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Comelec won’t cover for employees found linked to 2016 poll fraud

By: - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQ
/ 04:51 PM March 07, 2018

Commisioner Rowena Guanzon. INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

BACOLOD CITY—Commissioner Rowena Guanzon of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday assured the public that the poll body would not cover for employees who may be involved in fraud last 2016 elections.

Guanzon was reacting to the expose of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on the alleged fraud in the automated balloting system during the May 2016 elections.

“If the senators are saying there was fraud, we would like to know the details of these reports so we can take our people to task,” she said.


She added that if people were guilty, they must go to jail.

“We want to assure the public that we do not cover for our people … it is important that we have fair, honest, credible elections,” she said.

In a privilege speech on Tuesday, Sotto pointed out that Senators Panfilo Lacson, Grace Poe and Juan Miguel Zubiri got zero votes in hundreds of polling precincts in the May 2016 elections because of alleged fraud in the automated balloting.

In his speech, Sotto also asked the Senate to investigate two allegations raised by his source — that votes were transmitted a day before the May 9, 2016 balloting and that the election servers were accessed by a foreign party.

According to Guanzon, the Commission en banc, in its regular meeting Tuesday, talked about Sotto’s pronouncements and welcomed an investigation to know the truth.

She said she would like to see the data of the senator so action could be taken.

“The vote counting machine is very efficient. It will just count the ballot that is fed to it and then it will tally and transmit the results,” she said.

But she said she would worry about zero votes if there was a statistical improbability.


Guanzon said the server would know if it accepted transmission the day before.

But such, she added, would be impossible because the server was closed. It would be opened only when the voting was over.

“The Comelec commissioners will be the happiest people in the world if there is evidence that that was done because they are always finding ways to improve the system,” she said.

On the election servers having been accessed by a foreign party, Guanzon said perhaps Sotto was referring to Marlon Garcia, the Smartmatic technical support team head.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) had accused him for changing the script in the servers in the middle of the 2016 polls’ results transmission.

Guanzon pointed out that the DOJ ordered the filing of criminal charges against Smartmatic for that.

“We should tell Smartmatic to produce Garcia at the DOJ because I think he is not in the country” she said./lb

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TAGS: 2016 elections, automated balloting system, Comelec, fraud, Rowena Guanzon, Vicente Sotto III
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