A GROUP of information technology experts hired by the Aquino administration revealed Sunday that at least 30 consolidated counting servers that tabulate results to generate the official Certificates of Canvass had been shipped to Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where these were “fixed” to rig the results.
Some 2.65-million votes were generated for four contested provinces, including the vote-rich Davao del Sur and Pangasinan, which could make or break the vice presidential race, the IT experts said.
Calling themselves MM, a group of IT experts assigned to the Comelec National Technical Support Center in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, said the 30 servers were shipped and airlifted to the warehouse starting at 5 p.m. of May 9, shortly after the polls closed.
“Nobody knew where we are. It was not open to the public. So while everyone wasn’t looking, we have recorded at least 30 CCS servers from different municipalities and provinces that were shipped to us to open them... and introduce new scripts because they said these servers failed to boot,” one
of the IT experts, who requested anonymity, told The Standard in an interview Sunday.
The IT experts would not say who benefited from the rigging, but said incoming president Rodrigo Duterte was “safe” because of his big margin over the other candidates.
They added, however, that the 2.65-million votes could affect the vice presidential race, and that there would be a discrepancy between the unofficial count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the statement of votes that make up the official tally of CoCs.
“The result would be crucial for Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who ran as independent, or Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo of the ruling Liberal Party since the vice presidential race remains tight and unresolved,” one of the experts said.
To aggravate the problem, the experts said, there were municipal and provincial canvassing machines that already had votes in them.
“Right after the boot up, the machines displayed there were already votes even though there were no transmissions yet. These were brought to us in Laguna to be reconfigured,” the IT source said.
At the restricted NTSC, the IT source said their group was able to find that the votes during the mock polls undertaken by the Comelec in March and April were carried by the consolidated counting servers.
“The mock poll results should have been erased and zeroed out. No. They were there and these were among those that were tabulated in addition to the tabulation of election returns or ERs that were posted on the statement of votes or SOVs that finally generated an official CoC,” the IT source said.
The IT source said the mock polls generated two-million votes, but the reconfiguration did not include the order to “zero out” the mock polls results.
On Wednesday when the House and Senate constitutes itself into a national board of canvassers, the senators and congressmen will find that the total figures from the transparency server “will not match with the official COCs,” the experts said.
“The only way to settle the issue of cheating is to subject these now questionable 30 CCS servers and the automated election system to an independent forensic examination before the national canvassing begins on Wednesday,” one of the sources said.
After these servers had been “fixed” in Laguna, these were shipped back to the municipalities and provinces to enable them to transmit the tabulated results and proclaim winners, they said.
The areas with “problematic” consolidated counting servers failed to proclaim winners three hours after the voting closed on May 9, the source said.
“What the Comelec and Smartmatic made us do was irregular and illegal,” the IT expert said.
“While we have signed a non-disclosure agreement, we also did not want to be accessories and party to the crime. If Congress would grant us our right against self-incrimination and make possible the waiving of our non-disclosure agreement, we are only too willing to come out in the open and disclose the truth,” the IT expert said.
They said their group was hired as contractor by the Comelec and Smartmatic to man the NTSC that was not accessible to the public while the Smartmatic hired contractors nationwide to assist when the Vote Counting Machines or VCMs and the consolidated counting servers would face trouble.
“We were told that the Smartmatic contractors in various provinces were swamped with complaints of defective VCMs and CCS and so they all walked out because they cannot handle the job,” the IT expert said.
“However, instead of the Comelec releasing the standby units, the poll body issued an order to recall the consolidated counting servers and brought them to us in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. We had no choice but to accept them,” the IT expert said.
“The recall order was issued by Comelec lawyer Jose Tolentino,” the source said.
The sources said the crime committed by the Comelec and Smartmatic was electoral sabotage and that they did not want to be party to such a serious crime.
The source explained that under the Comelec en banc resolution, should the consolidated counting servers fail to boot, these would be immediately replaced by standby units readily available in the area.
“The standby units remained intact. They were untouched. The Comelec and Smartmatic went out of their way to mount shipping and airlifting operations that were not only costly but also unnecessary considering the availability of standby units,” the source said.
Of the 30 consolidated counting servers that were allegedly found “defective,” 26 were from municipalities and four were from provinces.
“The consolidated counting servers is a laptop that was turned into a server. The Comelec and Smartmatic told us that the servers failed to boot so these failed to receive the transmission coming from the VCM,” the IT source said. “Who knows what else happened in between those trips for the laptops back and forth.”
The CoCs will be the basis of the senators and congressmen for the final and official results in the national canvassing. The results for the votes for president and vice president are contained in one CoC.
“Now, there are already 2.65 million questionable votes and on top of that, there is a total of two million more that were padded on the total results,” the IT source said. “So we have here a total of 4.65 million votes that could spell who would be the next vice president.”
Meanwhile, Senator Sergio Osmeña III said votes obtained by at least eight senators were padded by 6 percent to 10 percent following the “sale of votes” by Comelec insiders that he called “Garci boys,” referring to the “Hello Garci” scandal in 2004.
He said he hoped the Justice Department would investigate the matter, but refused to identify the senators involved.
Also on Sunday, the Marcos camp said it hoped the Comelec would allow a system audit of the transparency and central servers of the Automated Election System before the start of official canvassing on Wednesday.
Lawyer Jose Amor Amorado, chief of Marcos’ quick count center, said they are confident the Comelec would agree to such an audit. With Macon Ramos Araneta