Marcos camp: New programming script introduced into Comelec’s transparency server

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The camp of vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday (May 11) called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to explain alleged irregularities in the unofficial vote count, particularly the supposed "new script" fed to the transparency server’s software.

Atty. Francesca Huang, a lawyer for Marcos, claimed that an "accredited observer" at the command center of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), where the transparency server is located, reported the alleged introduction of the computer script.

"We received unsettling information that at past 7:30 p.m. on May 9, 2016, Election Day (May 9), a new script or computer command was introduced to the transparency server — the very same server from which the PPCRV obtains its data for the quick count," Huang said.

"Apparently, the execution of this computer command was able to alter the hashcodes of the packet data," she said. She did not say whether this alteration will add to or shave off votes of any of the candidates. She also did not say how the introduction of the script was done and by who.

"This introduction of this new script is suspect because it was after this time that Sen. Marcos's lead from Rep. Robredo started to erode at a rather distinctive pattern," said Huang.

The Marcos camp also raised suspicion as to how the PPCRV quick count hit 95 percent of the total clustered precincts and "even 100 percent in certain provinces or cities" when it has been confirmed that some areas were unable to transmit data from the vote counting machines (VCMs).

"We have always been of the understanding, as the Comelec has never indicated the contrary, that the transparency server could only receive data or election returns from the vote counting machines," said Huang.

"How then were the data or election returns from these affected clustered precincts or VCMs uploaded to the transparency server? Does this mean that data could be uploaded to the transparency server through other means of which we do not know about?"

'No glitch' 

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Anna De Villa-Singson, PPCRV National Communications and Media Director, said the differing movements of votes does not necessarily equate to a discrepancy.

"We haven't noticed any glitch,” Singson said. “If he's (Marcos) talking about a pattern that his votes has (sic) been declining, I guess he just have (sic) to look at which particular precincts have transmitted."

"His bailiwick, which is the Ilocos region, Region 1, 98.6 [percent] of his precincts have already transmitted. Perhaps, they transmitted earlier rather than later. Later, maybe, Leni's bailiwicks came in at a later time," she added.

Related: PPCRV awaits 1.2M more votes to complete unofficial count

Singson said there are two areas in the PPCRV where partial and unofficial results can be viewed: the command center, where the PPCRV server is located, and the high-security area, where only accredited organizations are granted access.

These accredited organizations — Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng PIlipinas (KBP), Liberal Party (LP), United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), Liberal Party (LP), PDP-Laban, CNN Philippines, GMA, ABS-CBN, TV 5, Rappler, Philippine Daily Inquirer, National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Star Global, and PPCRV — receive the same raw data from the Comelec transparency server, but cannot alter any information, Singson said.

She said the programming of the data is in the hands of Comelec and Smartmatic, the poll body’s automated election system provider.

"We're not even involved in hash codes because the security of the system is so tight that it’s all one way.  It's just the server sending to us. We cannot send anything back to the server," said Singson.

She said they save data using a memory stick and are not allowed to introduce anything else “so that the server is kept intact and secure."

The PPCRV said it will continue to validate the data they receive for the partial and unofficial votes of presidential, vice presidential, and senatorial candidates.

'Robredo ratings up'

Meanwhile, Robredo’s camp insisted that her ratings have clearly gone up in the last days of the campaign period with the help of her supporters.

Kung titingnan po, nung Abril pa lang po ay unti-unti ng tumataas ang rating ni Cong. Leni sa iba’t-ibang mga survey,” Robredo’s spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said.

[Translation: If you’re going to take a look at it, Cong Leni’s rating slowly climbed up in different surveys way back April.]

Ang pagtaas na ito ay bunga ng hirap at pawis ng mga taga-suporta at volunteers ni Cong Leni. Kaya para sabihin na itp’y minanipula lang ay malaking insult sa kanilang pagsisikap.

[Translation: This increase is the product of hardwork and sweat of Cong. Leni’s supporters and volunteers. To say that [the results] are manipulated is a huge insult to their efforts.]

Hernandez said they respect the statement of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who expressed her support to Marcos and backed his claims of possible rigging of election results. 

But, Hernandez pointed out, Marcos and his camp should bring the matter to the proper venue.

Kung mayroon silang nakitang anomalya sa bilangan, mas maganda sigurong idaan natin sa tamang proseso at huwag idaan sa media ang reklamo,” said Hernandez.

[Translation: If they see any anomaly in the canvassing, maybe it is better if the complaints will undergo due process and not through the media.]

Robredo’s camp also urged the Comelec to respond to the allegations thrown by Marcos.

Also read: No petition from Marcos to stop partial, unofficial count - Comelec commissioner

Also read: Analyst: If you trust unofficial presidential tally, why doubt VP results?