SENATE Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd on Wednesday claimed nearly 4 percent of election returns, representing at least 1.7 million votes, were “not transmitted electronically” during the 2016 polls.
Sotto, in a privilege speech, continued his exposé of supposed irregularities in the 2016 elections, heaping two more issues on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its supplier Smartmatic—the incomplete transmission of election returns and the existence of four “queuing servers.”
On March 6, Sotto sought an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the May 2016 national and local elections, such as early transmissions of votes and “foreign access” to the election server.
The senator claimed there were “early transmission of votes” as well as “remote access” to the election server from the United Sates.
Sotto said the Comelec had assured the public that these “un-transmitted votes” were included in the final count by manually tallying of the contents of the SD (secure digital) data storage cards.
But he pointed to the report of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections or Namfrel, which said further clarification was “needed as to the guideline that was observed by Comelec on the chain of custody of these SD cards.”
“Also, were the political parties, accredited citizen’s arm allowed or were asked to observe the manual tallying of these 3.86% un-transmitted votes? These 1.7 million votes are very crucial to ongoing electoral protests,” Sotto said.
Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has a pending election protest against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, who won the vice presidency by a mere 263,473 votes.
Former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino is also questioning Sen. Leila de Lima’s victory in the senatorial elections. Tolentino landed outside the “Magic 12” with 12,518,891 votes, while de Lima ranked 12th with 13,793,947 votes.
“In the observance of fairness and due process, the Comelec and Smartmatic can fully and appropriately present their side in a full-blown Senate hearing. It is the proper venue to answer these allegations and to educate us on what really transpired in the 2016 national elections,” Sotto said.
Sotto also pointed to Comelec and Smartmatic’s use of “four queuing servers,” without the knowledge of political parties, candidates and watchdogs.
The senator said the technical process of voting results transmission was that the Smartmatic vote counting machines or VCMs would ask for the IP or Internet Protocol address – a unique address – of the recipient from the Domain Name Server (DNS) so it could transmit the data.
“To reiterate, there were two servers that were functioning during the elections, CNTADNS that is used by all VCMs and CCS (Consolidating Canvassing System), and CNTBDNS used only by four IP addresses from May 10 to 11 only,” he said.
“Here, all VCM’s queries were communicated only to one server, and that is CNTADNS server. The recipients are the Municipal/City Board of Canvassers, Provincial/Regional Board of Canvassers, Transparency Servers and the Central Servers,” he said.
This was the procedure done during the peak period of transmissions on May 9 to 10.
Rules changed suddenly
Suddenly, on May 10 to 11, the rules changed in the middle of the game, the senator said.
“For some unknown reason, the transmissions from the VCMs did not go straight to the Consolidating Canvassing System (CCS) but instead, went through either one of the four ‘queuing servers’ before reaching the CCS. By then, two servers are now involved in the process,” he said.
Sotto said a new server, CNTBDNSO1, communicated with the queries of the VCMs after they went through queuing.
“In the IT (information technology) world, a queuing server is a device to organize and line up all the incoming data to make sure that what goes in will be sent out so no data is left behind,” he said.
“I am really perplexed by these four queuing servers and Server CNTBDNSO1. Is this some kind of a back up system to troubleshoot a problem due to the surge of data all at the same time? I don’t think so because from the time they designed the process, the engineers more or less knew the bandwidths and data capacity of the servers. They knew this from the start,” he stressed.
“Also, it is very complex to set up another server, so this cannot be a last minute decision. This second server has been set up and ready to be plugged at the last stretch of the transmission phase.”
“Can the Comelec provide us with a resolution showing that this second server was also tested? Because as far as I know, there is no second server in the Comelec issued process,” he said.