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Comelec still negotiating for source code release

The Commission on Elections is still in the process of negotiating with warring technology suppliers Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems for the release of the source code.
On Friday, poll chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said there was no agreement reached yet when they met with the lawyers of the two companies Thursday evening as the latter will have to consult first with their principals abroad
“Natapos kami na sabi nila ‘we have to consult our principal’ which means Smartmatic will talk to their principal in London and Dominion will likewise talk to the chairman (in Denver, USA),” Brillantes told reporters.
“There can be no formal agreement because the lawyers represent principals abroad. Therefore, they cannot make a commitment, they have to make consultations,” he added.
He said the meeting lasted until 10 pm. Brillantes was with Commissioner Christian Robert Lim while Dominion was represented by Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez and Gatmaitan law office and Smartmatic by ACCRA law office.
He said the only thing they agreed was they will meet again on Monday.
Brillantes said he was already forcing the issue but it is not easy as there are several issues that have to be resolved.
“Hindi mo mape-predict (ang mangyayari), I thought kagabi would be winding up pero hindi e, hindi ganun kadali,” he said.
The poll chairman said the lawyers manifested that Dominion and Smartmatic “are willing not to interfere with the elections in the Philippines.
“Sabi ko the only way you can do that is bigay nyo sa amin yung independently certified source code para tapos na. Ngayon magkaaway na kayo hanggang gusto nyo wag nyo na kaming isali,” he said.
Brillantes said the good thing that came out from the meeting was that the lawyers of the two companies are finally talking.
He expressed hope that he will receive positive news on the possible release of source code by Monday
“After Monday tignan ko lang pero at least we are moving na, medyo mas maliwanag nang konti ang nakikita natin. Nagu-usap na ang mga lawyers. Hopefully after consultation with their principals they will be able to come out (with a decision). Sabi ko sa kanila kung may magandang report, i-report nyo na sa akin,” said Brillantes.
The poll chairman wanted to get the source code to satisfy the requirement of Automated Election Law. Section 11 of Republic Act 9369 which states 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.”
The source code, a human readable instruction or software for Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, is with the international certifier SLI Global Solutions in Denver. SLI will not release it without the consent of Dominion who is in a legal battle with Smartmatic. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News