Comelec probers clear Smartmatic
An investigation team of the Commission on Elections has recommended that Smartmatic be cleared in the controversial alteration of the programming scripts in the May 2016 national and local polls.
The probe team’s proposal was for the automated elections service provider to be paid in full after concluding that there were no violations committed when “cosmetic changes” were introduced on May 9.
“With the aforesaid findings, the payment of our contractual obligations and retention fees with Smartmatic as provided in the automated election system contracts should proceed,” its 13-page report read.
The report dated July 25 was signed by law department chief Maria Norina Tangaro-Casingal and personnel department chief Margaret Ching.
The Comelec en banc is still deliberating the recommendations of the investigation report.
The incident happened in the evening of May 9 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center where the transparency server of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting was located.
The poll body created a fact-finding team to probe the alleged unauthorized change of the programming script and the hash code of the transparency server by Smartmatic project manager Marlon Garcia.
This was done to introduce mere “cosmetic” changes to the system by substituting the letter “ñ” for the “?” character which was reflected in the names of some candidates, according to the technology provider.