Second phase of Comelec source code review starts next week

Posted on January 09, 2016

Starting next week, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will allow more groups to review the source code that will be used in counting machines for this year’s national elections.

“This source code review is a mechanism imposed by the law for the attainment of a transparent electoral process, and for political parties to review the actual instruction of the system to be performed by the machines,” Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia, who heads the committee in charge of the review, said in a press conference earlier this week.

Citing Comelec Resolution 10032, Mr. Guia said the move to invite more parties is meant “to make the review more accommodating and inclusive.”

Under this second phase of the review, third parties will be given four months to study the source code, he said. This is longer than the two months afforded third parties during the past two elections.

The review of the source code started on October 1 with eight political parties joining the first phase. They included Liberal Party, United Nationalist Alliance, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Unang Sigaw, Bagong Bayan Party, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, Center for People Empowerment in Governance and Lakas-CMD.

The source code serves as the electronic script to operate the Optical Mark Readers (OMRs) that will be used in the upcoming elections.

The source code review however stops short of testing, which Mr. Guia said will be undertaken afterwards when the commission holds a mock poll.

Comelec is leasing 93,000 new OMR machines from the Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp.

Comelec Chairman Andres D. Bautista also announced the launch of a roadshow to discuss the pros and cons of adopting the four safeguard features for the automated election.

Besides the source code, the three three other security features are the UV lamp, the digital signature, and the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT).

The OMR machines will be unveiled next week, according to Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez. -- Janina C. Lim