THE inability of the Commission on Elections to guard the automated election system (AES) has cast a cloud of doubt over the integrity of the entire process, according to vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
He made the remark after the Comelec and Smartmatic officials admitted that they introduced a “new script” into the transparency server being used to count the votes.
“This has now forced the Comelec Chairman (Andres Bautista) to admit that in fact the changes occurred. Chairman Bautista, who earlier claimed he did not know about it, now admits that it did in fact happen. This is a matter of grave and immediate concern,” said Marcos.
Marcos Thursday night said that it has become clear that his assertion that hash codes have been changed at 7:30 p.m. on May 9 “is true” after two whistleblowers came out in two newspaper articles confirming that there were alterations made and a video has been circulating in social media that changes indeed happened.
“We call on Chairman Bautista and the Comelec for a full and truthful explanation (into the matter) so the public can best be informed on this matter before the official canvass begins,” said Marcos.
The senator’s camp called on the information technology (IT) experts to help Marcos “make sense of this very serious issue.” This is not just about guarding the votes of Senator Marcos but the integrity of the whole electoral process, Marcos’ legal team said.
However Marcos rejected Bautista’s claim that the change was “something innocuous.” Section 28 of Republic Act 8436 provides that any form of utilization without authorization or tampering with electronic devices or their components used in the automated elections is prohibited and punishable by law, he said.
“Furthermore, Comelec rules also provide that changing the hash code requires an En Banc resolution but as admitted by the Chairman himself, even he was not informed about it,” he said.
“In addition, if the alteration was something innocuous, why did they have to change it in the first place while in the middle of transmission? Why did they deny the change only to admit it later on? Were there other modifications made? By whom and upon whose authority? Why were the changes done by a Venezuelan Smartmatic technician rather than a Filipino Comelec-authorized personnel?” Marcos asked.
Marcos recently appealed to his supporters to “stay calm” amid reported “irregularities” in the unofficial quick count of the votes that favored his rival from the administration camp, Rep. Leni Robredo.