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Comelec told to ensure orderly May 9 elections

Philippines – The Commission on Elections must take extra measures to strengthen the integrity of the automated elections next month following the security breach in its website, a Palace official said yesterday.

A few days after expressing concern about the “ill-effects” of the cyber-attack on the poll website, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. emphasized that it is the responsibility of the Comelec to ensure the upcoming elections will be credible and orderly.

“Tiwala ang pamahalaan na isinasagawa ng Comelec ang mga nararapat na hakbang upang higit pang maging matibay ang integridad ng automated election system na gagamitin sa pambansang eleksyon sa ika-siyam ng Mayo,” Coloma said over government radio.

A few weeks before elections, the poll body suffered a major cyber attack with voters’ records stolen by hackers. The stolen personal information of 56 million voters were reportedly put on display on a website last Thursday. The site allowed users to easily search for their biometric information online.

The Comelec has apologized to the voters for the breach in their privacy but downplayed the impact of the data leak on the integrity of the May 9 ballot.

Malacañang earlier condemned the cyber-attack on the Comelec website, saying government agencies are working with the poll body to strengthen its security protocols.

“Although verifications that have been made thus far have shown that the integrity of the automated election system has not been affected by the latest cyber-attack, we share the public’s concern on the ill-effects of this act,” Coloma said.

Coloma welcomed the Comelec’s initiative to conduct mock election to determine any glitches in the poll system. And based on reports, Coloma cited that the mock voting was generally successfully after ballots from polling precincts were transmitted to canvassing centers.

“Tungkulin nating lahat na pagtulungan ang pagdaraos ng isang mapayapa, maayos, at may integridad na pambansang halalan,” he said.