MANILA, Philippines – Technology provider Smartmatic on Tuesday, May 17, said it has no intention of leaving the Philippines after it was accused of breaching election-related protocol.
This comes after Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon issued a memo on Monday, May 16, urging her colleagues to bar Smartmatic officials from leaving the Philippines.
In an interview with reporters, Smartmatic voters’ education head Karen Jimeno said their company "respects" the memorandum that Guanzon issued Monday.
Still, the company thinks it "is unnecessary" because Smartmatic officials have no intentions of leaving the country anyway.
"They intend to fully cooperate with whatever investigation that Comelec calls for, or any political party calls for, so they have no intention of leaving the country as well, so it’s really unnecessary to even have a hold-departure order," Jimeno said.
Smartmatic recently drew flak for changing an election-related hash code, which is part of the system receiving election results, without the Comelec en banc's permission.
The reported breach happened at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, which hosts the server upon which media outfits base their unofficial tallies.
Smartmatic’s reported breach in protocol has been cited by the camp of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr to insinuate cheating in the vice presidential race.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.