s only the Comelec and Smartmatic that are saying that. They have not proven that it was only the “?” and “ñ” that were changed. So we are demanding a system audit so that we can verify whether or not that [that]was the only change or there were other data that were changed,” he said.
Party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, Marcos’ spokesman, said that based on the findings of their IT experts, there were more than three million “undervotes” for vice president that they want Smartmatic and the Comelec to explain to them.
“Our IT experts say that it should not happen. If there were changes in the numbers, it should not be that big. That’s one of the things that we wanted to clarify,” dela Cruz said.
“Why the undervotes? Does it mean that nobody voted for Vice President even as they voted for President or the ballot for Vice President was not read? That’s what we would like to know. That is why we are asking for systems audit so that we would be enlightened and find out the truth,” he added.
“’Yung dayaan, hindi pa natin mapu-prove ’yon. Ang sinasabi lang natin, anong nangyari?
Kaya hinahanap lang natin kung anong nangyari. Kaya dapat maging interesado rito maging kampo ng mga kalaban natin at Malacañang [Those cheating allegations, we cannot prove them. What we are asking is what happened? So we want to know what really happened. This should also be the interest of our rivals and Malacañang],” de la Cruz said in an interview.
The Marcos camp pointed out that the Comelec and Smartmatic only admitted the illegal alteration of the script after they exposed the incident a day after the May 9 elections.
It noted that the transparency server is part of and governed by the Election Management System (EMS) bid out to Smarmatic, thus the server was pre-loaded with a program and decryption utility that are governed by and part of the EMS that similarly governs the encryption and decryption utilities of the vote counting machines (VCMs) and the consolidation and canvassing system (CCS).
“Thus, if the “?”/“ñ” discrepancy appeared in the transparency server, bud did not appear in the VCMs, the ballots, the election returns, the CCS and the certificates of canvass, could it be that the transparency server was loaded with an entirely different program that was not presented in audit to the political parties and candidates?” the Marcos camp said.
“If there would be a real audit and we are enlightened, then we can start officially the canvass without any doubt [on the results]. Let us be very clear about this, the official canvass for President and Vice President will happen on May 25. What is coming out now is unofficial and partial canvass,” dela Cruz said.
WITH MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO