Manila Bulletin : Comelec says filing of application for local source code review until Sept. 10

News & Interviews
17 August 2021

By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin

Those who want to participate in the local source code review of the automated elections system (AES) to be used in the May 2022 polls may now submit their applications to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“Your attention please, patriots. The Local Source Code Review Committee is now accepting online applications to participate in the 2021-2022 Local Source Code Review of the Automated Elections System,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said on Twitter, Monday, Aug. 16.

The local source code review seeks to provide interested parties, groups, and associations with opportunity to inspect and examine the source codes of the AES to build public trust, promote transparency and confidence on the AES.

The review shall cover the source codes of the Election Management System (EMS); Vote-Counting Machine (VCM); Consolidated Canvassing System (CCS); and other related systems programmed and developed by the AES provider.

In Resolution No. 10712, the poll body said all requests filed within the specified period shall be subject to the approval of the Chairperson of the Local Source Code Review Committee.

It added that the decision of the Chairperson of the Local Source Code Review Committee shall be “final and unappealable.”

Allowed to apply are accredited political parties or coalition of parties; accredited and legitimate citizens organizations or groups; Information Technology (IT) groups known and recognized as existing in the IT community; civil society organizations/associations known for their involvement in election reform activities; and members of the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) and Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC).

“If, because of limited space, all interested parties, groups and associations cannot be accommodated in the venue of the source code review, preference shall be given to: 1) major political parties, as determined by the Commission; 2) duly-accredited citizen’s arms of the Commission; and 3) Members of CAC and JCOC,” the poll body said.

The source code reviewer, the Comelec said, must be duly authorized by the interested party or group they represent, and must be knowledgeable in computer programming languages preferably on the following systems: C/C++; Java application development; Bash; Object Oriented Programming Language; Unix-like systems, and Linux operating system.

“The prescribed qualification is to ensure that the code reviewer can understand and appreciate the source codes of the AES to be reviewed,” the Comelec said.

The poll body said each interested party, group, or association may appoint primary and secondary code reviewers for each system.

“However, depending on the availability of space at any given time, each party or group may be limited to field only one qualified reviewer at a given time,” it said.

The interested party, group or association may fill-out the online application form which can be accessed from the official Comelec website.

The deadline for the submission of applications shall be on Sept. 10.

Section 12 of Republic Act No. 9369 states that “once an AES technology is selected for implementation, the Commission shall promptly make the source code of that technology available and open to any interested party or group which may conduct their own review.”