Rappler : Final software for 2022 polls turned over to Comelec

News & Interviews
24 September 2021

By DWIGHT DE LEON | Rappler

MANILA, PHILIPPINES

The software from Smartmatic will be the subject of a local source code review which will begin in October

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) revealed that it has received from its provider Smartmatic the final software that would be used for the 2022 national and local elections.

That software will be the subject of the local source code review beginning October.

"Since it was already turned over [on] September 16, we already have the final software to be reviewed starting October," Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo told lawmakers during a hearing by the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on the Automated Election System (AES) on Thursday, September 23.

"We [will] now use the final software, unlike in 2019 when we used the base software," he added.

The source code is considered the "master blueprint" of vote-counting machines and other aspects of the AES. Republic Act No. 9369 or the Election Automation Law compels the Comelec to open the source code for review to interested local groups.

These stakeholders include political parties, Comelec-accredited organizations, IT groups, civil society organizations, and members of the Comelec Advisory Council and the JCOC.

Casquejo said 18 groups have signified intent to participate in the local source code review, which will last until March 2022.

"Three months [will be] for the guided review, and another three months for the unguided review," Casquejo said.

In May, Smartmatic bagged the P402-million contract to provide software for the automated election system in 2022.

Projects secured by Smartmatic for the 2022 polls stand at around P1.04 billion, but that could still rise to over P2.2 billion. That's because Smartmatic underwent post-qualification on the procurement of Secure Electronic Services (SETS) and the lease of external batteries for the VCMs.

Smartmatic has provided the Comelec with machines and technology since the 2010 national elections, the country’s first automated polls. It is 100% privately owned and has no ties to political parties or groups, according to its website.

But election glitches in 2019 raised questions on Smartmatic's capability as one of the Comelec's poll providers.

Despite these, the random manual audit (RMA) of the 2016 elections – where independent auditors manually tallied votes and compared the results with machine tallies – yielded an accuracy rate of 99.88%. In the 2019 elections, the RMA registered an accuracy rate of 99.99%. – Rappler.com