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Server tweaking unwise – Comelec chief

  • Written by Lee Ann P. Ducusin
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 2456

AFTER assuring last week that the change in the script of the transparency server was merely cosmetic and did not affect the results being transmitted, Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista is now saying that it would have been prudent of technology provider Smartmatic had not touched the script.

The changing of the script by a Smartmatic information technology technician has become controversial in light of a tight vice presidential race.

Bautista maintained that the change, done to correct the server’s reading of ‘ñ’ in the names of some candidates, did not affect the results. However, he pointed out that if they were prudent, they should have not changed the script.

“Basically what happened is they changed it for cosmetic purpose, they are our technology provider, but before they can do that change, they need the password from Comelec... There are two people who have the password—from Comelec and PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, at whose headquarters the server is housed),” he said.
“There is no hiding. In fact, there [was] CCTV footage, but perhaps, if they are prudent, they (Smartmatic) should not have done it,” he added.
The poll chief said anew that their records are open for anyone who wishes to look into the incident, which happened around 7 p.m. on May 9.
Last week, the camp of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is in close second in the vice presidential race based on the partial and unofficial count, alleged that his lead of about 1 million votes began to erode in a rather distinctive pattern after a new script was introduced to the transparency server.
Marcos’ camp has since called for the closing of the partial tally, and even a recount. Comelec officials, however, said they have not received a formal request for termination of the partial tally or a recount.
Poll officials, as well as those from Smartmatic, have repeatedly said the script change did not affect the results of the count, as the server merely receives the tally from the election returns transmitted by the vote counting machines.
Still, an investigation into the incident is ongoing. Some Comelec officials have also opined that the move was not according to protocol.
Meanwhile, Karen Jimeno, Smartmatic head of voter education, said their officers and personnel have no plans to leave the Philippines, pending an investigation on the controversial tweak in the script of the transparency server on election day.