Marcos wants SC action on Comelec's 'failed' SD card decryption

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr is set to file a motion asking the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to order the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to explain its "failure" to decrypt unused SD cards that allegedly contain data.

In a statement released Wednesday, January 18, Marcos' legal spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said the Comelec was not able to open the contents of the 26 SD cards during the decryption activity in its main office last Monday, January 16.

The SD cards had been retrieved from supposedly unused vote-counting machines (VCMs) for the May 2016 elections.

"For us, this is quite disheartening and highly irregular. The process of decrypting SD cards have been done so many times in the past and so now we're wondering why Comelec can't seem to do it now," Rodriguez said.

The Marcos camp insisted that one possible reason for the failed decryption is that the SD cards were tampered with. Other explanations, they said, would be a defective decryption tool or the existence of software different from the authorized one.

Rodriguez added that during Monday's decryption, their IT representatives found a program that could only appear in a Windows operating system and not Linux, which is the system Smartmatic used in formatting the SD cards.

"Any of the reasons raised are a clear violation of our election laws. Comelec should answer these questions because they cast doubt on the credibility of the elections," he said.

Data in 'clean' SD cards

The Marcos camp earlier claimed that the presence of data in SD cards of supposedly unused VCMs prove the existence of electoral fraud.

Alleged electoral fraud is the basis of their protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, who edged ahead of Marcos in the middle of the transmission of votes and the unofficial canvassing in May last year.

Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal argued, however, that the decryption process is not yet done and no one knows the nature of the data supposedly inside the SD cards.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez also earlier defended the decryption process, saying all parties should wait for it to be completed before making conclusions. Jimenez, however, did not give a specific timetable for the completion of the process. –