By HANNAH L. TORREGOZA
Saying the upcoming May 2019 elections it at stake, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III yesterday exposed alleged “irregularities” in the conduct of the May 2016 elections and urged the Senate to investigate the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic over such reports.
Sotto said that only recently a “concerned and impeccably reliable source” handed to him confidential documents as to the irregularities that have transpired on May 2016 which allegedly altered the results of the national elections.
“There were two points that were alleged in the information that was relayed to me: first, is that there were early transmission of votes. Second, that there was a remote access of our election server,” Sotto said in his privilege speech at the Senate plenary.
Sotto noted that just recently, the Comelec commissioners unanimously voted to exercise its Option to Purchase Smartmatic’s vote counting machines (VCMs) for the 2019 midterm elections with the poll body saying the government will save a lot in purchasing the previously leased machines.
“To me, this decision is a bit problematic, given the numerous unresolved issues that Smartmatic is being accused of in the conduct of the last 2016 national elections,” Sotto pointed out.
“What I am about to present to you may or may not be gospel truth but very accurate information and if these allegations are serious enough and are proven to be true after due investigation, then we have a case of electoral sabotage for the conduct of the 2016 elections,” the majority leader said.
“If we don’t do anything to clear the doubts as to the legitimacy of the previous election, then we put at risk the accuracy of the 2019 elections,” he said.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Sotto said that at least two domain name service (DNS) servers were used during the 2016 elections: one holds the main DNS and used by all VCMs and consolidated canvassing system (CCS) and another used only by the queue servers from May 10-11.
As per Comelec en banc resolution 10083, Sotto said the Board of Canvassers (BOC) is mandated to convene only starting 3 p.m. of May 9, 2016. However, he said documents show that a transmission activity was captured as early as May 8, 2016.
The majority leader said the transmission activity is done by one with an IP address 10.11.5.5 to 0507.ccs.pili2016pinas.net.
Based on the data, Sotto said the one transmitting the data is from a clustered VCM or a Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine, while the one on the receiving end, seemed to point the CCS of the Municipality of Libon, Albay.
“The early transmission activity continued until May 9, 2016 in the morning, prior to the official conduct of the election,” he said, adding that another transmission activity was noted coming from the CCS of the Municipality of Angono, Rizal.
By law, Sotto said the transmittal of election results should come from the PCOS machines. From the PCOS machines, the election returns (ERs) are transmitted to the central server, to a transparency server, and to the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC). From the MBOC, the results are then transmitted to the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) where the results are then collated and then transmitted to the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) where the results for national positions are canvassed.
The MBOC and PBOC, he said, also separately beam ERs to the central server.
“In summary, there has been an alleged early transmission of votes by certain VCMs to the Municipal Board of Canvassers. These are only examples of the numerous early transmissions to different Municipal and Provincial Board of Canvassers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” Sotto pointed out.
“The standard answer of Smartmatic would be that these transmissions are only ‘testing transmissions.’ These transmissions cannot be in any way be claimed as ‘testing transmissions’ because as far as I can remember, the last official testing was made on April, 23, 2016,” he emphasized.
Sotto also raised questions why a username “e360sync” is accessing the queue servers with “root access privilege” – which means it can open, copy and transmit any information gathered.
He said a day prior to election, this username made a malicious activity that is categorized as a critical intrusion to a computer system. “If you do this in your own home computer, your firewall or anti-virus will alert you,” he pointed out.
But apparently, he said, e360 is a server in “amazonaws.com” which is a cloud computing service located mainly in the United States.