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Even without source code, Comelec to proceed with automated polls


Despite the absence of source code and without conducting another mock poll, the Commission on Elections said Wednesday it will proceed with the automated elections on May 13.
 
Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. made the announcement after receiving the report of the Technical Evaluation Committee which “says that the entire (voting) process is OK, from beginning to end, except that there is no source code to be reviewed.”
 
“Ang conclusion is mukhang very positive naman ang result except for the reservation about the source code, everything is positive, as far as I can see,” Brillantes told reporters.
 
He added there is no need to conduct another mock elections as “TEC already validates our mock elections kaya nga maganda yun e.”
 
On his Twitter account, Brillantes said “the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) has just given its go signal for Comelec to use the Automated Election System for the 2013 elections.”
 
“TEC certified that the AES can operate properly, securely and accurately be used in the coming May 2013 elections,” he added.
 
In an interview with reporters, Brillantes said with the TEC report, he no longer needs to worry about the source code or human readable instructions. Apprehension over absence of source code
 
Just last Tuesday, Brillantes expressed apprehension that the absence of source code would lead to reverting to manual elections.
 
If the poll body will not be able to secure the certified source code, the same cannot be opened for review by political parties and other interest groups which is a requirement under Republic Act 9369.
 
Section 11 of RA 9369 or the Automated Election Law says that three months before elections, there should be a “successful completion of a source code review; a certification that the source code is kept in escrow with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; and a certification that the source code reviewed is one and the same as that used by the equipment.”
 
But Brillantes said the law does not say that if there is no review, you cannot proceed with the elections.
 
“There is no such provision. Like nung 2010, wala namang nakareview ng source code bakit nagtuloy ang elections. Natapos na ang election without any source code review,” he said.
 
The source code is with the SLI Global Solutions, an international certification entity, and might not be released to Comelec without the consent of Dominion which has a legal battle with Smartmatic.
 
Brillantes said that despite the good news, he is still negotiating with Dominion to get the source code.
 
“It would be better makuha pa rin ang source code so we could have a complete (system) and maybe ma-convince ko yung mga detractor na meron talagang source code,” he said. 'Money is available'
 
Also on Tuesday, Brillantes said he offered to put in escrow the $10 million Dominion is asking from Smartmatic just to assure the former that the money is available.
 
Brillantes said that while he agrees that source code is need to boost the credibility of the elections, he does not want to give it much importance because Dominion is allegedly using it for their claims.
 
“The problem is everytime I give importance to Dominion, nagagamit nila. Ang gusto ko sabihin sa kanila, hindi na kayo importante sa amin masyado. Kailangan pa rin namin but it is not significant anymore to us... therefore, you better join us na instead of us going after you later,” he said.
 
Asked if the Comelec will be suing Dominion, Brillantes replied in the negative but said it could tell the whole world not to deal with Dominion because of the problems it brought to Comelec.
 
“We can do so many things by way of PR (press release) all over the world (that) you don’t deal with this kind of company, they made it very difficult for us (to conduct elections),” he said.
 
“That is why I keep on saying sa mga detractors namin dito who keep on talking and talking while I’m quietly negotiating is they are not really helping the Commission on Elections because nagagamit yung kanilang mga statements,” he added. No more manual polls
 
Asked what are the other factors that could lead to manual polls, Brillantes said there is nothing at this point.
 
“At this stage, wala nang manual. There is no way. Manual is already impossible with the certification issued by TEC. We are going to proceed automated no matter what happens,
source code is there or not. It is not necessary,” he said.
 
He also said that the Comelec will use the TEC report to convince the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Elections System that the poll body will proceed with the automated polls.
 
Brillantes believed that the Comelec can just submit its justification to the JCOCAES without the latter convening and approving the same.
 
The Comelec chief said the TEC report will be formally submitted to the en banc Thursday. — RSJ, GMA News
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