Guanzon backs third party independent audit of AES

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said she is personally in favor of a third party independent audit of the Automated Election System (AES).

This comes after the camp of vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. petitioned the poll body to conduct a system audit of the transparency and central servers of the AES, after Smartmatic official Marlon Garcia introduced changes in the transparency server on election night.

The Comelec en banc has yet to act on the petition.

"It should really be part of our work, right? After the elections, we're supposed to assess, review the election system that we used. Our operations manuals, we should also assess that so we can improve," Guanzon told reporters after the regular en banc session Tuesday afternoon.

The commissioner added that the independent audit will also be part of the poll body's investigation into the alleged "breach of protocol" committed by Garcia.

"There are two parts to that investigation. They're supposed to find out the facts and then give us recommendations on, one, that will affect or can affect the contract of Smartmatic; two, the possible administrative liability of our IT personnel," she said.

"Yung aming IT personnel, siyempre they have a right to due process kasi baka ma-administrative case sila as a result of this investigation kung liable sila."

Guanzon said that the audit could be conducted by an IT expert not affiliated with any party or candidate, preferably identified by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

"Or it can even be the DOST for example," Guanzon said.

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