Marcos camp elevates complaint over 'hash code' issue to DOJ
MANILA, Philippines – The camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr has filed a petition for review before the Department of Justice after the Manila City Prosecutor's Office junked its complaint over the unauthorized change in the automated elections system (AES) during the May polls.
Explaining the move, the Marcos camp's legal counsel and spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said on Friday, November 11, that "the investigation panel relied so much and almost solely on the defense presented by Smartmatic."
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) provider invoked the Protocol of Escalation, which states that seeking authority to change the script was unnecessary since it was at "low and medium security levels."
"They invoked the Protocol of Escalation. It [was] just too technical and it should be best raised and presented in a full blown trial so that the complainant – Jonathan dela Cruz – will be able to rebut [with] evidences," Rodriguez told Rappler in a phone interview.
Former ABAKADA representative Jonathan dela Cruz was Marcos' campaign advisor.
"[The] evidences [will] prove that the change and the tweaking of the server during the last elections was malicious, reckless and ill-motive to try to tamper with the outcome of the elections," Rodriguez said. (READ: Tale of the hash code: Human error caused results code mismatch)
He also said the Marcos camp found it odd that Smartmatic cited the protocol when Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista admitted that Garcia had no authority to alter the server script.
Citing the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, Dela Cruz questioned the system breach by Smartmatic's Marlon Garcia that involved changing the script in the election server to change the names appearing with "?" to "ñ."
The Marcos camp speculated that the "cosmetic change" in the script might have caused the sudden surge in votes for Vice President Leni Robredo in the unofficial transmission of votes. Marcos has a pending electoral protest againat Robredo before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
But the resolution signed by Tagonon said of the 7 respondents including Comelec, only Garcia actually performed the script change. The resolution also said that Garcia cannot be held criminally liable since he only intended to "correct an abnormality in the spelling of the names of certain candidates."
It argued as well that the complainant did not say that the questioned act changed the election results.
"Complainant himself, while saying that it compromised the integrity and credibility of the elections, does not say that it changed the result thereof. In fact, there is total absence of evidence that the replacement of '?' with 'Ñ' affected the operation of the AES and the results of the elections at all," the resolution said. – Rappler.com