NBI assures safeguards against hacking of automated election system
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division assured that the automated election system (AES) in the upcoming May 13 has safeguards against hacking.
The agency said the data in the system is digitally encrypted which cannot be easily accessed.
“It is very safe system, considering na wala talagang actual incident na naimbestigahan ng NBI involving hacking or breach doon sa election system,” explained NBI Cybercrime Division Chief Atty. Vic Lorenzo.
However, Lorenzo said some problems may still be inevitable such as disruptions in the operations of the vote counting machines that’s why the agency has prepared measures for troubleshooting.
There is also NBI personnel deployed in different regions to ensure smooth conduct of the elections in May.
“Kahit na hindi deputized ang NBI ng Comelec, we are mandated to implement the law kapag may hacking incidents, because it’s a criminal offense. It’s a violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Kapag may hacking talaga, we will respond and we will investigate,” Lorenzo added.
To date, the NBI has not received any report of hacking in connection with the AES.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the AES will be independent of any other network connections on the day of the elections from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and any attempt to manipulate the system will be detected promptly.
“The only time it is connected to the network is when it transmits the election results, ‘yung transmission na ‘yan is a very, very quick process,” Comelec Director James Jimenez said.
“The data pocket being transmitted is encrypted. It’s encrypted with an encryption strength that is basically at par with online financial transactions which means it’s safe as money,” he added.
Despite assurance from the local code reviewers of the security of the AES, Comelec will remain on guard to maintain the integrity of the AES.
Jimenez noted that compared to the previous polls, the participation of tech provider Smartmatic will be lesser this year as they are limited only to providing technical support. – Marje Pelayo (with details from April Cenedoza)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday that the voter registration for the next election is expected to resume on August 1, 2019 and will run until September 30, 2019.
“Voter registration is expected to run Aug 1 to Sept 30, 2019, inclusive of Saturdays & holidays,”Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a post on Twitter.
Jimenez said approximately two million new voters are expected to register in the said period.
“SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) voters need not register anew upon turning eighteen; their names will automatically be transferred to the regular List of Voters,” he added.
Comelec data showed there were more than 61 million registered voters in the last 2019 May Midterm polls. More than 18 million of the said number are from the youth sector or the so-called Millennials and Generation Z, born in the mid-90s and early 2000s.
The poll body has been urging Filipino voters to go out and exercise their right to suffrage in order to elect honest and deserving officials.
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday maintained that the conduct of 2019 midterm elections remains fraud-free despite a report on a stolen ballot box in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez issued the statement after a certain Sam Zailon Esmael posted on social media last June 14 several photos showing a ballot box allegedly found submerged in floodwater.
Esmael, who ran but lost in 2019 mayoral race in Datu Salibo town, claimed in his post that the ballot box was found submerged in a flooded area behind the municipal office by a passerby who claimed to have been fishing in the floodwaters. He said this is evidence of fraud.
Based on Comelec records, Datu Salibo has 9,504 registered voters. Esmael only garnered a total of 273 votes out of the estimated 5,000 total votes cast.
“As mandated by law, custody of ballot boxes after election day is with the city of municipal treasurer of the locality. Ali A. Mamoribid, the municipal treasurer of Datu Salibo asserts the ballot box found allegedly submerged and abandoned had been stolen from the municipal office by still unidentified persons,” Jimenez said.
“Contrary to allegations made by Esmael and in the absence of any proof of fraud, Datu Salibo Election officer Mary Ann Marohombsar maintains that the conduct of the May 13 polls in her jurisdiction was fraud-free,” he added.
The poll official assured that Mamoribid is presently in close coordination with Marohombsar and the Comelec in the province of Maguindanao in aid of investigation being conducted by the Philippine National Police.
Comelec also called on the public to be cautious of “malicious” allegations and “unfounded” claims, which he said, may be intended to taint the integrity of the recently concluded 2019 midterm polls.
“Actions are now being taken to set the facts straight and hold to account those who are responsible,” Jimenez assured.
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019
Youth group, Millenials PH, has filed a petition with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to disqualify former National Youth Commission chairperson Ronald Cardema as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list.
According to Millenials PH, Cardema is already over the age limit to qualify as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list .
Based on their 17-page petition, Cardema is already 34 years old which is over the set age limit for the party-list representatives of the youth sector which is 25 to 30 years old.
“Makikita na may material misrepresentation talaga na nangyari and ang representation talaga ng Duterte Youth ay youth sector (There really is a material misrepresentation. The representation of the Duterte Youth is the youth sector),” according to Millenials PH Spokesperson Aunell Ross Angcos.
Former Comelec Chairman Atty. Sixto Brillantes Jr., who accompanied the youth group to file the petition said Comelec should withhold Cardema’s certificate of proclamation.
“Dapat matanggal na muna ito at pumalit na ang tunay, iyong legitimate. Kaya kami pumirma rito. Willing kami i-prosecute ito diretso dito sa Comelec hanggang sa Supreme Court kung kailangan (It should be withheld first and should be replaced with the legitimate [representative]. So we signed here. We are willing to prosecute this straight to Comelec up to the Supreme Court if needed),” he said.
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon previously said that the Duterte Youth party-list is registered as a youth sector party-list in the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, Cardema defended that Duterte Youth is registered as a party-list group to uplift the youth and professional sector which has no age limit.
Duterte Youth won one seat in Congress. However, five of the party-list nominees withdrew their nomination, including Cardema’s wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez.
The Comelec poll body is currently conducting a hearing for the petition against Cardema.—AAC (with reports from April Cenedoza)
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