Comelec taps NBI to investigate data leak

Paterno Esmaquel II
The Comelec website remains inaccessible as of Tuesday evening after hackers defaced it

COMELEC DEMO. Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez shows the use of vote-counting machines on January 25, 2016, before members of the media and election watchdogs. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday, March 29, said it has tapped the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the leaking of data from the poll body’s website.

In an interview with reporters, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said the matter “has actually been referred” to the Cyber Crimes Division of the NBI. 

“Right now, the first step really is to validate whether or not the data they’re posting is authentic,” Jimenez said. “At this point, I really don’t know if it’s the real deal.”

This comes after a group called LulzSec Pilipinas before midnight on Monday, March 28, said it has leaked the “whole database” of the Comelec. 

Before this, the hackers’ group Anonymous Philippines defaced the Comelec website. Anonymous Philippines on Sunday, March 27, said it hacked the Comelec website because it wants the poll body to implement the security features of vote-counting machines.  

Comelec website inaccessible

In his interview with reporters, Jimenez also said he has received reports that the Comelec website has not been loading properly.

The Comelec website remains inaccessible as of 6:50 pm on Tuesday.

Jimenez explained that this is probably because the “clean-up” of the website is ongoing.

“But it’s not been hacked again,” Jimenez said. “I think that’s the most important thing.”

“It’s not yet 100% back to normal but we’re working on it,” he added.

Despite the hacking, Jimenez earlier said the Comelec can protect the public’s votes on May 9.

He said the security for the poll body’s website “is not as tight” compared to the voting process that it really needs to secure, “come hell or high water.” –

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