MANILA, Philippines - Smartmatic Asia Pacific, supplier of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2010 elections, dismissed yesterday questions on the authenticity of the equipment’s source code.
Smartmatic president Cesar Flores said journalists were present when the source code was deposited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“The source code was deposited in the Central Bank. And actually the media was present when the source code was brought in and the trusted deal was done in front of the camera. And the Comelec took the source code for escrow in Central Bank,” Flores said, adding some people are merely spreading lies about the source code.
“That (questions on legitimacy) is an absolute, complete lie,” he said.
Former Comelec commissioner Augusto Lagman earlier questioned the authenticity of the source code escrowed in the BSP before the first nationwide automated polls in 2010.
Lagman said he decided to raise the issue because his long-standing fear has been bolstered by Smartmatic International’s statement in its recent legal suit against its licensor, Dominion Voting Systems, that it did not possess the latter’s master software.
The source code is the human readable instructions that define the functions of the computer equipment. The Poll Automation Law requires that the source code must be escrowed with the BSP.
“The law was fully complied in 2010,” Flores stressed.
Instead of spreading misinformation, he urged critics to thoroughly read Smartmatic’s complaint versus Dominion. He pointed out that the complaint does not concern the Philippine elections but another code intended to be escrowed in the United States back in 2009.
“Whoever is doing that is liable for misinformation they are giving out,” the Smartmatic official said.
Last September, Smartmatic filed a case against Dominion in Florida over the latter’s alleged breach of a licensing agreement and tortuous interference with Smartmatic’s business.
Smartmatic accused Dominion of withholding the technology and services that had been licensed to them, and intentionally smearing Smartmatic’s brand and undermining its relationship with customers and prospective clients.
Smartmatic International is the same company that sold to the Comelec over 80,000 PCOS machines that would be used in the 2013 midterm elections.
The now-rescinded deal between the two firms had previously allowed Smartmatic to use the software of Dominion to operate the PCOS machines and install the necessary software upgrades to enhance and address glitches in the system.
Meanwhile, despite complaints of long queues in polling precincts during the 2010 elections, the Comelec would still assign 1,000 voters per clustered precinct.
To address the problem, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body would be implementing strategies to prevent a repeat of long lines that marred the country’s first automated polls in 2010. – With Sheila Crisostomo