Comelec ready for poll system audit amid fraud claims

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2016 02:11 PM

The Commission on Elections is willing to open the automated election system (AES) to scrutiny, in order to dispel any doubt on the integrity of the 2016 polls.

Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said Thursday that the poll body has received the audit request of vice-presidential candidate, Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who claimed that the unauthorized change in a poll-related hash code may have compromised the elections.

Bautista told radio dzMM that he will ask the Comelec en banc to tackle Marcos' request on their next meeting. A special en banc session, he said, may also be called to address the lawmaker's concern.

But Bautista also stressed that even before the elections, Comelec has been transparent in informing the candidates and the public about the AES.

"Nitong mga nakalipas na buwan, sinikap po talaga ng Comelec na buksan ang aming mga proseso, iyung aming mga sistema sa iba't ibang partido, iba't ibang mga kandidato para nga kanilang siyasatin, suriin, pag-aralan ang mga proseso at sistemang ito," he said.

The Comelec chairperson requested parties questioning the AES to be more specific in their demands and complaints. Doing otherwise, he said, would only lead to "a wild good chase" for AES issues which may not even exist.

"Sana mas maganda, ipakita, sabihin talaga ng direstuhan ano bang nakikita nilang problema at ano ba iyung gusto nilang buksan, as opposed to malawakang manual audit," he said.

Bautista also sees no problem if an independent third party conducts the audit.

Marcos has refused to concede in the vice-presidential race. He is in a close fight with Liberal Party bet, Leni Robredo, who is leading by a slim margin.

The Marcos camp earlier said Robredo caught up and overtook him in the VP race after a script was "introduced" to the transparency server. Marcos' camp suspects the introduction of the script may have affected the count.

READ: Marcos camp alleges new 'script' in transparency server

Bautista has since explained that Smartmatic official Marlon Garcia had to alter a script in the transparency server to correct the name of a candidate. He said the change in the script is "innocuous" and will not affect the results in the transparency server.

The National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) on also agreed that the alteration of hash code did not affect the actual results of the elections.