The central server is a system vital to elections as it stores backup data that can be retrieved when needed, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez clarified yesterday. He refused to reveal where it is located.
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Comelec insists on security of main server
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has given assurance that its central server is “very secured” and not vulnerable to hacking.

The central server is a system vital to elections as it stores backup data that can be retrieved when needed, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez clarified yesterday. He refused to reveal where it is located.

The Comelec at the same time denied allegations of poll watchdogs National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and Automated Election System (AES) Watch that there is an actual “meet-me-room” that could expose the voting system to manipulation.

At a press briefing, Jimenez said such a facility does not exist, neither as a “physical structure nor a server.”

“There is no such thing as a separate server, as a ‘meet-me-room.’ It is not a meet-me-room server (but) a transmission router/gateway,” he noted.

Jimenez added this means that “it is not a separate server but simply an arrangement in the program that allows us to play traffic cop to the incoming transmission.”

The official explained this is a way of making sure that the data coming from the vote counting machines at the polling stations into the transparency server will flow smoothly.

“It’s a sort of misunderstanding of the concept of the meet-me-room,” he maintained.

Jimenez made the statements after Namfrel and AES Watch claimed that a “meet-me-room” was in existence since the 2016 polls and it could open windows for manipulation in the release of election results.

Namfrel has asked the poll body to also open the central server of the automated election system to public scrutiny.

Asked by reporters, Jimenez said it was not even the transmission router that caused the delays in the transmission of uncanvassed results to the transparency server at the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting headquarters in Manila.

He said it was due to the bottleneck of data inflow through the file transfer protocol (FTP).

“The transmission gateway handles the flow into the transparency server. FTP handles the data once it is in the transparency server and pushes it to the media outlets. They are different items,” he said.  

Meanwhile, the Comelec said candidates facing disqualification cases are not yet off the hook even if they won in last Monday’s polls.

Jimenez said the commission will continue to hear and resolve pending disqualification cases against winning candidates.

Jimenez said a winning candidate can even be unseated if the commission finds merit in the disqualification complaint.

“If the case is resolved afterwards, the consequences will follow,” Jimenez said in an interview.     

Various petitions to deny due course or nullify certificates of candidacy have been filed against a number of national and local candidates ahead of election day.

A petition for disqualification has been filed before the Comelec against Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, who ran for re-election and won in the May 13 elections, for alleged vote buying.

The Comelec has dismissed a disqualification case against winning Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife, outgoing Mayor Lani Cayetano, but a motion for reconsideration was filed. The petitioner argued the two could not run in separate districts of Taguig, being residents of only one place.

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS HACKING
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