NBI raids house of ex-Smartmatic employee tagged in 'data breach'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2022 05:25 PM

MANILA — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has raided the residence of the former Smartmatic employee tagged in an alleged data breach, even as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the firm denied it was related to the May elections. 

The NBI cybercrime division implemented a search warrant in the house of former Smartmatic employee Ricardo Argana in San Pedro, Laguna. 

The warrant was issued after Comelec and Smartmatic confirmed that a data breach occurred with the alleged involvement of Argana.

Argana was not in his residence when the NBI conducted the search. 

Retrieved from his house were cellular phones, SD cards, a laptop, and a wireless router. All of these items will undergo forensic analysis.

Both Smartmatic and Comelec initially explained that the data breach did not include election related data, and it only involved Smartmatic’s internal operations.

The poll automation contractor has fired the employee behind the alleged security breach.

Pending the results of the forensic analysis, the NBI is set to compare the contents of the gadgets and what the employee had stated in his sworn statement.

Comelec commissioner George Garcia said he hopes the NBI would complete its investigation soon.

"In view of this service of search warrant, hopefully po ma-complete na ang buong investigation ng NBI. Our legal remedies and options rest on this report," Garcia said.

—Reports from Niko Baua and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News