BBM Camp: All IT experts, winning candidates welcome to participate in COMELEC system audit

21 May 2016

The camp of Vice Presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. today said all Information Technology (IT) experts as well as representatives of winning candidates are welcome to participate in the system audit of the transparency and central servers of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

This was the statement today by Abakada Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz, Campaign Adviser of Senator Marcos, who said should the Comelec allow an audit of the central and transparency servers, all IT experts are welcome to take part as well as those coming from winning candidates.

“We would like to urge all IT experts to go there (Comelec), to have themselves accredited and take a look and see for themselves what happened. At hinihiling namin sa lahat ng grupo kahit na yung nanalo na na sumali dito kasi kredibilidad ng halalan ang nakataya. Katotohanan ang ating hinahanap dito,” he said.

Earlier, Marcos formally asked the Comelec to allow his own IT experts, with the supervision of the poll body to conduct a system audit to determine what transpired after Smartmatic personnel admittedly changed the script of the transparency server on the night of May 9.

In addition to the audit, his camp also filed another letter before the poll body asking Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista to provide additional information concerning other components of the Automated Election System like the transmission logs, the white list (vote counting machines, USB devices, BGAN or Broadband Global Area Network); digitally-signed election returns (ERs), and the public and decryption keys to open the transmitted files.

Marcos also wants to know the number of CCS (Consolidation and Canvassing System) laptops/servers that were reported to contain rogue votes coming from the Pre-Election logical accuracy test and mock elections on election day; the municipalities, cities and provinces affected and the measures the poll body took to rectify the supposed error.

Dela Cruz pointed out that the system audit that they are pushing for is not directed at a particular candidate but at the integrity of the elections. He said the poll body should welcome this move because every Filipino deserves to know the truth behind the system change employed by Smartmatic personnel on the night of the elections.

“We have to have a system audit. We have to see the transmission logs because that is the only way we can see what really happened. This has nothing to do with the results. This has everything to do with the integrity of our elections and the violations committed of our election laws,” Dela Cruz pointed out.

He further stated that people should not just accept Smartmatic’s excuse that the change was merely innocuous because in computer technology, everything can change with just one push of a button or a single letter or icon. “Hindi mo pwede sabihin na kinalikot mo yan, walang nangyari. Ibig sabihin nyan, may kinalikot ka, may nangyari. Lalo na ito yung pinakialamanan ay ang transmission ng lahat ng kandidato sa halalan sa buong Pilipinas. That happened at around 7:30 p.m. on the day of the elections,” he said.

He further stated that they also found out that all vote counting machines (VCMs) did not transmit a single election result at around 10 p.m. on the same date. “We also found that after they changed the system, at 10 p.m. on the same day of May 9 ay biglang walang nagtransmit na VCM. Lahat ng VCM sa buong bansa walang nagtransmit for a period of one hour. After which nagkaroon ng kababalaghan. Kaya dapat magkaroon ng system audit para malaman kung anong katotohanan,” he said.

Dela Cruz had also earlier filed criminal complaints against Smartmatic executives Marlon Garcia and Elie Moreno, project director, for introducing a new script in the transparency server of the Comelec without proper authorization. Also included in the complaint were Neil

Banigued, a member of the Smartmatic Technical Support Team and Rouie Peñalba, IT officer of the Comelec who were involved in the script change.

Specifically, the respondents were charged for the violation of Sections 35 (b) and (c) of R.A No. 8436, as amended by R.A. No. 9369, otherwise known as the Automated Elections Law which prohibits interfering with “the generation, transmission of election results, data or information.”

Dela Cruz said the law also prohibits “gaining or causing access to, using, altering and destroying computer data, program and system software, network, or any computer-related devices, facilities, hardware or equipment, whether classified or declassified.”