Comelec: Source code review not useless

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A review of the source code of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines may be too late, but not an entirely useless procedure, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the review of the source code remains vital in the hearing of electoral protests to be filed in connection with the last elections.

Those who are planning to file poll protests on the results of the May 13 elections, Brillantes said, may use the source code as basis of their complaints.

“You might need the review of the source if you will file an election protest. If they raise the issues involving the source code, it is acceptable,” Brillantes said.

“They are saying it’s too late. Why is it too late when you can use it precisely to question the validity of the elections,” he said.

The Comelec acquired the source code of the PCOS machines just a few days before election day on May 13.

Thus, political parties and interested groups had less than two days to review the source code, which is mandated under the Poll Automation Law.

The source code is defined as the human-readable instructions of what the computer equipment should do.

Brillantes, however, said interested parties may still continue the source code review even after the May 13 elections are concluded.

Last May 9, the Liberal Party (LP), Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), as well as poll watchdog group Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) started reviewing the source code to see if there were “malicious entries.”

“If they want to continue after the elections, it’s okay with us. That is up to them and we are making it (review) available,” Brillantes said.

Militant groups also demanded an investigation into the reported 60-30-10 pattern in the election results as uncovered by information technology (IT) experts.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the findings point to the possibility that election results were pre-programmed.

“Many IT experts have shown that the vote count for candidates for senator consistently - across the time of canvassing and across the country’s regions - yielded 60 percent for administration candidates, 30 percent for opposition candidates and 10 percent for independent candidates,” KMU said in a statement.

Some IT experts had claimed that such a result was statistically improbable and may have been the result of electoral fraud.

“The Automated Election System (AES) should be investigated. Clearly, the election results are statistically improbable and point to widespread election fraud undertaken through electronic means,” KMU chair Elmer Labog said.

“The results are not the only thing that’s highly dubious about this election. The untransparent AES, the government’s refusal to subject the source code to public scrutiny, the use of PCOS machines despite their failure to pass pre-election day tests, and the machines’ breakdown all put the credibility of the 2013 elections in question,” he added.

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