MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - Makati City Rep. Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr., one of staunchest defenders of election automation, blew his top during Thursday's House inquiry into alleged poll fraud and cursed at a representative of poll automation supplier Smartmatic.
"You sons of bitches! You had us standing here guaranteeing to the public and the world that even if fraud is committed, we would be able to trace it. We never said that fraud could never be committed, but you said we could trace it. But now, you tell me that at 10 in the evening, you could do it [cheat] and we would never know?" Locsin, chairman of the House committee on electoral reforms and suffrage, told Heider Garcia of Smartmatic.
Locsin made the "unparliamentary remarks" while Garcia was being grilled by another congressman about the discrepancy in time stamps printed on election returns (ERs) churned out by Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez was asking Garcia why Smartmatic failed to come up with contingency measures to prevent the "anomalous" error in the PCOS machines.
Golez suggested that the internal clock of the PCOS machines should have been synchronized with the receiving servers. If this had been done, he said the servers would have been able to reject transmitted results from a voting and counting machine that had different time records.
Locsin then interrupted and berated Garcia. The exchange went as follows:
Locsin: If I may interrupt, as Congressman Golez says, if this sequence can be delayed to 10 in the evening, what the heck? My God! Your assurance was that anything that happens between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. would be reflected as 7 am to 7pm. I did not know that 7 am to 7 pm could be moved to 10 in the evening. You realize what a fool you have made of the legislators who have passed this law?
Garcia: It was an unforeseen situation.
Locsin: Unforeseen? That was the principle guarantee, that this would be an honest election. That we would know digitally what would happen during the election day and the election hours.
Garcia: And you do sir, if I may.
Locsin: No, no, forget that.
Garcia: No sir, I stand by our product.
Locsin: Son of a bitch!...My God!
System leaves trails
While Garcia admitted that the error was "unforeseen" by the Smartmatic, he assured congressmen at the hearing that it would not, in any way, affect the results of the elections.
Garcia said the time stamps in the machines were only to record the sequence of action, but would not say exactly when these actions were made.
"The server is not looking at the time, but rather the digital signatures and contents of the package being generated by the PCOS machines," the representative of the Venezuelan poll equipment vendor said.
"I never said we can't trace poll fraud. If there is anything our system does is leave trails everywhere so audits can be done," Garcia later told abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak via Twitter.
"I don't judge. My job is to provide answers, not to label. These things happen, but we move on," he later tweeted, when asked if Locsin had a reason to get angry.
'Surrender passports again'
Meanwhile, House Speaker Prospero Nograles said on Thursday the Commission on Elections (Comelec) must require Smartmatic officials to surrender back their passports again because they cannot seem to explain the electronic voodoo.
Just days before the elections, after defective compact flash cards were discovered and ordered recalled, several groups demanded Smartmatic officials including its President Cesar Flores be put on the Bureau of Immigration's hold departure order list.
Flores then surrendered his passport to the Comelec as proof he had no intention of leaving the country.
But one week after the elections, Flores said the Comelec returned his passport to him.
Time difference glitches
In an earlier interview over ANC's Headstart, Locsin mentioned that there were at least 3 barangays in Makati City where the actual voting that took place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. were not reflected by the PCOS machines.
He said that the ballots were re-fed to the PCOS machines by election workers at 10 p.m.
Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez had also admitted during the same ANC news program that the time difference and the incident mentioned by Locsin needed to be seriously looked into.
Earlier in the House committee hearing, losing North Cotabato gubernatorial candidate Emmanuel Piñol complained that he lost allegedly because of high-tech cheating and harassment of election workers in rebel-controlled areas.
Piñol also told the committee that he "can personally" testify that jamming devices were used to rig the results of the automated elections in his province. With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News; Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak