Arrested hacker pleads not guilty in criminal cases

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The alleged hacker of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) website yesterday pleaded not guilty in the criminal cases filed against him before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC).

Paul Biteng, 23, was arraigned on charges of illegal access, data interference and misuse of devices under the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The charges were filed against Biteng before Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina of Manila RTC branch 32 yesterday.

Prosecutors accused Biteng, using the username “kh4lifax,” of hacking the Comelec website by illegally accessing the information and defacing the website. Biteng reportedly used his smartphone in hacking the website.

Biteng was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at his house in Sampaloc, Manila on April 20.

He previously admitted to the NBI and Comelec that he defaced the website on March 27.

The NBI only filed the charge of illegal access against Biteng, but Manila prosecutors recommended filing additional charges against him.

The prosecutors said there is probable cause to file the charges against Biteng, saying the defacement of the Comelec website affected critical infrastructure of the poll body in the preparations for the May 9 elections.

Meanwhile, Joenel de Asis, the other alleged hacker of the Comelec website, is set to file his counter-affidavit before the Muntinlupa city prosecutor today.

He is said to have downloaded 340 gigabytes worth of data from the Comelec website and leaked the information in a fictitious Facebook account named after hackers’ group LulzSec.

De Asis was arrested by the NBI on April 29.

However, both Biteng and De Asis denied allegations they were responsible for the so-called “Comeleak,” where data from the Comelec website’s precinct and post finders were published through the website wehaveyourdata.com.

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