Bongbong, Aquino clash over alleged poll fraud

Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV clashed yesterday on allegations that massive cheating could have taken place during the May 9 elections.

Marcos said his mission was not for his own benefit, but to ensure the sanctity of the electoral process.

“As captured by netizens through photos and videos, we see the same sad story in the Philippines,” he said. “Vote buying has become even more rampant, as have been the acts of terrorism, threats and intimidation.  

“Now if the cheating was not only through vote buying or intimidation, but involved the transparency server, the audit log, then that’s another matter. That’s wholesale (cheating).”

Marcos delivered a privilege speech regarding his questions about the tampering of the script of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) transparency server by a representative of Smartmatic and its possible impact on the results of the elections, 

He said Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia, who was the one who entered a new script for “cosmetic purposes,” was charged with electoral sabotage for doing the same thing during the 2013 elections.

It could not be known if Garcia had made other changes when he had access to the transparency server and after he left it open for some time, he added.

It is for this reason that Marcos and his lawyers have asked the Commission on Elections to allow his IT experts to examine their servers and for the National Board of Canvassers to canvass the results for the vice presidential election.

After his speech, Aquino interpolated Marcos and questioned him about the basis for his claims.

While he did not mention it at any point during his exchange with Marcos yesterday, Aquino was the campaign manager of Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, who also ran as vice president and has emerged as the leading vote getter in the quick count conducted by the PPCRV.

Aquino said that they are open to a full audit in spite of the fact that the Comelec has already explained that what took place was merely a cosmetic change.

“I can stand here and say many things but I have to back it up with data, with proof, with evidence and they have not done that,” Marcos said.

“You’re saying it yourself that any accusation must be backed up with the proper data, with the proper numbers and currently, right now your assertions in the transparency server, is there any data or are you merely calling for opening up the server for scrutiny?” Aquino said in response.

Marcos said that he would not have bothered asking for all these authorizations had his team not spotted discrepancies that needed to be clarified.

“This is not a fishing expedition,” he said.

“It is something that is clearly in aid of clarifying the irregularities that were clearly seen and admitted to by both Comelec and Smartmatic.”

Marcos said many academics have stated that the change in the trend after Smartmatic changed the hash code   was irregular, something which was contested by Aquino.

“You have two academicians who actually said that there were irregularities,” Aquino said. “We talked about the unfortunate change that Smartmatic did.”

“Unfortunate? I think I would charactertize it as more than unfortunate, it is illegal,” Marcos said. “Castigating Smartmatic does not remedy the situation.” 

Aquino said that it was premature for Marcos to allege cheating took place, which again drew a sharp response from the vice presidential candidate.

Marcos yesterday announced that they will file today another set of criminal cases against Smartmatic executives and a Comelec IT representative for their unauthorized change of the script in the transparency server of the poll body on the night of the elections.

Lawyer Jose Amor Amorado, head of the Bongbong Marcos Quick Count Center, said they will file before the Manila Prosecutor’s Office a complaint for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2010, Republic Act 10175, specifically Section 4 of Chapter II.

He said the law punishes offenses that affect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems, including “illegal access of any part of a computer system without right.”  – With Perseus Echeminada


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