SC urged to order preservation of May elections data for potential scrutiny

SC urged to order preservation of May elections data for potential scrutiny
People cast their votes in the presidential election at a polling precinct in Batac, Ilocos Norte on May 9, 2022.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — A petition has been filed before the Supreme Court urging it to compel the preservation of data transmitted on the evening of May 9, election day for national and local positions in the Philippines.

Petitioners, led by former Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, also asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order to enjoin respondents Commission on Elections, Smartmatic and telecommunications companies Dito, Globe and Smart to desist from modifying or erasing the following data, transmitted from 7 p.m. to p.m. on May 9, related to the 2022 election results:

  • Part or the whole of the historically important subscriber [data]
  • Cyber traffic data log integrity
  • Call record details

They also asked the SC to direct telecommunications companies to "deliver faithful copies of their respective records/details of the said historically-important data directly and exclusively to the Honorable Supreme Court."

"Mandamus is proper for petitioners that invoke their constitutional rights to suffrage and to information in compelling Comelec to explain fully the complete details of its preparations in view of the unraveling of alarming events of late,"  the petition read.

RELATED: 1Sambayan asks Comelec to probe reports of poll irregularities

Six month deadline for Comelec report

The petitioners noted that, under the Election Automation Law, the Comelec is mandated to submit a report within six months of the election, while the Cybercrime Prevention Act requires preservation of subscriber information and traffic data integrity for at least six months.

"The period of six months (from the May 9, 2022 elections) is soon to expire within a few days from today [or] on the 9th of November. Time is of the essence," their plea read.

The petitioners cited a post by Rio where he pointed out that the first counting result of 1,525,637 votes from at least 2,000 clustered precincts were shown on the Comelec Transparency Server just 17 minutes after voting closed at 7 p.m.

RELATED: Bongbong Marcos seen elected Philippine president by majority vote

But Rio noted that under the Comelec General Instructions, eight printed and signed copies of the precinct election return must be first done before transmission can be made. He claimed that it would take at least 30 minutes after closing time for these processes to be done.

"The earliest transmission then would occur after 7:30 p.m. It is therefore impossible for the Transparency Server to have shown the public 1.5M votes bby 7:17 pm!," the plea, quoting Rio’s post, read.

The Congress declared President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the winner of the May 9 elections on May 25, with a majority vote of more than 31 million. Rival candidates accepted the poll results and did not raise allegations of irregularities or fraud.


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