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Tinkering, tainting

HERE comes Sen. Koko Pimentel, who’s only the head of incoming President Duterte’s political party, threatening to “put behind bars” the Venezuelan general manager and project manager of Smartmatic, “for all the abuses and underdeliveries (that) should be factored in by Comelec” that tainted the integrity of the vote count.

Nor is Senator Pimentel the only one outraged by the conduct of Elie Moreno and Marlon Garcia when they, without express authority of Comelec, caused a change in script in the transparency server of PPCRV for the elections – all because, according to Señor Garcia, a “?” appeared instead of an ñ in some ballots! Exactly how many ñ’s were in the list of candidates? Voters recall only one name, that of a deceased presidential candidate (who collected 25,000 votes).

A valid excuse or not, what was invalid was a foreigner taking charge and breaching the “protocol,” to use Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s words. The commissioner was so incensed she said she felt her knees crumbling, “for which Smartmatic must be held accountable” – not so much for her weakened knees as for the breach that she said had “no effect on the results.”

A lawyer in the Supreme Court who admittedly is not a techie tried to translate “protocol” for me as being the same as “contract,” but is it enough for the election commission to shut down the uproar by declaring there was no damage done simply because they said so?

Other techies smell something rotten. Gus Lagman, a former commissioner: “No matter how minor (the tinkering), you may not move or change anything once the process has started.”

A Namfrel volunteer: “There’s going to be a big effect on the credibility of Comelec” even if there’s no effect on the count.

Glen Chong, computer expert and eagle-eyed elections observer: “It’s clear. After the injection point, Senator Marcos’ votes took a dive.”

If that plunge was a dagger aimed at the heart of Marcos supporters, think how the admirers of Mar Roxas felt when Leni Robredo, who’s now ahead of Bongbong Marcos in the race for VP, pulled four million more votes than Mar!