'No database yet to hack': Namfrel backs Comelec on alleged breach

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2022 09:29 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2022 11:19 PM

MANILA - A poll watchdog on Sunday said it is backing the Commission on Elections' statement denying claims that Comelec's database had been hacked. 

National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) Chairman Gus Lagman said there was no database to speak of when reports of alleged hacking of its data system surfaced.

Lagman said this was based on his conversation with his sources inside the commission.

“Kinabukasan nung lumabas ang balita, tumawag ako sa mga kakilala ko sa Comelec...sinabi sa akin na hindi naman totoo. In fact ‘ginagawa pa lang namin ang database’ so wala pa silang iha-hack. So sinabi nila na 'di totoo,” Lagman said in Balitaan sa Maynila webinar earlier today.

(The following day after the news broke out, I called those I know in Comelec and they told me it was not true. In fact, they are still working on the database so there was nothing to hack. So they said it was not true.)

And even if it were hacked, Lagman said the Comelec has a "backup", he said.

“SOP sa IT systems, maraming kopya yan- may backup copy sa opisina, sa ibang lugar para sakaling may mangyari sa opisina masunog man, may copy sa ibang lugar. Di raw totoo ang nangyaring hacking,” he added.

(This is an SOP for IT systems, they have several copies, they have a backup copy in their office, in other places just in case something happens to their office, in case there's a fire, they have a copy elsewhere. They said the reported hacking was not true.)

Namfrel said it is currently preparing for the 2022 national elections, which include the recruitment of thousands of volunteers, and setting up a “parallel vote tabulation”.

“Ang nirerecruit namin at least 50,000, hopefully 100,000 kasi mahigit 100,000 ang mga presinto eh. Gusto sana namin na malagyan ng isang volunteer sa isang presinto. Kung hindi man, 50,000 lang then ang isang volunteer dalawang presinto ang hahawakan,” Lagman said.

(We are recruiting at least 50,000, hopefully, 100,000 because there are over 100,000 precincts. We want to have one volunteer per precinct. If not, we need 50,000, one volunteer can be assigned to 2 precincts.)

“Sa ngayon ginagawa pa namin ang computer programs na kailangan namin para maseguro lang na malinis ang pagbibilang at pagka- canvass. So gusto namin sabayan na magkaroon kami ng parallel- vote tabulation kasabay sa Comelec para malaman natin, maseguro at makita ng tao na malinis ang canvassing,”Lagman added.

(Right now we are working on the computer programs that we need to ensure proper counting and canvassing of votes. We want to have a parallel vote tabulation with Comelec so that we'll know and ensure that people will see that the canvassing is done properly.)

Lagman, who is also a former Comelec Commissioner, said he believes the poll body is also preparing its contingency plans to address problems during the election, including power outages, election hotspots and the pandemic.

“Ang ginagawa ng Comelec naglalagay sila ng generators…yung gulo, ang ginagawa ng Comelec diyan kinokontak ang military,” Lagman said.

(The Comelec is setting up generators...in case of disturbance, the Comelec coordinates with the military.)

“Siguro kailangan magdagdagan ng marshalls to see to it na 'di magdidikit ang mga tao,” he said.

(Maybe there is a need for more marshalls so it won't be too crowded.)


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