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Ex-Comelec exec raises more questions on automated poll system

With barely a week before the May 9 elections, a former official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has raised more questions about the process as well as the automated election system that will be used.

Election lawyer Gregorio Larrazabal, who was Comelec commissioner during the 2010 polls and is now affiliated with the Nationalist People's Coalition, has written two more letters to the en banc this week to seek clarification.

Larrazabal asked the en banc to "explore further" the putting of a "threshold" on the number of complaints made before the board of election inspectors (BEIs) could request for the replacement of their assigned vote counting machine (VCM).

He also asked the poll body to lay down procedures for BEIs and poll watchers regarding the hash codes, or a unique identifier, of the VCM's software.

"There has to be a procedure, properly disseminated to the BEIs and stakeholders, on how to verify the authenticity of the software used in the VCMs all over the Philippines. This is accomplished by verifying the hash code of the VCM," Larrazabal said in his letter.

"The procedures should include how to resolve a dispute in case there is a discrepancy in hash codes because there is only one hash code for all VCMs all over the Philippines," he added. "Failure to do this will run counter to the thrust of Comelec of being transparent."

Larrazabal also pointed out that the poll body has yet to release instructions for the board of canvassers on reviewing the hash codes of the canvassing and consolidating system (CCS).

"Please take note that if there is a discrepancy in the hash codes of either the VCM or the CCS, this is presumed to be proof of tampered source codes, and use of an unauthorized and illegal software," he said.

Aside from letters to the en banc, Larrazabal also wrote to Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, steering committee head for this elections, asking for access to the list of IP addresses and MAC addresses of all devices to be connected to the central and transparency server, along with other technical aspects of the system.

Larrazabal had previously raised several issues on the poll system, as well as on some measures introduced by the Comelec en banc. —KBK, GMA News