Comelec: Transparency server script altered, won't affect results

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Comelec reiterates the change in script was for "cosmetic" purposes

MANILA (UPDATED) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said a computer script was indeed altered in the transparency server, which releases the unofficial count of the votes in the recently concluded elections.

Comelec chairperson Andres Bautista told reporters that automated elections service provided Smartmatic official Marlon Garcia had to alter a script in the transparency server to correct a character in the name of a candidate.

Bautista said Garcia had to change the character "?" to an "ñ" to correct entry of name of one candidate.

The poll chief said the change in the script is "innocuous" and will not affect the results in the transparency server.

"The correction involves a mere cosmetic change. It does not in any way change the results, the counting and the canvassing of the votes and the source code of the automated election system. This change was done openly in the presence of political parties, and in fact, members of the media who were present, as well as Comelec IT personnel," Bautista said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Commissioner Christian Robert Lim also admitted that there were lapses on the part of Smartmatic, especially since they already changed the script before informing the public.

"Ang sa akin, inaamin ng Smartmatic, may pagkukulang sila, like I should have been informed that they wanted this change, and in fact, even before effecting the change, they should have announced it to the parties there. There were lapses in this protocol," he said.

Despite these lapses, Comelec assured the public that there was no cheating in the counting of votes, and that they will be showing the script to the public to allow experts to scrutinize it.

"We will show to the public, hopefully tomorrow, 'yung script ng original and yung hash code niya, and 'yung script na binago at saka 'yung hash code niya. So all IT experts, they can use the script and see if it will change the results. Ngayon lang we have to notify the people in the transparency that we have to copy the script," Lim said.

The camp of Senator Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. earlier cast doubt on the credibility of the unofficial count after dropping to second place in the vice-presidential race, behind administration candidate Leni Robredo.

A Marcos aide earlier said the senator's lead over Robredo on the first day of counting began to go down and was completely eroded after a script was "introduced" to the transparency server.

Marcos' camp suspects the introduction of the script may have affected the count. With a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

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