Comelec Confirms Changes on Transparent Server Hash Code, But Denies Effect on Election Results

Comelec Bongbong Leni

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) finally admitted that there has been changes made to the hash code of its transparency server. This is after the camp of vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos earlier claimed that there was a new script introduced to the server, affecting the vote counts for the vice-presidential race.

In a press conference this Wednesday, May 11, Atty. Francesca Huang, Sen. Bongbong Marcos’s lawyer said that they have received reports about the introduction of the programming scipt for Comelec’s tranparency server, past 7:30 pm last Monday, May 9, election day, a few hours after the Election Results (ER) were being released.

“This introduction of this new script is suspect because it was after this time that Sen. Marcos’s lead from Rep. Robredo started to erode at a rather distinctive pattern,” Atty. Huang said, noting that it becomes suspucious when the votes count by PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) started to be slow in transmission.

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“We have always been of the understanding, as the Comelec has never indicated the contrary, that the transparency server could only receive data or election returns from the vote counting machines. How then were the data or election returns from these affected clustered precincts or VCMs uploaded to the transparency server?” She added.

Early morning this Thursday, May 12, the PPCRV revealed that their accredited IT expert has an evidence that the Comelec’s transparency server has been tampered. The said changes were brought about the introduction of a new script right before the lead of Marcos over Robredo started to slow down, damaging the integrity of the data.

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The same IT expert said that it was a Venezuelan IT expert of Smartmatic, the Comelec supplier of the VCMs (vote counting machines), who made the changes in the software, and that the entire system has been compromised. However, the said alteration was performed without the presence of a Comelec representative.

Thursday afternoon, Comelec chief Andres Bautista admitted that the allegations of the Marcos camp of the changes in the hash code at the server were true. However, he categorically denied that it has led to the changes in the votes for any political candidate, particularly for Sen. Marcos and Congresswoman Robredo.

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“It is true that someone from Smartmatic corrected a script—from ‘?’ to ‘ñ’—but this does not affect the integrity of the numbers. There was no glitch.” Bautista was quoted telling the Inquirer. However, he did not explain why it has to done. He also did not explain why the Comelec or any political party was not informed about the changes.