ABS-CBN News – Comelec must reveal location of its central server: NAMFREL

By ABS-CBN News

A poll watchdog said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) must reveal the location of its central server amid questions on the integrity of the recently concluded midterm elections.

Gus Lagman of the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), told ANC’s Future Perfect the existence of a so-called “meet-me room” is not in the law and votes must be directly transmitted to the server.

“It’s not in the law. The law says you have to transmit directly to the Comelec server, the citizens’ arm, and media. That’s what the law says,” Lagman said.

“But what happened, there’s this ‘meet-me room,’ the VCMs or the vote-counting machines transmit to the meet-me room, the meet-me room then transmits to the different servers, to the Comelec server, the media server, the transparency server. So they’re doing it differently from what the law says,” he added.

Comelec has denied the existence of a separate server, saying there was only a router to make sure data coming from the vote-counting machines (VCM) will flow smoothly into the transparency server.

According to Lagman, the router will not really slow the process down.

“It will not slow the process down, it’s just more convenient to transmit it to one server, and then the server distributing it to three others. But what the law says is you transmit directly to the Comelec server, media server and the transparency server. That’s what the law says,” he said.

Lagman, likewise, urged Comelec to reveal where the central server is.

“They think of security by keeping it obscure from public. But there’s also the opposite of that. It becomes secure when everybody knows what it is is. Because everybody knows how its supposed to be done, then you can’t change it,” he said.

HYBRID ELECTIONS

Meanwhile, Lagman reiterated his suggestion to shift to a hybrid election system in the future.

This means a combination of manual counting in election precincts and automation during canvassing.

“The voters have the right to witness the counting of their votes, and in an automated system that we’re using, the voters don’t get to see how their votes are counted,” Lagman said.

He also debunked claims by Comelec officials that the law need to be changed for the hybrid elections to be implemented.

“I don’t believe that we need to change the law, because the law says that the Comelec is authorized to automate the elections. Authorized, it’s not saying mandated,” lagman said.

“As a matter of fact, when the law was passed in 2007, they didn’t have time to automate it. They only automated it in 2010,” he added.

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