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Smartmatic exec, PPCRV head charged for electoral sabotage

/ 12:57 PM May 18, 2016
Smartmatic

Father Robert Reyes on Wednesday leads the Mata sa Balota Movement in filing an electoral sabotage complaint against Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia over the change in script of the transparency server after the May 9 polls. MARC JAYSON CAYABYAB / INQUIRER.NET

An election watchdog filed electoral sabotage charges against an official of Smartmatic and the head of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) over the changing of the script in the transparency server after the May 9 polls.

Rodolfo Javellana Jr., of the Mata sa Balota Movement, filed the complaint before the Ombudsman accusing Smartmatic project manager Marlon Garcia and PPCRV chair Henrietta De Villa of violating the election automation law or Republic Act 9369.

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They stand accused of tampering, increasing or decreasing the votes transmitted by the vote counting machines in the May 9 polls. The group did not present any proof or evidence of vote tampering.

ecreasing the votes transmitted by the vote counting machines in the May 9 polls. The group did not present any proof or evidence of vote tampering.

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READ: Guanzon: Smartmatic broke protocol, should be held accountable | Smartmatic: We have always observed Comelec rules

The complainants also sued the Commission on Elections (Comelec), but because the commissioners are impeachable officers, the complaint did not identify the accused.

In an interview, Javellana accused Garcia of tampering with the election results when Garcia changed the script of the transparency server receiving the transmitted votes for the unofficial count.

He said De Villa was also sued for failing to prevent the alleged election sabotage.

Comelec chair Andres Bautista had said the change in script was merely a “cosmetic change” intended to correct the spelling of candidates with the letter “ñ.”

However, Javellana said Smartmatic as a Venezuelan company should be able to recognize the “ñ” in their language, so there should be no reason for the mistake in the candidates’ names.

“Ang buong integridad ng halalan ay na-question sa pagkilos na ito ng Smartmatic at Comelec,” Javellana said.

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(The full integrity of the elections was questioned because of this act by the Smartmatic and Comelec.)

For his part, Father Robert Reyes, convenor of Mata sa Balota and known as the “running priest,” said Garcia’s act put to question the integrity of the polls.

Reyes said he was only after the integrity of the polls, and he was not echoing the claim of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The camp of vice presidential hopeful Marcos said the change in script shaved his votes in favor of leading vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

“We’re not here for any candidate,” Reyes said.

Reyes urged the Comelec to bar the departure of Garcia and called for a different election system provider, adding that the three past elections overseen by Smartmatic since the 2010 automation were marred with automated cheating allegations.

“Ang panawagan ko ay i-hold departure order si Marlon Garcia, ban for life ang Smartmatic (I call for a hold departure order against Marlon Garcia and Smartmatic should be banned for life). No more Smartmatic,” Reyes said.

“Ito ay tungkol sa democratic exercise. Hindi po dapat nagiging eksperimento ng isang kumpanyang dayuhan,” he added.

(This is about the democratic exercise. It should not be treated as an experiment of a foreign company.)

The complainants said the changing the script of the Comelec server put “the credibility of the entire electoral process in doubt.”

“The switching in the script could not have been made alone by the respondent Smartmatic IT personnel except for and with the connivance of a Comelec personnel who was responsible for the safe-keeping of the password (match code) which he provided to the former,” the complaint read.

The complaint said after the change in script, “there was noted and unexplained surge and corresponding decline in the vote counts for the vice presidential candidates and senators.”

Meanwhile, private citizens Lito Soriano and Bong Guro on Wednesday gave a letter asking Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to investigate Smartmatic and Comelec on this “breach of protocol” when the Smartmatic changed the script of the server.

Soriano, who called himself a supporter of Marcos, said the change in script shaved the votes for Marcos while increasing those for Robredo. CB/RAM

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TAGS: Elections 2016, electoral sabotage, Henrietta de Villa, Marlon Garcia, Mata sa Balota Movement, news, PPCRV, Smartmatic, VotePh2016
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