Duterte to ensure ‘clean, fair’ elections: Palace

Duterte to ensure ‘clean, fair’ elections: Palace

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will make sure that the May 9, 2022 national and local elections will be free of cheating, Malacañang assured the public on Friday.

This, after senators bared Thursday the supposed “breach” in the system of Smartmatic Inc., the service provider of the automated election software for the country’s upcoming elections.

Gagawin lahat ng ating Pangulong Duterte na maging clean, fair at honest election (President Duterte will do everything to ensure clean, fair, and honest elections),” acting Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said during his “Ask Me Anything, Anywhere” segment aired on his Facebook page.

Andanar said Duterte has directed his Cabinet, as well the teachers serving as poll workers in the May 9 elections, to protect the integrity of elections.

Senator Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, the chairperson of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on the Automated Election System, said an unidentified Smartmatic employee allowed a hackers’ group to copy the confidential election data.

Marcos learned about the security breach during the JCOC’s executive session with some Comelec officials on Thursday morning.

Marcos, whose brother Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is vying for the country’s top post, raised alarm over the “very serious” security breach, considering the “degree, depth, and breadth of data” that has been released and made available to the public.

Despite Marcos’ allegations, the Comelec maintained Thursday that the automated election system was not hacked.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez expressed confidence that the hacking claims would not affect the election results.

The congressional inquiry was conducted after local newspaper Manila Bulletin reported in January that Comelec’s servers were hacked.

According to a Manila Bulletin report, a group of hackers managed to download over 60 gigabytes (Gb) of data that could compromise the May 9 elections.

Confidential files that were leaked include network diagrams, IP addresses, a list of all privileged users, domain admin credentials, access to the ballot handling dashboard, and QR code captures of the bureau of canvassers with login and password, the report said.

In February, Duterte instructed the police and the military to ensure orderly, clean, and peaceful elections nationwide. (PNA)

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