Namfrel: Smartmatic man violated protocol, should be reprimanded
A poll watchdog on Friday said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should censure Smartmatic after breaching the protocol in relation to the election transparency server.
The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said in a televised press conference that while the Smartmatic personnel, later identified as project manager Marlon Garcia, only made “cosmetic” changes to the transparency server, he did not follow the established rules.
The camp of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier accused his closest vice presidential rival Camarines Sur Representative Ma. Lenor “Leni” Robredo of fraud after the administration candidate grabbed the lead, based on the Comelec’s transparency server.
The Inquirer afterwards reported that a Smartmatic personnel changed the hash codes of the transparency server’s packet data. It was later revealed that Garcia and his team changed the code because the letter “ñ,” which was present in some of the candidates’ names, appeared as a question mark.
READ: No poll fraud–Comelec
“We want to make sure these changes… made by one IT technician should be called attention to and [he be] probably reprimanded. Because he made a serious breach in the protocol and now it’s raising concerns in the integrity of the polls,” Namfrel’s Eric Alvia said.
He said the controversy could have been avoided if the person did not “tamper” with the server.
Meanwhile, Lito Averia, also from Namfrel, pointed out that the changes made did not in any way affect the central server of the Comelec or the data generated from the vote-counting machines.
However, he said that “certain protocols were not followed.”
“What should have happened if there was going to be changed, no matter how simple, it has to go through a change management board for approval,” he said.
Averia said the incident “puts a cloud of doubt already on the transparency server.”
Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim earlier explained that the data packet that was changed is different from the actual hash code of the automated election system. He said the corrected script merely allows “ñ” to appear in the transparency server.
However, he said he would not have allowed the minor change, knowing that it would fuel rumors of cheating.
Comelec claimed that Garcia corrected the script in front of a Comelec IT officer and other people concerned.
Alvia pointed out that there are still 1.6 million votes that are not transmitted, which are crucial for certain positions that are still being contested. RAM/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.