Polls can be held as scheduled – Bautista


THE elections may still be held as scheduled on May 9 even if the Supreme Court (SC) will deny the motion for reconsideration (MR) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking a reversal of its ruling on the issuance of voting receipts, Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said.

Bautista on Tuesday said that if the vote counting machines (VCMs) will no longer need a new trusted build, then the elections will not be delayed.

The Comelec chief said Smartmatic Corp. informed them that a new trusted build is needed but they have yet to wait for the advice of the Comelec Advisory Council before making a decision.

“If we don’t need [a new trusted build for the source code]we will stick to our timeline.
But if the advice is we need it, then we need to decide on that,” Bautista said.

If the decision is to install a new trusted build, the Comelec needs to call its international certification agency, the SLI Global Solutions (SLI), which is based in Denver, Colorado, to review the new source code.

As certifier, SLI will make sure that the source code submitted by Smartmatic meets the specifications and performance required and adheres to what the Comelec needs.

The source code is provided by Smartmatic. It is a voting software program customized for Philippine elections that would be installed in the VCMs.

The Comelec has signed a P35 million contract with SLI for the review of the source code.

But Bautista said that a new review of the source code would mean another payment.

Asked if it is possible not to conduct another source code review, Bautista said that it can be done but it has a corresponding risk.

“The quality of the voting receipt will have no safeguards, it will have no hash code, and precinct number, among others, to ensure that it is an authentic receipt,” Bautista said, adding that without a security feature “the receipts from Quezon City can be interchanged with the receipts of voters from Cebu.”

Bautista stressed that it would be better if the SC will reverse its decision so that the preparations for the nearing elections can proceed smoothly

Election watchdog Kontra Daya on Tuesday however said that the Comelec’s refusal to issue receipts has only raised doubts on the outcome of the elections.

“Why refuse safeguards? Why reject measures for transparency? Comelec’s actions points to something sinister. By its refusal to implement safeguards, Comelec itself is the one undermining the credibility of the elections results,” said Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao.


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