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System reviewers: AES tough to hack, but Comelec still has to keep close watch

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INDIVIDUALS WHO took part in reviewing the automated election system (AES) that will be used for the midterm elections in May assure its security, but said they will still keep track of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in ensuring its integrity.

Philippine Linux Users’ Group (PLUG) source code reviewer Pablo Manalastas Jr. said that while the system is taxing for those who plan to rig the automated elections, the Comelec still plays a part in upholding the 2019 National and Local Elections fairness.

“It’s very difficult for outsiders to hack into the system but it’s not as difficult to hack into the system if you’re a Comelec or a group of Comelec or Smartmatic personnel who knows all the.. access, then you can hack the system,” he said on Monday during the Poll Body’s consultation with the Local Source Code Review Committee (LSCRC) for this year’s elections.

“We have to have faith that the Comelec will do its job,” he added.

NPC Source Code reviewer Gadburt Mercado, for his part, said, “This is the first time we have been given unprecedented access so we clearly see the commitment of the agency towards ensuring the elections is a really transparent one.”

PDP-Laban’s Alexander K. Ramos said the systems they reviewed have greatly improved but admits, “There are a lot of issues regarding the system and procedures we are hoping will be implemented this coming elections. Of course, some have been addressed while others are working progress.”




Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia, meanwhile, assured that the systems they are using for the automated elections will also have back up measures in verifying votes.

“There are mechanisms that you can verify whether the results are accurate or not… yes, we have a very technical system where the results are transmitted electronically but there is also a back up analog process where you can actually do your own addition using your own calculator if you are not still not satisfied if the results are accurate,” he said.

“There are many ways of verifying the results but we are continually making sure that the electronic part is secure,” he added.

Mr. Guia also said that Comelec will soon launch another Web site that will publish vote results in each precinct and the public can verify the results themselves.

The local source code review for this midterm automated elections ran from October 17, 2019 to March 21, 2019. — Gillian M. Cortez

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