MANILA, Philippines – On Wednesday, May 15, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) filed a motion to defer the proclamation of senatorial candidates, citing the slow transmission of results and the possibility of election results tampering as a cause for investigation.
The National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) is expected to tackle the petition Thursday afternoon, May 16.
Below is an excerpt from UNA’s petition to the NBOC, slightly edited for clarity.
1. On 13 May 2013, the votes for the National and Local Elections were cast. However, reports of unauthorized access of election data, delays in the transmission of election results and a substantial number of defective or corrupted Compact Flash cards (“CF cards”) have tainted the authenticity, integrity, and accuracy of the electronically transmitted certificates of canvass.
2. Indeed, suspicion is raised on the authenticity and due execution of the certificates of canvass when:
- there have been confirmed reports of unauthorized access and manipulation of the TAR file found in the Transparency Server Room;
- only 69% of the PCOS machines have transmitted election results to the Transparency Server; and
- a substantial number of CF cards containing untransmitted data are being physically brought to the canvassing centers due to, among others, corrupted CF cards or the PCOS, for one reason or another, being unable to electronically transmit.
Manipulation of a TAR file found in the Transparency Server Room
3. There have been confirmed reports of manipulation by Smartmatic personnel of election data received by the Transparency Server, which is supposed to be an independent canvassing system. The interference by the Smartmatic personnel causes grave concern as to the accuracy of the data being fed to and received by the Transparency Server. Attached hereto as Annex “A” is the Affidavit dated 15 May 2013 of Gadburt V. Mercado attesting to the unauthorized manipulation of data fed to and received by the Transparency Server.
4. The unreliability of the data fed to and received by the Transparency Server, which has been tainted by unauthorized access and possible manipulation, defeats the very purpose of having an independent canvassing system upon which the authenticity, integrity and accuracy of the electronically transmitted certificates of canvass to the Honorable Board can be validated.
5. Parenthetically, the Honorable Board may note further questionable practices in relation to the handling of data, as may be gleaned from the attached affidavit:
- (a) COMELEC personnel in charge of the Transparency Server admitted to handing over or relaying the log-in information, including the password assigned to the COMELEC, for purposes of accessing the Transparency Server, to the Smartmatic personnel. This defeats the entire objective of the system, where the COMELEC and Smartmatic are given separate passwords, which are both required, to gain access into the Transparency Server. Effectively, control over said server was absolutely ceded by the COMELEC to Smartmatic.
- (b) As earlier mentioned, such surrender of control resulted in the “inadvertent activation” of a “program in the server that deleted” a file located in the Transparency Server. Obviously, such deletion was made without the knowledge or consent of the COMELEC.
- (c) It was likewise discovered that the same Smartmatic Database Analyst was actually retrieving data from the Transparency Server, for purposes of updating the COMELEC website. Again, this demonstrates a wanton disregard of the inherent system of checks and balances, an essential component of the Automated Election System.
6. In fact, even the Liberal Party acknowledges the manipulation and interference by the Smartmatic personnel of the data processing of the Transparency Server. Attached hereto as Annex “B” is the letter dated 14 May 2013 of the Liberal IT Team addressed to the Head of the Technical Team, Smartmatic-Transparency Server Room wherein opssition was registered against said manipulation.
7. It is, therefore, respectfully submitted that until the Honorable Board has resolved the issue on the unauthorized access and manipulation of election data in the Transparency Server, and that such unauthorized access and manipulation of election data were not done in the servers of COMELEC and the Board of Canvassers, the proclamation of all of the twelve (12) senatorial candidates should be deferred.
Delay in transmission of election results
8. Compared to the transmission of results during the May 2010 elections wherein more than 80% of the results were transmitted by midnight of the Election Day, the transmission of votes for the May 2013 has been much slower with only 69.17% of the PCOS machines having transmitted to the Transparency Server as of 15 May 2013. [See Rappler’s report, a printed copy of which is attached hereto as Annex “C”]
9. Conversely, data from at least 30% of the PCOS machines (a majority of which coming from the ARMM) have not been electronically transmitted to the Transparency Server. Suffice it to say that it is through the data in the Transparency Server that the authenticity, integrity, and accuracy of the electronically transmitted certificates of canvass received by the Honorable Board may be validated by the movant and the public.
10. The above-mentioned PCOS machines which have yet to transmit any election results represent approximately 8.4 Million votes that have yet to be transmitted to the municipal or city Board of Canvassers. Clearly, the 8.4 Million unaccounted votes will have a substantial effect on the results of the senatorial elections affecting the first to the twelfth position. It is, therefore, with all due respect, more prudent for the Honorable Board to defer the proclamation of all 12 senatorial candidates.
CF cards containing untransmitted data
11. Finally, a substantial number of CF cards containing untransmitted data are being physically brought to the canvassing centers thereby creating the huge possibility of switching of CF cards or tampering thereof to change the contents and consequently, alter the results of the elections.
12. Worse, reports of corrupted or destroyed CF cards containing untransmitted data has made it even more difficult to confirm the accuracy and integrity of the election results being transmitted. Thus, time and effort should be given to validate the reliability of the data being transmitted.
13. In the absence of any data in the Transparency Server upon which the CF cards physically carried to the canvassing boards can be validated, it is respectfully submitted that the Honorable Board defer the proclamation of all senatorial candidates.
14. In view of the reported breach and unauthorized access of election data, the delay in the transmittal of elections results, and a substantial number of CF cards containing untransmitted data being physically delivered to the canvassing centers due to corrupted CF cards or PCOS failint to transmit, it behooves the Honorable Board to act with prudence and carefully scrutinize the causes for the delay in the transmission of the data passing through the “ladderized” system of transmission, and to validate the election results transmitted and generated by the Transparency Servers.
15. Furthermore, in order to ensure that evidence in relation to the unauthorized access to the Transparency Server be preserved, it is imperative that this Honorable Board issue an Order:
- (a) directing the preservation of the audit and transmission logs of the Transparency Server;
- (b) securing the two security log books of the Transparency Server Room; and
- (c) directing the retrieval of CCTV footage from the said Transparency Server Room, for all dates and times material to the allegation made herein.