Source code for auto polls to be reviewed abroad
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The source code of the automated election system (AES) to be used in the May 2016 elections is set to undergo review and certification abroad.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Christian Robert Lim yesterday reported the poll body has selected the foreign company that will undertake the source code review and certification.

The source code is the human readable instructions that dictate what the automated election system will do.

“The commission en banc approved the recommendation of the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) and their choice is the Systems Lab Inc., which will be conducting the source code review abroad,” he said.

The Poll Automation Law provides that the TEC shall certify, through an established international certification entity to be chosen by the Commission, that the AES, including its hardware and software components, is operating properly, securely, and accurately, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Lim said that SLI Global Solutions (Systems Lab Inc), the same company that conducted the required review and certification of the source code during the 2010 and 2013 polls, will be the international certification entity for the 2016 elections.

Lim disclosed that the SLI won a limited bidding participated by four companies recommended by the Comelec Advisory Council and TEC.

Based on the Government Procurement Act, limited source bidding is a “method of procurement that involves direct invitation to bid by the Procuring Entity from a set of pre-selected suppliers or consultants with known experience and proven capability relative to the requirements of a particular contract.”

Lim said that of the four companies that participated, only two responded to the invitation and one of them lost its license. SLI offered the lowest price of $743,000.

The source code review may start as soon as the Comelec has selected the voting machines to be used in the May 2016 elections. The review is expected to be completed in five months.

“The vendor (service provider) will be the one to release the source code to the international entity,” Lim said.

The Comelec also intends to open the source code for scrutiny of interested political parties as soon as the review abroad begins.

The law mandates that once an AES technology is selected for implementation, the Comelec shall immediately make the source code available to any interested political party or groups for the conduct of their own review.

CODE COMELEC COMELEC ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMISSIONER CHRISTIAN ROBERT LIM GLOBAL SOLUTIONS GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT ACT POLL AUTOMATION LAW PROCURING ENTITY REVIEW SOURCE SYSTEMS LAB INC
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