NBI assures safeguards against hacking of automated election system
Marje Pelayo • April 29, 2019 • 1912
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)
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting an influx of ‘last-minute’ registrants at the voter registration for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Comelec will officially close the voter registration at 5:00 p.m. on Monday (September 30). Comelec Spokesperson Dir. James Jimenez said their office is prepared to handle the number of registrants.
“An influx of registrants is to be expected. The COMELEC has anticipated this, and we are confident that our employees in the field are prepared to handle the last-day registration scenario,” he said.
Based on Comelec Resolution 10549, Comelec will implement the following protocol for the last day of voter registration.
If there are still applicants lined up to register within the thirty (30) meter radius from the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) by 3:00 P.M. of September 30, 2019, their names will be promptly and consecutively listed down.
Each name will be announced repeatedly three (3) times in the order in which the applicants’ names were listed. Applicants who are not present when their names are called shall no longer be allowed to file their application.
When an applicant’s name is called and he/she is present, his/her application will be processed and his/her biometrics data will be captured. The process continues until all those listed shall have been processed.
An Express Lane is provided for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and Heavily Pregnant Applicants.
There are around 2.6 million registered voters in the country as of August 1 this year, according to Comelec’s data.—AAC
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday (Sept. 16) asked, during the Senate budget hearing, for a P9.8-Billion budget for 2020.
The poll body said this will cover the P5.77-Billion budget for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE), which they have been preparing for despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous statement that he wants it postponed.
Comelec said Congress has to enact a law for the postponement of the BSKE.
“Ang pakiusap namin, your honor, is sana mapabilis iyong pagpasa ng batas otherwise we have no choice but to incur some expenses preparatory expenses especially so na tali po kami ng procurement law,” said Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas.
Comelec added that should the BSKE be postponed, they request for it not to be held close to the 2022 elections.
“If postponement happens it would be preferable if it would be one year before or one year after the May 2022 (elections). So, it could be either May 2021 or May 2023,” said Commissioner Antonio Kho, Jr.
The Senate budget hearing also focused on the low voter turn-out of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the last election.
Of the five million OFWs who are qualified to vote, only 1.8 million were registered and only 18% of which actually voted.
Comelec pointed out the inadequate information dissemination for voters and the distance of the voting centers in some countries as reasons for the low voter turn-out. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.
Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.
The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.
The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.
Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.
Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.
Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.
The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.
However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.
Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.
Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo
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