Marcos camp wants own IT expert to check Comelec server

Patty Pasion

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Marcos camp wants own IT expert to check Comelec server
'The evidence [of cheating] is not in these papers.... The evidence is in the computers, the servers,” Representative Jonathan dela Cruz

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Thursday, May 12, that it wants its own information technology (IT) experts to access the network operating system the Commission on Elections’ server, where a breach allegedly occured.

“We are asking the Comelec, if it’s possible, for us to take a look at the network operating system because [this is] where the logs are,” Representative Jonathan dela Cruz told reporters.

“The evidence is not in these papers. The evidence is in the computers, the servers,” he also stressed.

Marcos’ camp maintained that an intervention in the Comelec server may have caused the change in the senator’s lead over Liberal Party bet Leni Robredo, who eventually took the top spot at 3:40 AM on Tuesday, May 10.

They alleged on Wednesday, May 11, that a new command was introduced to the Transparency Server, altering the hash codes of the Comelec server and causing the shift in the results trend.

The Standard reported that an IT expert who is an accredited observer in the quick count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting claimed that a Venezuelan, also an IT expert, tampered the hash codes of the server to apply changes in a name.

Early in the afternoon, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista downplayed the possibility of the breach affecting the number of votes transmitted.

Bautista said Smartmatic only applied a “cosmetic change” to alter the ‘?’ to an ‘Ñ’ that appears in a candidate’s name, stressing votes are not affected. 

He admitted, however, that they were not informed of Smartmatic’s action and that they went on their own without their authorization – a violation of the protocol the Comelec said they will study.   

Dela Cruz then noted that this was a violation of Republic Act Number 8436 or the law on automated elections.

“Utilizing without authorization, tampering with, damaging, destroying or stealing of official ballots, election returns, and certificates of canvass of votes used in the system” is prohibited under Section 25 of the said election law.

“They are making light of it and we don’t like to make light of it. The word they are telling is, it is cosmetic [but] this is not cosmetic,” Dela Cruz asserted.

Asked if they will submit a formal letter of request to the Comelec to gain access to the server, dela Cruz said they have yet to file one. –

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.