NBI asked to step into alleged poll fraud

A political analyst and former public relations and media consultant of former President Fidel V. Ramos yesterday called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to step into the alleged election cheating said to have been in place by no less than a personnel of Smartmatic which is said to have favored administration vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.

Ed Malay, who is also executive director of independent opinion polling firm, The Center, said there is now an urgent need for a deeper probe of the alleged poll irregularities to be conducted by the NBI inasmuch as even top officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may be involved in this scheme.

"The Administration is in control of the Comelec, Smartmatic, and the supposed citizens arm of the poll body the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) and there is no way for any candidate outside of the Daang Matuwid party who can infiltrate this formidable cheating machinery," said Malay.

The participation of the PPCRV, Malay said, is also suspect because it has already been dis-accredited by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) itself when its performance in the 2013 polls came under fire.

Malay said it is unusual that 11 days after the polls the Comelec still has to wrap up its final canvass and could not come up with an idea of how the vice presidential polls went.

He said it is indeed highly suspicious that the PPCRV refused to terminate its quick count even when it's conduct was already being questioned and only stopped when the script and hash codes were replaced to show a narrow margin in favor of Robredo.

Malay said that all these issues about poll irregularities related to the VP elections must be resolved first before any proclamation can be made as he urged the Comelec to conduct itself with probity and to respect the true will of the people and not the will of Daang Matuwid.

Malay also lambasted Robredo for issuing statements left and right claiming she won in the recently concluded elections and at the same time expressing apprehensions she could be cheated of victory, saying her statements are way out of line.

"Any proclamation of the winning vice presidential candidate can only be made when all the issues, doubts, and questions about the integrity of the conduct of the elections shall have been addressed as systems audit made after the proclamation is fraught with political presumption and hypocrisy," said Malay.

"For Ms. Robredo to even claim that she is being cheated is an attempt to deflect the fact that it is the Administration which has the capacity to cheat and manipulate the poll results," Malay stressed.

Meanwhile, the camp of vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos filed a criminal complaint yesterday against Executives of service provider Smartmatic for their unauthorized change in the script of the transparency server of the Comelec.

This developed as lawyer Jose Amor Amorado, Head of the BBM Quick Count Center, said they will request the poll body for additional access to other components of the Automated Election System (AES) in addition to a system audit of the transparency server and central server of the poll body.

Abakada Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz, Marcos' Campaign Adviser said they filed a criminal case yesterday, May 20, before the Comelec against Smartmatic personnel Marlon Garcia for alleged violation of the Automated Election System Law, particularly Section 28 of RA 9369 which prohibits acts that include "interfering with, impeding, absconding for purpose of gain, preventing the installation or use of computer counting devices and the processing, storage, generation and transmission of election results, data or information".

Garcia, a Venezuelan national was tagged as the one who introduced the script change into the transparency server in violation of the Comelec protocols.

"We don't want this Venezuelan to get away with it," said Dela Cruz, noting Garcia was charged earlier for a similar offense in connection with the 2013 elections.

For his part, Amorado said the new letter to be filed before the Comelec tomorrow May 20 will seek access to the transmission logs, list of VCMs (vote counting machines), USB devices and BGANs (Broadband Global Area Network) used in the polls, as well as the public key and decryption key to open up the transmission files.

"This will enable us to explain, and we would be able to see, how many were the undervotes, which is critical to the count of the votes for the Vice Presidential position," Amorado said.

He said that as of Thursday their own count revealed undervotes of around 3.5 million for the vice presidential position, which is unusual because this position was hotly-contested in this election.

Amorado and Dela Cruz also lamented the cancelation of the scheduled hearing Thursday May 19 of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System due to the absence of Smartmatic officials.

"The other thing that I think has not yet been properly advised, and which we had wanted to bring to the attention of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee, was the fact that at 10 p.m. on the same day, May 9 there was a non-transmission of votes from all over the country," Dela Cruz said.

Dela Cruz said the incident is suspicious because the transmission of election results from all around the country stopped simultaneously for around 10 minutes when there were no reported brownouts or other incidents that could explain this glitch. This took place after the 7:30 p.m. unauthorized change of the script in the transparency server.

Amorado and Dela Cruz said they will also look into the arrival of new Certificates of Canvass from the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Negros Occidental and Nueva Ecija, noting they have already secured a copy of their certificates of canvass earlier.

Source: Tribune