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Sen. Vicente Sotto III claims Smartmatic irregularities in 2016 polls.

In what could be considered a case of electoral sabotage, at least six candidates for national posts in the May 2016 elections benefited from manipulation of votes apparently done by Smartmatic, the service provider of the country's automated polls since 2010, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III bared yesterday.

Sotto sought to ban Smartmatic from participating again in next year's May senatorial and local elections and called for an inquiry into the alleged tampering of the 2016 presidential and senatorial elections.

But upon repeated questioning by his colleagues, Sotto declined to name the candidates who apparently benefitted from the early transmission of votes or how many votes were affected.

'What I am about to present to you may or may not be gospel truth but very accurate information and if these allegations are serious enough and are proven to be true after due investigation, then we have a case of electoral sabotage for the conduct of the 2016 elections,' Sotto said in his privilege speech.

'If we don't do anything to clear the doubts as to the legitimacy of the previous election, then we put at risk the accuracy of the 2019 elections,' he said.

He said he was deeply disturbed by the announcement of the members of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to purchase some 97,000 vote counting machines (VCMs) of Smartmatic for use in the May polls next year, given the numerous unresolved issues the firm was accused of in the past.

He said a 'concerned and impeccably reliable source' handed confidential information to him on alleged irregularities that altered the results of the 2016 elections.

The two main points of the information he received were that there was transmission of votes before the May 9, 2016 elections and the computers were remotely accessed from the US.

He explained that the Comelec at that time used two servers - CNTADNS, the main Domain Name Service (DNS) used by all VCMs, and Consolidated Canvassing System (CCS); and the CNTBDNS, used only by the queue servers from May 10 to 11.

The Comelec Board of Canvassers was supposed to convene at 3 p.m. of May 9 but transmission activity was already detected as early as the day before.

The transmission was being done by IP Address to as seen in logs of CNTADNS server.

Sotto showed slides, which indicated that was an IP address of a clustered VCM and was a CCS in Libon, Albay.

He said the early transmission activity continued until the morning of May 9 prior to the official conduct of the election. One slide showed 5801.ccs.pili2016pinas, the CCS of Angono, Rizal, receiving votes.

He said the same data, presumably votes, that were transmitted before the actual polls were later sent back to the central server and later counted by the National Board of Canvassers.

The senator said Smartmatic's standard answer would be that these transmissions are only 'testing transmissions.'

But he said these transmissions cannot be in any way claimed as 'testing transmissions' as the last official testing was made on April 23, 2016.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Mar 7, 2018
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