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NBI has custody of Smartmatic employee in 'breach', says Sotto

The Smartmatic employee involved in the alleged security breach in its system is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),  according to Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

According to Nimfa Ravelo's report on Super Radyo dzBB, Sotto also said that he already had a copy of the employee's affidavit as regards the supposed infringement on Smartmatic's data.

"Yes. Kahapon pa we were already given a copy of his sworn affidavit,” Sotto told GMA News Online when asked about the NBI having custody of the Smartmatic employee involved.

[Yes. We received a copy of his sworn affidavit yesterday.]

Senator Imee Marcos, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, said on Thursday that there was an alleged infringement in the operations of Smartmatic — the biggest software contractor of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for Eleksyon 2022.

She claimed data regarding Smartmatic, including personal information, ledgers, photos of their office, contact persons in the Comelec, might have been hacked by a syndicate group.

It was Sotto who disclosed to the media that an employee of Smartmatic allowed a certain group to copy the files containing sensitive information from his laptop.

Marcos’ camp said the device had also been seized by the operatives.

Asked if the software provider would be held liable over the incident, Sotto said, “Of course. Laptop nila yun.”

[Of course. That’s their laptop.]

“Hindi naman disgruntled eh. Corrupted. He was offered money,” Sotto said in describing the Smartmatic staff who allegedly figured in the breach.

[He was not disgruntled. Corrupted. He was offered money.]

Marcos, in a radio interview, expressed a similar sentiment and said sanctions should be imposed against Smartmatic.

She also criticized the company for not having a “vetting” process in employing workers and even allowing contractual employees to have access to vital election information.

“Medyo late nga ang dating wala tayong magawa medyo limitado ang ating mga options dyan,” she said.

“Alangan naman na palitan pa natin at this point in time. Pero dapat istriktuhan natin yan., hindi pwedeng ganyan,” she added.

[It may be too late but we cannot do anything because we have limited options there. We cannot change them at this point in time but we should be stricter. We cannot allow this to pass.]

The Comelec earlier assured the integrity of the upcoming elections despite the alleged breach. It also said it will take immediate action on the incident after receiving the NBI’s report.

Smartmatic, meanwhile, denied the allegations according to Ian Cruz's report on "24 Oras”.

"Gusto lamang po naming klaruhin na hindi po 'yon totoo. Wala pong katotohanan," Smartmatic spokesperson Atty. Christopher Louie Ocampo said.

[We just want to clarify that the allegations were not true. There is no truth in there.] —Sundy Mae Locus/NB, GMA News