DLSU to host official scrutiny of voting machines

Paterno Esmaquel II
The months-long source code review begins on October 1. This ensures that voting machines cannot be easily rigged.

'MASTER BLUEPRINT.' This CD contains the source code, or 'master blueprint,' or voting machines for the 2013 elections. File photo by Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The De La Salle University (DLSU), one of the Philippines’ leading universities, has agreed to host the official scrutiny of the country’s voting machines for the 2016 elections. 

DLSU, a Catholic school based in Taft Avenue, Manila, is set to host the review of the source code or “master blueprint” of the voting machines, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said.

The first part of the source review begins on October 1.

Bautista said another major phase is scheduled in February 2016.

He explained that DLSU will lend the Comelec a 200-square-meter space within its campus. Then the poll pody will install around 15 computers in the area, and open the source code review to various groups, including the media.

Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim said the early source code review will allow the Comelec to correct “malicious lines,” if found in the voting machines, by December 30.

Major difference 

The source code review is seen as a means to ensure credible elections.

A Philippine law defines the source code as “human-readable instructions that define what the computer equipment will do.”

Source codes contain instructions for counting and canvassing of votes. Manipulation of the source codes could lead to fraud. (READ: FAQs: Why worry about PCOS code?)

The source code review for 2016 happens 7 months earlier than in the last elections, which was in May 2013.

In 2013, the Comelec presented the source code of voting machines for review only on May 9, or 4 days before elections. 

“This is important because organizations usually complain that they have too short a time to review the source code. So now we’re opening up everything so you have all the time now until the election day to review all the codes,” Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim earlier said in Filipino.

Bautista said in a previous news conference, “This is one difference between how 2016 will be conducted as opposed to 2010 and 2013.” – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.