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Namfrel fears questions on poll credibility

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Election watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) yesterday expressed fears the credibility of the elections might be questioned if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) fails to address the source code problem.

If Comelec would not be able to resolve the source code problem, Namfrel national chair Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo said it could raise questions on the credibility of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

“As the chairman of Comelec said when he visited us, there would be an election, but the problem might be the credibility…that is why he also wants this to be resolved as much as possible, within the week,” Bernardo told a press conference at Heritage Hotel yesterday.

Bernardo, who once served as president of the Social Security System (SSS), said they are worried that the problem between Smartmatic and its licensor Dominion Voting System might cause an embarrassment for the country.

“We want to show that the Philippines knows how to hold an election that is in accordance with the law and international practice,” she said.

The source code is the human-readable representation of instructions that regulate the operation of a computer, which scans and counts ballots, while a binary code is composed of instructions that are machine-readable.

But the option to use the binary code, instead of the source code, as explained by some computer technology experts, might not be acceptable to some parties.

Bernardo noted Cesar Flores, president of Smartmatic Asia Pacific, had previously said that he is willing to turn over the source code that is in his possession.

“But what our lawmakers and representatives from the community want to know is if the source code that he would give is reliable or obsolete and if he has the authority to release the source code,” Bernardo said.

“What we do not want to happen is that we would be using an illegal (source code). If it is not credible, the government in its work would be unstable. That is why he (Brillantes) is working very hard to resolve this,” she added.

Brillantes said Smartmatic has its own copy of the source code but what he is trying to negotiate is to get hold of the code that was reviewed and certified by SLI Global Solutions, which is from Dominion.

“What Smartmatic is saying is that what they have is the same (as Dominion) but what I said was this was not the one reviewed by SLI… I still want the Dominion source code even if this is exactly the same. But if Dominion would not give its source code then we can resort to this (Smartmatic source code),” Brillantes said.

He regards the source code in the possession of Smartmatic as a mere “replica.”

Namfrel held a general meeting yesterday. The group has more than 150 chapters nationwide and has six major areas of work for the 2013 mid-term elections.

Namfrel would pursue a holistic approach as vanguards of honest and fair elections; conduct voters’ information and education, campaign finance monitoring, election paraphernalia deployment monitoring, voters’ list monitoring, poll watching, and random manual audit monitoring.

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BERNARDO

BRILLANTES

CESAR FLORES

CODE

COMELEC

DOMINION VOTING SYSTEM

FREE ELECTIONS

NAMFREL

SMARTMATIC

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