Guanzon: Smartmatic broke protocol, should be held accountable
Election technology provider Smartmatic on Friday received a dressing down from Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Rowena Guanzon for making changes in the script of transparency servers without due permission from the Comelec en banc.
Guanzon made the statement just as Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia, who led its technical support team, finished demonstrating before the media how it tweaked the script to correct the “?” in the names of candidates with “ñ.”
“The Smartmatic, in my opinion, breached our protocol and for that, they should be liable to the Comelec. They should be liable to the people of the Philippines,” a visibly irked Guanzon told the media at the Comelec’s canvassing center inside the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
“Smartmatic should have informed the Comelec en banc about what’s the problem, the consequences and gave us recommendation how to fix it. They shouldn’t have touched that program without our prior knowledge and official consent,” she said.
However, Guanzon echoed Smartmatic’s assurance that despite the latter breaching protocol, results of the unofficial vote count have not been altered.
She said the Comelec assures the people that they will have the said incident investigated.
The feisty Comelec commissioner also stressed that Smartmatic should not have effected changes on the servers without the en banc’s go signal as these are properties of the government.
“If you do any change, perhaps to make it look nicer, it’s our property. It’s not their property. This automated system is a property of the Comelec and they’re accountable to the people, to the Congress, they’re not supposed to touch it without our permission,” she said.
Asked if the Comelec is considering ending their contract with Smartmatic, Guanzon said: “We’ll see if the breach is enough to disqualify them.”
She said she would vote for the cancellation of the poll body’s contract with Smartmatic if the matter would be discussed.
Guanzon slammed Smartmatic for not apologizing for causing anxiety among the Comelec officials and the electorate.
“The least that they could do now is to say that, ‘we are very sorry.’ But I’m not hearing it. The Comelec en banc didn’t hear ‘I’m sorry. It caused you worry,’” she said. RAM/rga
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