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Bongbong camp to demand full audit of Comelec’s network system

The camp of vice presidential candidate Sen. Bongbong Marcos will demand that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) open its network operation center (NOC) to independent IT experts for a full system audit.

“By tomorrow early afternoon, we are filing a strongly worded demand letter to Comelec regarding the opening of its system for a system audit,” Jose Amorado, a member of Marcos’ legal team, said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Amorado said they decided to demand for a system audit following the introduction of new computer command in the poll body’s transparency server on election night.

He said the full audit “will put to rest” the question of whether or not the introduction of a new script or computer command has affected the transmission of the vote results for the May 9 elections.

“A system audit will finally put to rest whether or not it’s only the ‘?’ mark changed to ‘ñ’ that they tampered with or there was something else,” Amorado said. 

Marcos’ camp bared last week that Comelec’s IT system provider, Smartmatic, introduced the new script  in the Comelec’s transparency server around 8 p.m. on May 9, which they said might have affected the counting of votes.

Following this, Marcos insinuated that the introduction of the new script might be part of a possible conspiracy between the Comelec and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) to rig the results of the voting in favor of his closest rival, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo. 

In a press conference Thursday last week, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista admitted that the script of the transparency server was tweaked, but only to correct the “?” character into “ñ” that appeared in the names of some candidates.

Baustista said the change did not affect the transmission of the vote results.

Amorado, however, said there is no way of verifying Bautista’s claim until the Comelec network operations system is audited.

“We have it from our IT experts that the only way to determine that is through a system audit, and we are demanding that tomorrow afternoon,” he said.

Meanwhile, Amorado, who also heads Marcos’ quick count team, said that aside from the introduction of new script, their camp has “unearthed” several irregularities in the tabulation of vote results in the local level.

Amorado cited as example the report of the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Laguna seeking permission from the Comelec to convene anew to “correct the discrepancies” in the manually-uploaded election results reflected in their provincial Certificate of Canvass (COC).

Amorado said that in the report, Precinct No. 13423, which represents the town of Rizal in Laguna, listed only 12 votes each for Senators Allan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero and Gringo Honasan and nine votes each for Marcos, Robredo and Senator Antonio Trillanes.

 Amorado said they have also observed a "highly irregular" number of undervotes in the vice presidential race. He defined undervoting as an instance when a voter did not select any candidate for a particular post.

Amorado said that based on the COCs that they have internally tallied, there were a total of 3,326,640 instances of undervotes for the vice presidential post. He said this number was irregular and “suspicious” considering the high percentage of voter turnout as compared to the 2010 and 2013 elections.

“We have collated unusually high percentages of undervotes for the vice presidential race in all parts of the country, from Regions 1 to the National Capital Region all the way to Region 13 and the ARRM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao),” he said.

Amorado said they are in possession of evidence of other irregularities but they are still collating and validating them. He said these would be made public “as soon as they get the necessary clearance.”

“Rest assured that we will not stop until the true will of the people prevails,” Amorado said.

Robredo continued to lead by more or less 200,000 votes over Marcos as of Tuesday afternoon, May 17, based on the Comelec's partial tally. —KBK, GMA News