By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor

MANILA – By his latest statements coupled with his actions, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia virtually confirmed that massive cheating took place in last year’s presidential polls.

So says former Cabinet secretary Eliseo Rio Jr, who presented to media late last month what he says is further proof that the results of the elections showing Ferdinand Marcos Jr beating Leni Robredo for the presidency were invalid.

(See related story inside.)

Rio, a retired Armed Forces of the Philippines general whom former president Rodrigo Duterte appointed as Information and Communications Technology secretary, had been requesting the Comelec to release to his camp  the transmission logs of the results of the 2022 polls.

There was “something” in the results of that bothered Rio from a technical standpoint. He was not alone. IT experts also raised doubts over the unbelievably fast count of the votes, much faster than even the vote count in US presidential elections.

Last week, Rio raised a point that had not been addressed before.

Why did thousands of Vote Counting Machines use just one IP (internet protocol) address during the May 2022 elections? As a technical man, Rio explained that “it defies a technical principle in IP networking that in a Single Private Network, there can only be ONE IP address for each device in it.”

That IP address is and does not belong to any of the three telcos, Globe, Smart/PLDT, or DITO. Instead, it was unlawful “man-in-the-middle” router/server.

Garcia replied in the vernacular, saying that there is no legal requirement that different or similar IP addresses could be shared by one modem.

There is, he added, “no effect” and no difference in the accuracy, legitimacy, and functionality of the transmission.

Rio replied that this was only true “from a lawyer’s perspective.”

Rio concluded: “The fact that Comelec now admits that thousands of VCMs used just one IP address actually is proof enough that the 2022 election was rigged.”

Earlier explanations by the retired general bear this out.

Within one hour after the polling places closed, it was announced that Marcos Jr. had established an insurmountable lead over Robredo.

The key, as far as Rio was concerned, was in the transmission logs and the Comelec finally agreed to release those logs to the retired Science and Technology secretary after more than 200 days.

On March 20 of this year, the poll body told Rio and company to head for the Comelec’s head office in Manila on March 23 to pick up the transmission logs.

Rio along with fellow retired AFP officer Leonardo Odono did as they were asked. Odono, a former colonel, is part of the group of IT experts led by Rio collectively known as the TNT group.

The retired officers are now saying that Comelec chief Garcia had tried to pull a fast one over them. What they were given were not transmission logs, but reception logs.

The reception logs only showed what was received, not what was transmitted. Rio and Odono raised the prospect of the reception logs receiving false data.

In a letter that was made available to local media, Odono pointed out that the Comelec head himself had announced during a forum at the Ateneo de Manila University late last year that the poll body was able to count 12 million votes within the first hour after polls closed. In another presentation, however, the Comelec head said they were able to produce the results of 20 million votes.

The eight million vote discrepancy has never been explained by the Comelec.

Perhaps it was due to “software flaws?” Odono asked.

The nearly useless reception logs only gathered data from Vote Counting Machines, which transmitted alleged results to a central server.

He reminded the public that Namfrel (the National Movement for Free Elections) had warned of the possibility of cheating in the run-up to the elections.

A banker and IT expert, Franklin Isaac, backstopped the “TNTrio” – another name of Rio’s group coined by a growing number of believers – and its conclusion that there were “gross violations of the conduct of the May election.”

Isaac is also former president of the Finance Executives Institute or Finex. The third member of the TNTrio aside from Rio and Isaac is yet another techie, Gus Lagman. Odono has joined some of their activities not as a former military man, he says, but as a Filipino.

If Garcia and his Comelec commissioners cannot prove TNTRio’s conclusion is wrong, “then somebody is guilty of rigging the election,” says Isaac.

Respected columnist Jarius Bondoc said it best when he said the flood of 20-million plus votes within the first hour of voting was a barrage that “shocked (and) awed us to silence” and into submission.

The millions who attended the Leni Robredo rallies could not believe that Marcos Jr – whose rallies were usually sparsely attended by participants expecting free food and P500 gifts – had won.

Garcia is not expected to give further data which could be of use to Rio. Garcia was, after all, the election lawyer of Marcos Jr. who went on to appoint the former to head the poll body after the latter was “elected” president of the Philippines.