InterAksyon – Bongbong's camp laments BI, Comelec's failure to stop Smartmatic engineer from leaving PH

19 June 2016

InterAksyonBy Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon

The camp of Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Sunday lamented the Commission on Elections and the Bureau of Immigration's failure to prevent the departure from the Philippines of a Smartmatic engineer facing charges in connection with the alleged unauthorized change of the script in the Comelec's transparency server during the counting of the results of the May 9 polls.

ABAKADA Partylist Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz, Marcos’s campaign adviser, complained after the two agencies failed to stop Mauricio Herrera from going back to Panama, his home country, because of the absence of a hold departure order (HDO) against him.

Dela Cruz said Herrera had left the country "despite Smartmatic's earlier assurances that none of the respondents had plans of leaving the Philippines" and Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon's call for the issuance of HDOs against accused Smartmatic executives and personnel.

“'Yon ang hindi natin maintindihan, kaya 'yon ang dapat ipapaliwanag nila [That's what we can't understand, that's what they need to explain],” Dela Cruz said.

Herrera, a member of the Smartmatic technical support team, is among the four officials and employees of the electronic voting technology and services provider charged by Marcos' camp last month of violating Section 4(a) Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2010.

The other three are Marlon Garcia, a Venezuelan national and head of the Smartmatic technical support team; Elie Moreno, an Israeli national and Smartmatic project director, and Neil Banigued, technical support team member.

A complaint was filed against them at the Office of the Manila City Prosecutor headed by Edward M. Togonon.

Section 4 of R.A. 10175 prohibits “intentionally altering computer data, without right and altering and interfering with the functioning of a computer and computer network by inputting, deleting and altering computer data and program, without right or authority."

Garcia, Moreno, and Banigued were present during Friday's preliminary investigation into the complaint and filed their counter-affidavits. Another proceeding is scheduled on July 4 at the prosecutor's office where Marcos and his team are expected to appear to file their reply to the counter-affidavits.

Dela Cruz claimed that shortly after the alleged unauthorized alteration of the script of the transparency server, the lead of Marcos over his closest rival Leni Robredo started to taper at a uniform rate until he was eventually overtaken by the Liberal Party candidate.

Marcos is set to file an election protest before the end of the month.