Officials of Smartmatic and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) were charged with poll sabotage on Wednesday at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the change of script in the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) transparency server while votes were being canvassed.
Charged were Smartmatic project manager Marlon Garcia, PPCRV Chairman Henrietta de Villa and several John Does and Jane Does from the Comelec and technology provider Smartmatic.
The complaint was filed by Rodolfo Javellana Jr. of the Mata Sa Balota Movement.
“Irrespective of whether or not the change in the script altered the results of the electoral process, the mere change thereof is a prohibited act under Section 28 of Republic Act (RA) 9369,” Javellana said.
In the complaint, he alleged that there was conspiracy among the respondents.
“The switching in the script could not have been made alone by the respondent Smartmatic IT personnel except for and with the connivance of a Comelec personnel who was responsible for the safekeeping of the password [match code]which he provided to the former,” Javellana said.
He noted that “the respondent commissioners and PPCRV chairman were adamant in suspending the canvass to pave the way for the necessary investigation and rectification.”
The complainant said the respondent commissioners who were not named in the complaint failed to conduct a Random Manual Audit (RMA) in order to determine the need for a manual count and allowed the canvass to continue instead.
“The intentional manner within which a new computer script or program was introduced in the computer system and the premeditated refusal on the part of respondent commissioners to act justly and swiftly either simultaneous or subsequent to the switch are sufficient circumstances to prove conspiracy,” according to Javellana.
He said the respondent commissioners were also administratively liable under RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees because they “failed to perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill.”
Meanwhile, private individuals Bong Guro and Lito Soriano also asked the Ombudsman to investigate the Comelec and Smartmatic.
The two submitted an open letter to the Ombudsman also on Wednesday.
“It is worthy to note that an officer of the tech firm Smartmatic broke protocol and the laws when it changed a part of the code at a server handling unofficial election results.
These unauthorized acts were highly irregular and can raise doubts about the credibility of the national elections,” they said.
“This was neither a mere violation of protocol nor a cosmetic change, it was in fact a blatant violation of the Automated Election System Law (RA 9369), the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and other laws. Aside from the Venezuelan IT expert, there were several Comelec personnel who were involved and being public officers, they fall under the investigative jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. A comprehensive investigation is in order so as to determine if there was a conspiracy to tamper with the election results,” Guro and Soriano said in the letter.
Running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, who was with Javellana and who is a convenor of the Mata Sa Balota Movement, said he is “anti-Bongbong.”
“I fought against the Marcoses. I’m not here for any presidential, or any vice ‘presidentiable’ or any senatorial [candidate]. I don’t have any color,” he told reporters.