Comelec to finally get source code but review to come later–BrillantesBy Christine O. Avendaño, Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections on Monday announced that the source code for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the May 13 elections will finally be released to the Comelec this week.
The source code is the readable computer program that runs the PCOS machines.
“Dominion is coming in at any time. We are just waiting. They have already agreed that they will open the source code,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, referring to the original vendor of the automated machines.
He said, however, that political parties and other interested groups would have to wait until after the elections for the results of the review of the source code.
“We are opening it for review to all people interested but this will have to be after the elections. It cannot be completed at this time since it is not easy to review the source code,” said Brillantes.
He said an agreement reached between Dominion Voting Systems Inc. and Smartmatic, the company that sold the machines to the Comelec, paved the way for the release of the source code.
Dominion, which owns the technology, had delayed releasing the source code amid a legal dispute with Smartmatic.
“Last Friday, Smartmatic and Dominion signed an agreement in America to allow the 2013 source code to be brought to the Philippines,” Brillantes said. “I also signed my conformé to their agreement and after that we called Systest Labs Inc. (SLI) for them to come here.”
SLI is the company that independently certified the source code.
Brillantes refused to confirm if the actual source code was already in the hands of the Comelec.
“I will not answer that at this time,” he said. “We are not making any conclusions yet until Dominion comes in. Smartmatic is also coming in. So everyone is here, all key players are here.”
Representatives from both Smartmatic and Dominion will be in the country by Wednesday at the latest, Brillantes added.
He said the review of the source code should put to rest any doubts about the coming elections.
“All those who say that there is no source code should now keep their peace,” he said. “Let’s stop all the accusations and help each other.”
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, will hold oral arguments Wednesday on senatorial candidate Richard Gordon’s petition to allow political parties to examine the source code.
In ordering the oral arguments at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the high court will be holding a special session, breaking a monthlong recess that was to last until next month.
In a two-page notice released Monday by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the Supreme Court ordered the Comelec through the Solicitor General to comment not later than noon of May 8 on the petition filed last week by Gordon and the Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippines Movement.
The high tribunal said it was “necessary and proper” for the Comelec to comment on the petition and for it to hold oral arguments “considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments” stated therein.
Last week, Gordon and the group asked the Supreme Court to compel the Comelec to fulfill its duty and obtain the required source code and make it available for review.