GMA News Online - Bongbong asks Comelec: Let my IT team audit transparency, central servers

By Rose-An Jessica Dioquino | GMA News Online

GMA-News-OnlineSen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to let "IT experts and programmers" from his team conduct an audit of the servers used in the May 9 elections.

In a letter filed by his representatives, Marcos said the audit this must be done in light of doubts that sprung from the "introduction of a new script" to the transparency server.

"The alteration removed the only security feature of the data by causing the hash codes to change. With the tampering of this sole security feature, how can we be assured that the data has not been altered in other ways or on other occasions?" the senator wrote.

He added: "If a single person can introduce 'cosmetic' changes, how can we be assured that the same person and/or other persons did not introduce substantial alterations to the script and that the data had not been affected just as easily?"

The Comelec had assured that script change in the transparency server did not affect the tally of votes for vice president.

The Smartmatic's Marlon Garcia, who made the script change, said that the update was just a straightforward "minor" cosmetic change.

The Comelec said it will determine the possible liability of the Smartmatic.

Hours before Marcos' camp made its formal request, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the poll body is already preparing its own audit of the automated election system.

"Our people are preparing their own report to Congress, so since Senator Marcos is still in office he will also get a copy of the Commission on Elections report to Congress," she told reporters.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, meanwhile, said they have always been open to "reasonable requests for information."

"Itong mga systems natin napasailalim na ito sa source code review, review ng mga political parties, at sabi ko nga kami always open to reasonable requests for information. That is part and parcel of transparency," Bautista said.

Marcos, who revealed the script change by the Smartmatic, had asked the Comelec to stop the quick count by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.

The senator led the partial and unofficial tally a few hours after the May 9 elections, and was overtaken by Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo the next day.

As of this posting, Robredo was leading the unofficial count with 14,023,093 votes while Marcos had 13,803,966 votes.