Namfrel findings support general’s suspicion of 2022 election rigging

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

Poll watchdog Namfrel uncovered software flaws in the 2022 automated election. Comelec ignored its warnings of potential cheating.

Retired general Eliseo Rio sees this as another proof that the presidential-VP race was rigged. No explanations from Comelec.

This unfolds while a retired colonel poises impeachment raps against five poll commissioners for refusing to present records. Also, as the Supreme Court deadline lapses for Comelec to justify such refusal.

Namfrel has posted on its website an 89-page Final Report: 2022 National-Local Elections. Pages 23-24 detail its discovery of discrepancies. The vote counting machine (VCM) source code differed from the hash code. This indicated possible program tampering.

Rio has been questioning the deluge of 20 million-plus votes for president and VP an hour from balloting’s end last May 9. Physically impossible, the electronic communication engineer says. At their close at 7 p.m. on May 9, the 107,345 precincts had first to complete nine Comelec steps before transmitting VCM counts to the Transparency Server.

The nine steps take more than 30 minutes. Longest is the VCM printing of eight copies of all the votes of all candidates for president, VP, senator, party-list, congressman and local positions. Rio was secretary of Information-Communication Technology and thus Comelec Advisory Committee chairman for the 2019 election.

For 65 years Namfrel, the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections, has led voter education, election monitoring and quick counts. It was Comelec’s overseer for random manual audit of the 2022 results. It was among many reviewers of Comelec’s 2022 preparations.

The human-readable source code consists of commands to the VCMs written by programmers. The hash code is a computer-generated “fingerprint” of the software. “If a change in the software is introduced, a different hash code will be generated,” Namfrel explained.

Comelec posted the hash code in its website in February 2022 for info-technologists’ perusal. As safeguard, it is printed on the diagnostic report upon VCM startup. 

Namfrel’s IT team noticed something wrong during Comelec’s end-to-end demonstration of the election system on Mar. 22, 2022: “The VCM System Hash Code shown during the demo did not match what was published during the second Final Trusted Build.”

Namfrel emailed Commissioner Marlon Casquejo about it the next day. No reply. Instead, Comelec posted on Mar. 24 on its website a supposed admission by its international certifier Pro V&V of human typographical error.

Namfrel again wrote Casquejo on Mar. 25 seeking five documents. Those pertained to Pro V&V’s encoding and compliance with hash code protocols. It sought independent verification. Again, no reply.

“The process of building components into a system, which included the generation of the system hash, was never shown publicly. Aside from the VCM System Hash, no other hash codes were shared for public check,” Namfrel concluded. “Without the system hash generation in full view of stakeholders, the source code that Namfrel saw and reviewed could be different from what was used by the VCMs on Election Day. In layman terms, this software used on the VCMs on Election Day … could have been edited.”

“Flimsy!” Namfrel chairman Lito Averia described in an interview Pro V&V’s alibi of typo error. Comelec’s multimillion-dollar contractor shouldn’t have manually encoded the hash code. For accuracy, IT professionals simply copy and paste it to websites or other electronic documents. Averia came upon the hash code discrepancies minutes into the Comelec demo.

“Flimsy!” Rio said in a separate interview. “Lawyer-commissioners shouldn’t have believed Pro V&V. They should have tried to understand the technology.”

Once AFP deputy chief for research and development, Rio avers that the flood of results by 8:02 election night was meant to condition voters’ minds. Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte from the start led the presidential and VP races till returns tapered off in four days.

VCMs were rigged, Rio says. Last November he petitioned the Supreme Court to order Comelec to disclose the transmission logs lest they be deleted. The SC gave the poll body ten working days from Feb. 28 to reply.

Retired Col. Leonardo Odono sought the same Comelec records “in the exercise of my constitutional right of access to information.” Ignored since November, the PMA 1964 graduate is conferring with congressmen to impeach five of the seven commissioners for “conspiracy of silence”.

*      *      *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., dwIZ (882-AM).

Follow me on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/Jarius-Bondoc


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with