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Thursday, June 8, 2017
‘Secret server used to rig polls’
BY THE MANILA TIMES ON JUNE 7, 2016
The camp of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. claimed Tuesday that a fourth server of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was used to manipulate the elections held last month.
Abakada Party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, adviser of Marcos, said the Comelec and Smartmatic used a secret server to do their “tricks.” He said they can prove the existence of this server once their request for a system audit is granted.
“This was never disclosed. This is the fourth server and therefore it should have been subjected to source code review also and everything else. But this was not disclosed to the public. This is in violation of the law,” de la Cruz told reporters.
“If cheating was deliberate, we don’t know. That’s why we need to find out what was the function of the queue server,” he added.
The Comelec has turned down the request to conduct a system audit.
The Church-based election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also on Tuesday called on the Comelec to investigate the alleged irregularities in the just concluded May 9 elections.
PPCRV Chairperson Henrietta de Villa made the call after three taxpayers filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to compel the poll body to prosecute Smartmatic officials who made an unauthorized tweak on the Automated Election System (AES) on the night of May 9.
The Marcos camp had claimed that the illegal change in script done by Smartmatic on the transparency server of the Comelec stationed at the command center of the PPCRV at the Pope Pius Catholic Center in U.N. Avenue in Manila changed the election results in the vice presidential race.
Last month, three unidentified whistle blowers who claimed to have taken part in the “dagdag-bawas (vote padding and shaving)” appeared at the Senate. They said their operations in Quezon province benefitted the administration’s presidential and vice-presidential bets and several other senatorial candidates. They said that votes for other candidates, especially Marcos, were credited to Rep. Leni Robredo.
De Villa admitted that allegations of cheating has marred the credibility and the integrity of the elections.
She said that the Comelec should investigate these allegations to erase any doubts on the credibility of the election process.
“For the credibility of the elections, all protests and claims accompanied by evidence should be looked into seriously,” said De Villa in a statement posted at the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“So Comelec must investigate. Claimants of cheating must have hard and strong evidence to back their claims. If proven guilty, cheaters must be punished heavily and swiftly,” she said. “PPCRV stands on the side of the truth and the law.”
Several weeks ago, the Commission En Banc formed a committee headed by Comelec Legal Department Chief Norie Casingal to look into the “unauthorized” tweaking of the script of its transparency server but it has yet to come out with the results of its probe.
Chairman Juan Andres Bautista pointed out though that the investigation was only to determine the administrative liability of Smartmatic project manager Marlon Garcia, who earlier admitted having altered the script without the knowledge and permission of the Comelec en banc.
Marcos is expected to file an electoral protest against Robredo before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Jose Amorado, Marcos’ lawyer, said the electoral protest will be filed on June 27, three days before the new president and vice president are sworn into office.
Amorado said there are areas where they will ask for a poll recount, and areas where election results should be set aside because of fraud.
The Marcos camp earlier filed charges against some Comelec and Smartmatic personnel for violating the cybercrime law.
Named respondents were Garcia, project director Elie Moreno, and technical support team members Neil Banigued and Mauricio Herrera and Comelec IT experts Rouie Peñalba, Nelson Herrera and Frances Mae Gonzales. They were given until June 17 to submit their answers to the complaint. http://www.manilatimes.net/secret-server-used-to-rig-polls/266543/