Comelec hopes to resolve transparency server woes by Tuesday morning

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2019 12:28 AM | Updated as of May 14 2019 02:23 AM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said the delay in displaying electronically transmitted results through its transparency server could be resolved by early Tuesday morning.

“This is not a transmission problem. Our transmission is proceeding as planned and we are not seeing any problems. In fact, our transmission is at 80 percent right about now,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said during an ambush interview at the command center of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) around 11:30 p.m.

“The problem is in the program that pushes the data from the transparency server to the different media problems (and PPCRV),” he explained. “The cause of the problem is something being studied right now.”

Jimenez said the problem is a bit deeper and would require looking into error logs which would require the Comelec en banc's approval. 

He said early Tuesday that the Comelec en banc has decided to allow opening of transparency server’s error logs to get to the bottom of problem, and fix the issue.

“We’re going to solve it by opening up the error logs and finding out where the problem actually lies. Hopefully we can do that first thing tomorrow morning,” he said. “I think the estimate is that around 4 a.m. it will be okay already. That’s the earliest.”

Jimenez said the tally of votes coming from vote-counting machines is continuously arriving.

“The results from the VCM is sent to canvassers, central servers and our transparency server. From the transparency server there is an application that pushes that data towards the media outlets so they can report the results,” Jimenez said in Filipino.

He said IT representatives of media organizations are also studying the problem.

“Right now about five minutes ago the transparency server already sent a memo to the en banc requesting to basically open up the error logs so we may see the problem. If we open the error logs it will be a kind of audit that will happen. We’ll see what the problem is exactly,” he said.

Jimenez said people can easily backcheck the data of the transparency server, which will arrive in one batch once the problem is resolved. Results, for example, are also being uploaded on the Comelec website

“We know where the data is. We know how much is being added. And we know that we can backcheck it at any point,” he added. 

Jimenez confirmed that the application was also used in the 2016 elections. “Yes. That’s what we were trying to figure out. We don’t know what went wrong,” he said.

Asked if Smartmatic will be penalized for the glitch, Jimenez said he is not familiar with the punitive aspects of the contract. “But I would expect that this is something that needs to be looked into by our legal (department).”

Several politicians have slammed the poll body and demanded an explanation over the delay.

"If you can't release the results, we demand an immediate explanation as to the reasons behind this delay in the release. Surely you can do better than this," Sen. Kiko Pangilinan said.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, pointed out that Congress allocated a substantial budget for a "real time and credible elections" with a satisfactory system found wanting.