Manila Bulletin

Malacañang mum on poll sabotage

- By MADEL SABATER-NAMIT and SA­MUEL P. ME­DE­NILLA Politics · Philippines · Commission on Elections · Beijing · Taiwan · Smartmatic · Telecom Italia · AES Corporation

Malacañang said yesterday it will be up to the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Comelec) to ex­plain the al­leged at­tempt by China to sabotage the 2016 elec­tions.

Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Oper­a­tions Of­fice (PCOO) Sec­re­tary Her­minio Coloma Jr. asked the Comelec to ex­plain on the mat­ter.

“It is best that Comelec ex­plain this mat­ter as we have no in­for­ma­tion on the point men­tioned by Com­mis­sioner (Chris­tian Robert) Lim in the House hear­ing,” Coloma said.

Re­ports re­vealed that Comelec has re­ceived ini­tial re­ports that China is al­legedly plan­ning to sabotage the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, which is why the Comelec has trans­ferred the man­u­fac­ture of the Precinct Count Op­ti­cal Scan (PCOS) ma­chines from China to Tai­wan.

There is cur­rently an on­go­ing ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute be­tween the Philip­pines and China. The dis­pute has been el­e­vated to the In­ter­na­tional Tri­bunal.

No ex­tra cost The gov­ern­ment will not shell out a sin­gle cen­tavo for the trans­fer of the man­u­fac­tur­ing of the op­ti­cal ma­chine reader (OMR), which will be used for the 2016 elec­tions, from China to Tai­wan.

Smart­matic-To­tal In­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment (TIM) Cor­po­ra­tion dis­closed it will spend around 400 mil­lion to re­lo­cate the pro­duc­tion of the OMRs in com­pli­ance to the re­quest of Comelec.

“We have agreed to the said re­quest de­spite the fact that such a trans­fer will force us to shoul­der an ad­di­tional cost amount­ing to 5% of the to­tal con­tract price,” Smart­matic Pres­i­dent for Asi­aPa­cific Ce­sar Flores said.

Source code re­view Mean­while, groups in­ter­ested to re­view the source code to be used for the au­to­mated 2016 elec­tion, will have un­til next week to file their ac­cred­i­ta­tion with the Comelec.

The poll body dis­closed only reg­is­tered par­ties will be al­lowed to scru­ti­nize the elec­tronic in­struc­tions of the au­to­mated elec­tion sys­tem (AES) in the polls next year.

“The writ­ten re­quest shall be filed not later than 22 Septem­ber 2015 dur­ing the reg­u­lar of­fice hours at the Of­fice of Com­mis­sioner Robert S. Lim, Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions,” a res­o­lu­tion pro­mul­gated last Mon­day said.

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