MANILA, Philippines – Raised by the camp of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the issue over an election-related hash code has been blown out of proportion, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Christian Lim said.
“It’s being used…to discredit the elections,” Lim said in an interview with reporters late Thursday afternoon, May 12.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista also said they expect much “political conditioning” in the tight vice presidential race pitting Marcos and the current front runner, Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo.
Bautista said: “We all knew, before the elections happened, that the surveys showed that number one, there seemed to be a landslide in the presidential race. But we also knew that in respect of the vice presidential race, it was going to be close. Naturally, we see these all happening.”
“Obviously, since this is a hotly contested political race, there will be a lot of political conditioning and mind games,” Bautista said in a news conference.
The root of the issue – the hash code – is considered the fingerprint of any software.
The Comelec on Thursday confirmed that a change was made in the hash code of the data package containing election results.
‘There is no cheating’
Bautista, however, clarified that the change was “cosmetic” in nature.
“There is no cheating whatsoever,” Bautista said.
The elections chief explained that Smartmatic, the Comelec’s technology provider, tweaked a program only so that the letter “ñ” will appear as it is in the data package.
Before this, the program displayed the letter “ñ” as a question mark.
Had he known that Smartmatic would tweak the data package, Lim said he would have opposed it.
He said the change “just added more fuel” to an already volatile situation.
“I’d rather have stability, and I’d rather answer the question of the question mark rather than the question of the ‘ñ,'” Lim said.
The Marcos camp now wants its own information technology expert to check the Comelec server involved in an alleged data breach.
Marcos is trailing Robredo in the unofficial tally as of 9:34 pm on Thursday.
Robredo has 13.99 million votes as opposed to Marcos’ 13.76 million. – Rappler.com