THE camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday criticized the Commission on Elections for not opening the contents of the secure digital or SD cards retrieved from supposedly unused Vote Counting Machines.
“If Comelec was really in command of the May 2016 elections, why can’t it open the supposedly unused or stand by SD cards from the past election?” said Marcos’ legal counsel Victor Rodriguez.
Decryption is a term used in information technology to open data that were previously encrypted to conceal their contents and to prevent them from being tampered with. Only a person or a machine with a matching digital key can decrypt data.
“For us, this is quite disheartening and highly irregular. The process of decrypting SD cards have been done so many times in the past, so now we’re wondering why Comelec can’t seem to do it now,” said Rodriguez said.
He said one explanation could be that the Comelec and its election partner, software provider Smartmatic Corp., did a sloppy job on the tool that was supposed to decrypt the data.
“Second, the SD cards could contain software that is different than the authorized one, and third, that the SD card was tampered with,” Rodriguez said.
“Any of the reasons raised are a clear violation of our election laws. Comelec should answer these questions because they cast doubt on the credibility of the elections.”
During the decryption last Monday, a Smartmatic representative told the camp of Marcos that they used the Linux operating system in formatting the SD cards.
“However, in one of the cards, they found a program that could only appear when using the Windows Operating System and not Linux as maintained by Smartmatic. This could mean that the SD card that was supposedly unused or the standby could have been tampered with,” Rodriguez said.
The Comelec was supposed to conduct the decryption of 13 SD cards found to have data. The 13 were part of the original 127 SD cards set aside during the stripping of 1,356 unused VCMs last October after data were found in them.
The other SD cards were not included in the decryption because they were excluded by the Senate Electoral Tribunal on the motion of former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino due to his election protest before the Tribunal.
Because of these discrepancies, the representative from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal decided it would be prudent to postpone the decryption to enable all the parties to come up with a solution on how to remedy the situation with the approval from the tribunal itself.
“Everyone knows that the SD cards from an unused VCM should be empty. The fact that the SD cards were proven to contain data in them bolsters our position that theresomething fishy going on, Rodriguez said.
He said the data in the SD Cards also supported their contention that the VCMs should not have been opened or stripped until after the conclusion of Marcos’ election protest.
He said because data were found in many of the SD cards that were retrieved from supposedly unused VCMs, that was proof that fraud had been committed in the last elections.
“How can more than 120 SD cards have data in them when they came from VCMs kits that were not used? This is highly questionable,” Rodriquez said. “This also supports our contention that the VCMs should be preserved until the election protest is concluded in the PET because they represent an important aspect in the protest.”
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said earlier that the SD cards might contain data but that did not necessarily mean those were used for cheating. He said the SD cards might have data because the VCMs were tested before the elections.
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