Marcos camp files new set of criminal cases vs Smartmatic, Comelec

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The camp of vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday filed another set of criminal cases against Smartmatic officials and IT personnel of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The case stems from Smartmatic's unauthorized change of the script in the poll body's transparency server in the evening of May 9, election day, in the presence of Comelec IT personnel.

Atty. Jose Amor Amorado, head of the Bongbong Marcos (BBM) Quick Count Center, along with the senator's campaign adviser, Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz, filed at the sala of Edward Togonon of the Manila City Prosecutors Office charges for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2010 or Republic Act 10175 against Smartmatic executives Marlon Garcia and Elie Moreno, project director Neil Banigued, and Mauricio Herrera, a member of the technical support team.

Marcos' camp said the Smartmatic officials particularly violated Sections 4(a), (1), (3) and (4), which refer to the illegal access to the transparency server.

"Sa cybercrime law kasi may sinasabi doon na hindi ka maaaring makialam o maglabas o kaya tumingin, kung hindi man kalikutin ang alinmang bahagi ng isang sistema, at wala kang karapatan na makialam tungkol doon sa isang communications electronic or whatever system that has anything to do in the information and communications systems," Dela Cruz explained.

"Illegal access in the sense that they access the system without permission and authority of the owner which is Comelec," Amorado added.

Also included as respondents are Comelec personnel from the IT department, namely Rouie Penalba, Nelson Herrera, and Frances Mae Gonzales.

Marcos' camp said their names were included after it was learned that they were the ones who gave the confidential password to Smartmatic personnel that allowed Garcia and company to change the hashcodes. They were also present at the time the hashcodes were changed.

"These IT personnel under the IT department of Comelec had the courage to allow Smartmatic to access the system, give the Smartmatic the password of Comelec, making it possible for Marlon Garcia to introduce the script. Had not the Comelec personnel given the password, it's impossible for Smartmatic personnel to introduce the new script," said Amorado.

Amorado said the law makes punishable 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."

He said they have enough evidence to pin down the Smartmatic executives and Comelec IT representatives based on public documents and the pronouncement by no less than the poll body that their interference in the system had no authorization.

READ: Guanzon: Smartmatic breached protocol

Marcos' camp has also written the Comelec supporting an issuance of a hold departure order (HDO) against the Smartmatic executives when the case reaches the court.

"Ang importante hindi makalabas itong mga tao na ito sa Pilipinas. Kailangan sila managot kasi kailangan may managot sa nangyari na ito," Dela Cruz said.

A criminal complaint for violation of RA 8436 as amended by RA 9369 or the Automated Election Law was earlier filed against the same respondents.

If found guilty, the respondents face a jail term of 6 years to 12 years for violation of the Cybercrime Law, and 8 years to 12 years for violation of the Automated Election Law.