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Brillantes tells Comelec: Let JCOC probe script tweak

/ 07:48 PM May 18, 2016
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In this file phot, Former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes talks to Commisioner Rowena Guanzon in Commission on Election Headquarters, Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City, May 13, 2016. RICHARD A. REYES

Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. has urged the poll body to dispense with its own investigation on the unauthorized change in the transparency server script and leave it to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on the Automated Election System in order to ensure impartiality.

In a statement issued on his Twitter account on Wednesday, Brillantes slammed Commissioner Rowena Guanzon for issuing comments against election technology provider Smartmatic.

READ: Brillantes hits Guanzon for ‘reckless’ blast on Smartmatic

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He said that Guanzon’s “continuing tantrums” made the minor issue of the script change into a major one.

“Considering that the Comelec itself appears to be involved in the matter of protocol violation and to insure impartiality in any investigation, the better move would be for Comelec itself to dispense with its own investigation and leave the same to JCOC,” Brillantes said.

The former Comelec chief, who has supervised the conduct of the 2013 senatorial and local elections, said that it would be “unfair” for Comelec to conduct any probe when one of the commissioners has “prejudged” Smartmatic.

“It would be most unfair to the Comelec en banc to continue with its investigation where one of its members appears to have prejudged the matter and has shown bias and partiality against Smartmatic in an unending public statements,” he added.

Brillantes also challenged Guanzon to produce a written protocol stating that before any minor change will be effected, it will have to be approved first by the en banc.

“In my 4 years at the Comelec, I do not recall a protocol which covers minor mattes that would require permission from the Commission en banc. I would love to see any written protocol of the Comelec which mandates that before any minor matter can be taken up or changed the same will have to go up as far as the Comelec en banc. Anyone who claims that protocols had been violated should first show the written provision of such protocol,” he said.

Guanzon has been very vocal about the alleged breach of protocol made by Smartmatic when it changed the character “?” in the names of candidates with “Ñ” last May 9 without giving prior notice to the en banc.

The script tweak has been used as basis of the camp of vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to call for a full systems audit of the automated election system. RAM

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READ: Marcos camp to seek poll systems audit

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TAGS: Comelec, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, JCOC, Joint Congressional Oversight Committee, script, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Sixto Brillantes Jr., Smartmatic, tweak
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