Guanzon asks en banc to bar Smartmatic personnel to leave PHL

Guanzon asks en banc to bar Smartmatic personnel to leave PHL

MANILA, Philippines — A top official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has asked the commission en banc to stop Smartmatic personnel from leaving the Philippines until the investigation on the alteration of the script and hashcode of the poll body’s transparency server has concluded.

In a one-page memorandum, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon urged the seven-man panel, through Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, to direct Smartmatic Philippines to prohibit its official and employees from exiting the country.

“In view of the investigation that will be conducted by the Commission with respect to the issue on the change or alteration of the script or dashcode of the Comelec Transparency Server, I urge the En Banc, specifically through Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, to write and direct Smartmatic Philippines to issue a memorandum and/or an order prohibiting their officers and employees from leaving the country until the investigation is terminated and concluded,” she said in a memorandum dated May 16.

With this, the poll body official asked the en banc to act immediately on the matter.

“Considering further the public interest involved and the urgency of the matter, I encourage the En Banc to act on the issue with haste and dispatch,” she added.

On the other hand, Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said that it was not necessary for them to coordinate with the Bureau of Immigration (BI), at this point.

“At this point I think it’s not necessary,” he said.

The poll body chief noted that such matter should not be an issue since nobody had told him that they (Smartmatic personnel) were leaving.

“Nobody has told me they were leaving so why are we talking about whether they should be allowed to leave when nobody is leaving in the first place,” Bautista added.

The BI is the agency that implements hold departure order (HDO) issued by courts and watchlist order, where the bureau inform a particularly agency which is task to monitor an individual about his/her attempt to leave the country. Ferdinand Patinio/PNA/