Not so fast, Comelec tells Smartmatic
Smartmatic may not yet be off the hook despite an investigation report recommending its exoneration in the alteration of programming scripts during the May election.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to study the report submitted to it in July, as well as its contract with Smartmatic, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said.
“The commissioners will for sure review that report…I will look at the contract to see if there were any violations of it,” she added.
Guanzon issued the statement after it was learned that a 13-page investigation report has cleared Smartmatic in the May 9 incident involving the transparency server of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center. At issue was the alleged unauthorized change of the programming script and the hash code of the transparency server by Smartmatic project manager Marlon Garcia.
This was supposedly done to introduce mere “cosmetic” changes to the system by substituting the letter “ñ” for the “?” character that came up in the names of certain candidates.
Bongbong filed case
The incident resulted in several cases, including one filed by losing vice presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who accused Smartmatic and the Comelec of violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The fact-finding team said the Comelec should pay Smartmatic’s contract in full, concluding that there were no violations committed when the “cosmetic changes” were introduced.
Guanzon said she did not agree with the finding that Smartmatic had no responsibility in the incident.
“It’s not yet final, that’s only a recommendation. I’m sure the public will not agree with that,” she said.
Guanzon said the Comelec could keep a bond paid by Smartmatic if the terms of the contract were violated.
Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the commission as a whole will review the recommendations.
Bautista said that Smartmatic still faced a criminal case filed in a Manila court.
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