THE Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System, chaired by senator-elect Koko Pimentel and CIBAC party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna exposed the early transmission of data at the transparency server before the day of elections and the actual counting of votes.
The three-hour poll probe held at the Senate yesterday morning unveiled the urgent need to replace Smartmatic that has been involved in the automated elections of the country since 2010.
The integrity of Smartmatic was put in question after former Smartmatic operations officer Jeffrey Ian Dy, an IT expert, confirmed during the hearing that the transmission occurred between May 3 to 9.
According to Dy, the double transmission of data was discovered in Libon, Albay.
Although Dy cannot confirm on the spot if the early transmission directly affected the election results, the early transmission of data was wrong and prohibited by Comelec.
During the hearing, the poll body said sorry and acknowledged the problems of the 2019 midterm elections, including the seven-hour delay in the release of election results from the transparency server and the glitches in secure digital cards used to store encrypted images of the ballots.
It was recalled that Sen. Panfilo Lacson questioned the efficiency of the transmission, particularly the seven-hour data outage of the transparency servers.
The panel lamented that the glitches and questionable transmission still occurred despite the Comelec having a budget of over P10 billion for the conduct of polls.
Furthermore, the hearing revealed there were 1,051 malfunctioning vote-counting machines and 2,246 corrupted SD cards during the May 13 polls.
It was recalled that Comelec previously blamed thousands of the defective SD cards that led to voting and transmission delays procured at S1-Silicon Valley.
Even if the poll body set aside a budget of P80 million, Commissioner Marlon Casquejo reported the amount of the winning bid to supply SD cards was P29 million.
This development echoed the dismay of President Rodrigo Duterte with Smartmatic over slow and questionable transmission.
Duterte believed that the votes were “not being counted truthfully” that’s why he ordered Comelec to ditch Smartmatic as a technology supplier in the future automated elections.
Earlier, Namfrel, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza supported the call to ban Smartmatic and look for a new system free of fraud to prevent elections marred by technical glitches, defective SD cards, questionable integrity of the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) and inefficiency of the system.
Meanwhile, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Spokesperson and lawyer of former senator Bongbong Marcos supported the overwhelming demand to ban Smartmatic and explore for credible companies to provide technology for the automated elections.
Rodriguez pointed out that the acknowledgement of Comelec about the incompetence of Smartmatic during the joint congressional oversight committee hearing held yesterday is a clear sign to perpetually ban the company.
“There is nothing left for Comelec to do but perpetually ban Smartmatic from participating in any part whatsoever in our electoral processes and end sabotaging the genuine will of the Filipino people,” Rodriguez said
Rodriguez cited that it’s about time to let the Filipino IT experts/companies ensure that our election is free from fraud and foreign intervention.
He believed that as a sovereign country, the government should stop depending on foreign system and let the qualified Filipino IT experts/companies join the church and the organized groups to protect the integrity of the elections and let the true will of the people prevail.