THE transparency server from which the partial and unofficial count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting had been breached and gave out corrupted results favoring administration vice presidential bet Leni Robredo, the camp of vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.
For this reason, lawyers for the Marcos camp have demanded a stop to the PPCRV count so as not to sow confusion and mislead the public.
“We received the unsettling information that at past 7:30 p.m. on 9 May 2016, Election Day, a new script or computer command was introduced to the transparency server—the very same server from which the PPCRV obtains its data for the quick count. Apparently, the execution of this computer command was able to alter the hash codes of the packet data,” said lawyer Francesca Huang, a member of Marcos’ legal team, during a press conference Wednesday.
Huang explained the introduction of this new script was “suspect” as it was after this time that Marcos’ lead over Robredo started to erode in a distinctive pattern.
PPCRV’s Henrietta de Villa immediately denied there was a breach and insisted the transparency server was “safe and secure.”
“We have received no report from our IT group of such a breach. No official report or complaint was given to us. Our security is safe. There is no breach,” De Villa told The Standard.
“The partial and unofficial quick-count of the PPCRV is telling us that more than 95 percent of the clustered precincts have transmitted election returns to the transparency server. This quick count showed us that Senator Marcos’ substantial lead in the votes began to erode about 9 p.m. of 9 May 2016, and that Representative Robredo maintained her lead since around 3 a.m. of 10 May 2016,” Huang said.
The Marcos camp manifested its continuing reservations about the PPCRV quick count.
“We are rather perplexed as to how the PPCRV quick count reached over 95 percent of the total clustered precincts, and 100 percent in certain provinces or cities. We have confirmed that a number of clustered precincts or vote counting machines or VCMs were unable to transmit to the local board of canvassers in certain provinces or cities,” Huang said.
Marcos told his supporters and even non-supporters who want an honest election, to remain calm, but vigilant, and refrain from taking actions that would only ignite violence, hurt people, destroy property, and disturb the normal day-to-day activities of ordinary people.
He said his lawyers were thoroughly monitoring and carefully studying the situation to come up with the proper legal moves.
“You can be assured that we will investigate everything and that the truth will come out,” he said in Filipino.
Marcos said that in the unofficial count shown on television, his numbers were going up since 10 p.m. Monday at a reasonable rate, but after an hour, the numbers began to decrease at a regular rate of between 1 to 2 percent every succeeding update.
“What was even more puzzling was that the drop in my lead began after Comelec had said there was a glitch that delayed the updates of the transmitted votes in the transparency server,” Marcos said.
De Villa said the PPCRV could not stop the counting because the Commission on Elections has not told them to do so despite official request from the Marcos camp.
“Yes we received their request but it is up to the Comelec to decide if they wanted us to stop. There is no word from the Comelec,” De Villa told The Standard.
“Apparently, the execution of this computer command was able to alter the hash codes of the packet data,” Huang said.
“The introduction of the new script made us believe that the results had been corrupted and it is incumbent upon the Comelec to order a stop to the partial and unofficial counting,” Marcos’ political campaign adviser Abakada Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz said.
But neither Huang nor Dela Cruz could expound on the hash code or the nature of the data that were allegedly altered, saying that their technical team were still closely studying the matter.
Huang and Dela Cruz said an accredited observer in the PPCRV quick count headquarters was the one who witnessed the introduction of the supposed new script.
Huang also cast doubt on the ongoing quick count of the Comelec and PPCRV, which shows that over 95 percent of votes have already been counted as of Wednesday afternoon.
Huang pointed out that several clustered precincts have yet to transmit vote results from their VCMs.
“We have always been of the understanding, as the Comelec has never indicated the contrary, that the transparency server could only receive data or election returns from the VCMs. In this regard, we are rather perplexed as to how the PPCRV quick count reached over 95 percent of the total clustered precincts, and 100 percent in certain provinces or cities,” Huang said.
“We have confirmed that a number of clustered precincts or VCMs were unable to transmit to the local board of canvassers in certain provinces or cities,” Huang said.
Huang pointed out that several clustered precincts have yet to transmit vote results from their VCMs.
Dela Cruz said after the breach, Robredo eventually took the lead over Marcos and continued to lead by more or less 200,000 votes as of Wednesday afternoon based on the partial, unofficial tally.
Huang said their camp had already sent a letter of clarification to the Commission on Elections on Wednesday afternoon to demand an explanation over the supposed incident.
“Did Comelec know about the introduction of this new script? How does the new script affect the data and data reception of the transparency server? The public deserves to find out,” Huang said.
“How were the data or election returns from these affected clustered precincts or VCMs uploaded to the transparency server? Does this mean that data could be uploaded to the transparency server through other means of which we do not know about? We hope the Comelec enlightens the public on this matter,” Huang said.
“In this hotly contested vice presidential race marred by conflicting unofficial results and even reports of irregularities, Senator Marcos calls on his supporters and the public to maintain calm and sobriety, and to await the results of the official canvass. While we await these official results, he appeals for vigilance so that, ultimately, whoever may be proclaimed as winners, the true voice of the Filipino people will prevail,” Huang said.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they have yet to get details about Marcos’ allegation.
Dela Cruz insisted the results of the exit polls in all areas nationwide show that Marcos won the vice presidential race.
Second, he said, the overseas absentee votes have yet to be fully accounted for.
The quick-count tally so far reflects only 19 percent of these votes, he said.
“We are confident of the results in this sector because we were able to confirm that Senator Marcos garnered a significant number of votes from our overseas Filipino workers,” he said.
The introduction of the new script prompted Marcos’ presidential running mate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to accuse the administration of “manufacturing numbers” in a bid to mislead the people into believing a supposed last-minute surge in the popularity of administration candidate.
“The roller coaster ride of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. invites comparison with a garrison state. In such a state, the authoritarian government feels free to manufacture numbers as they are needed,” Santiago said in a statement sent to reporters.
Santiago specifically cited the sudden surge of Robredo in the poll surveys a few days before the May 9 elections.
“I find it astounding that Marcos should have led in the vice presidential surveys for many months, until the penultimate month, when suddenly the administration could jump up survey results to finally overtake him,” Santiago said.
“This is an eventuality that will cause the peoples of the democratic world to shake their heads and question the values of the society it produced,” Santiago added.
The Palace denied Santiago’s allegations.
Marcos had been topping pre-election surveys of Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia for the last two months until Robredo overtook Marcos in the rankings by two percentage points in a Pulse Asia survey commissioned by ABS-CBN released on May 4.
Marcos, however, regained the lead in a Pulse Asia survey released on May 7 but only by a point from Robredo, which put the two in a statistical tie for the top spot.
Marcos on Friday last week said there is a possibility that the pre-election surveys are being manipulated to establish a fake trend as part of the administration’s plan of securing Robredo’s victory at all costs.
Marcos said this was in line with the administration’s plan of having the winning presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ousted through impeachment and replaced by Robredo.
On Tuesday, Marcos said the alleged “Plan B” was in full swing.
“We all know Miriam for her intelligence, integrity, independence and courage. And so when she speaks, we should listen,” Marcos said as he thanked his running mate.
Marcos maintained that the alleged manipulation of pre-election surveys is a prelude to the administration’s supposed plan of rigging the results of the elections.
“As we warned earlier, this could be part of a plot to mask efforts to rig election results,” Marcos said.
“The results of the ongoing unofficial quick count for the vice presidential race, which ran counter to independent exit polls and our internal surveys, give substance to our concern,” he said.
At the same time, Marcos urged his supporters to stay calm after calls for protests mounted over social media networks.
The PPCRV said Wednesday that at least 170 polling precincts in Region I or the Ilocos region—a Marcos bailiwick, and Region V or Bicol, Robredo’s bailiwick, have yet to transmit their votes.
In an interview, PPCRV media director Anna de Villa Singson said that 12 precincts in Ilocos Sur and 15 in in Ilocos Norte have yet to transmit their votes, while in Pangasinan, there are still 70 out of the 2,842 precincts that have not yet transmitted their vote counts.
In Bicol region, there are still 243 out of the 5,695 precincts that have not yet transmitted their votes, the PPCRV said.
Singson said that the precincts are in Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Sorsogon, Robredo’s turf.
However, Singson could not give the exact number of votes expected from these precincts, and would only say that the Ilocos and Bicol regions have an equal density of voters.
The PPCRV officials aid this could change the standings of both Marcos and Robredo.
She denied that there was any plot to establish a trend to show Robredo was winning.
Also on Wednesday, the Kontra Daya watchdog group said there were five instances in Manila where voters shaded the name of Duterte on their ballots, but where the VCMs counted these for administration candidate Manuel Roxas II.
Kontra Daya said this showed that problems that have affected elections for years continue, from vote buying and disenfranchisement to malfunctioning vote counting machines.
In San Lorenzo, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, a vote for Marcos went to his rival, Senator Gregorio Honasan.
There were also three incidents where the machines did not recognize the vote for senatorial candidate and incumbent Bayan Muna Party List Rep. Neri Colmenares in Manila and Amulung, Cagayan.
Kontra Daya’s report came amid allegations by Marcos that the ruling Liberal Party is manipulating results of the elections so the Liberal Party will still have control of the Palace, once it ousts Duterte by impeachment.
Other incidents of VCMs malfunctioning dealt with rejected ballots, paper jams, overheating and machine shutdowns. With Joel E. Zurbano, Sandy Araneta, Vito Barcelo, Macon Ramos-AranetaLATEST UPDATE : Evidence show breach in transparency server to “rig” results
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