Poll watchdog asks Comelec to allow IT experts to examine its central database

MANILA — An election watchdog group urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to allow independent Information Technology (IT) experts to examine its central database to refute allegations of irregularity in the counting of votes for the May 9 elections.

With this, Glenn Chong of Automated Elections System (AES) Watch questioned the decision of Smartmatic to introduce changes in the system that had surely put doubt in the integrity of the elections.

“Ano ang overriding necessity, and ang pinakamabigat na dahilan bakit ninyo ni-risk ang integrity ng buong halalan para lang palitan ang ? sa ñ. Because we all agree na naiintindihan natin ang typographical error pero kung cosmetic lang sya bakit mo gagawin yon. Pwede mo naman pabayaan na lang at wala namang effect? Why risk the whole integrity of the elections for just a mere typographical error,” he said.

Chong noted an independent audit of the system and the platform is necessary to erase all doubts about the integrity of the elections.

“As of now, marami talaga ang mga duda Hindi pwede ang ibigay nila ang old at new script lamang. Walang IT expert ang tatanggap nyan. Kaya we have to conduct an independent audit composed of independent IT experts together with the Comelec and Smartmatic in the presence of the media,” he said.

Chong also presented a graph showing the decline after the insertion of a change in the script or system was made.

“From the first to the fifth update, Marcos was able to build a substantial lead to around 1 million votes. But when the change in the script was introduced between 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., his lead suddenly slowed down. Thereafter, beginning at 8:59 p.m., his lead decreased and after four updates, his lead was down to just 5,000 votes,” he said.

“This is from 922,000 to 700,000 to 298,000 then yung dalawa hindi ito, yung isa 150,000 nawala. This one 142,000. By 3:08 a.m., 5,000 na lang po ang lamang ni Senator Marcos,” Chong added.

He noted that an audit of the Comelec’s Network Operating Centre (NOC) or central database is the only way to prove that the counting of votes was not affected by the change in the script.

“Kami ay nanawagan sa Comelec na buksan yung system and platform para ma-audit ito ng independent experts. Hindi po sapat yung sinasabi ng Comelec na ipapakita nila sa atin yung original script at yung binagong script. Any IT expert will not accept that,” Chong added.

When asked why he was speaking in favor of Marcos, Chong said he came to make the public disclosure because of personal reason.

“This same incident happened to me in 2010 when I initially enjoyed a lead in the evening only to lose it in the morning and my questions have never been answered,” he said. Ferdinand Patinio/PNA/northboundasia.com