Comelec asked to explain departure of Smartmatic exec
(The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) must explain why Smartmatic’s Panamanian staff Mauricio Herrera was allowed to leave the country when he was the subject of a complaint regarding the 2016 general elections.

In a statement, Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, who served as campaign adviser of Marcos, said it was unacceptable that Herrera was allowed to leave the country when there had been requests for a hold departure order (HDO) against him.

Herrera is among several Smartmatic officials and personnel accused by the camp of Marcos, who ran for vice president, of violating the country’s cybercrime law in connection with the recent polls.

The camp of Marcos cried foul over the unauthorized alteration of script of the transparency server during the canvassing of votes.

They noted that Smartmatic gave assurance that none of the respondents in the complaint would leave the country.

Apart from the camp of Marcos, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon also called for the issuance of an HDO against the respondents after she learned of the unauthorized script change.

“That is what we can’t understand and they should explain what happened,” De la Cruz said regarding the departure of Herrera.

He said until now, neither the Comelec nor the BI has acted on the request for an HDO against the respondents or for them to be included in the watchlist of the BI.

The other respondents in the case, namely Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia, a Venezuelan national and head of the technical support team; Elie Moreno, project director who is an Israeli national; Neil Banigued, member of the technical support team; and Comelec IT experts led by Rouie Peñalba, Nelson Herrera and Frances Mae Gonzalez, were all present during last Friday’s preliminary investigation at the Manila City Prosecutor’s office.

The respondents were charged for violation of Section 4(a) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175, which prohibits “intentionally altering computer data, without right and altering and interfering with the functioning of a computer and computer network by inputting, deleting and altering computer data and program, without right or authority.”

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