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Comelec questioned anew for poll system’s lack of TEC ‘seal of approval’

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is once again asked about the lack of certification from the Technical Evaluation Committee for the automated system to be used in this year's polls.

The said certification was supposed to be submitted and released three months before the polls, or last Feb. 9.

Election lawyer Gregorio Larrazabal, a former Comelec commissioner, told GMA News Online on Friday that no such report has been submitted yet to the joint congressional oversight committee (JCOC) on the automated polls, co-chaired by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.

Larrazabal wrote to Pimentel's office, as well as to the Comelec en banc, on Thursday to inquire about the matter.

He said Pimentel's office verified that no certification was submitted to them, 12 days before the elections.

The said certification would "categorically state that the AES, including its hardware and software components, is operating properly, securely, and accurately."

"The TEC certification kasi is the seal of approval saying that, 'Okay, we've tested the system, we've tested the hardware, we've tested the software. It's go. We're ready for the elections. We can use this for the elections," Larrazabal said in a separate interview.

At their failure to submit on the designated time, the former commissioner pointed out that the Comelec should have written to the JCOC explaining the non-compliance, at least 30 days before election day.

"That's why you have people questioning the integrity of the system. The letter should have explained why the certification was not issued," Larrazabal said.

The former poll executive also said the Comelec cannot justify their non-compliance with the Supreme Court's order to issue voting receipts because the directive, made in March, was beyond the 90-day requirement.

Under Republic Act No. 9369, the certification is required to be submitted to the JCOC three months before the elections, and must include documented results of the following:

  • the successful conduct of a field testing process, followed by a mock election in at least one city or municipality;
  • successful completion of audit on the accuracy, functionality, and security controls of the AES (automated election system) software;
  • successful source code review;
  • a certification that the source code is kept in escrow with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas;
  • a certification that the source code reviewed is the same used in the machine;
  • a continuity plan to cover risks to the system to avoid failure of elections at any stage.

Larrazabal said the non-compliance "can't stop the conduct of elections," though may cast doubts on the credibility of the system.

"We don't want these things to be pointed out after elections where the problem will be exacerbated," he said.

For its part, the Comelec has said the certification will be issued after the conduct of the pre-logic and accuracy (pre-LAT) test, expected to be finished Friday. — RSJ, GMA News

Tags: eleksyon2016