Groups call for credible elections, seek Smartmatic disqualification

MANILA — Groups led by former Information and Communications Technoogy Secretary Eliseo Rio have renewed calls for a transparent and credible system for the 2025 midterm elections by disqualifying technology provider Smartmatic for alleged irregularities in past general elections.

“Ang immediate action ay ma-disqualify, hindi natin magamit ang Smartmatic sa future elections natin. Yun ay pwedeng magawa kaagad,” said Rio who earlier had questioned the last presidential election.

Rio was one of three petitioners who earlier asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to review the qualifications of Smartmatic, citing reported irregularities between the transmission logs and reception logs of election returns from the precinct level to the Comelec’s transparency server.
Rio was backed by the People’s Movement for Truth, Justice, and Reforms, Kontra Daya and the Computer Professionals’ Union.The groups. at the same time, called for a hybrid election — manual voting and counting on the precinct level, automated transmission — to ensure transparency.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel backed the clamor of the groups to seek answers to the supposed irregularities.

Last week, the Makabayan bloc filed a resolution in the House of Representatives seeking an inquiry into the evidence presented by Rio.

The Comelec earlier said it will use a new automated election system in 2025, and ditch the over 90,000 vote counting machines purchased from Smartmatic.

On the call to disqualify Smartmatic, Comelec spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said the poll body will refer the petition to its law department.

Rio reiterated his challenge to Comelec to provide him transmission logs since he was only given reception logs.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia earlier said the new modems the commission purchased had a common IP address.

He said the ‘true’ transmission logs are critical to check if the use of a single, private IP (internet protocol) address did not affect poll results.

Comelec earlier stood firm that what was uploaded on its site and gave to Rio’s group were the May 9 transmission logs.

“Doon sa raw files doon namin nakita yung IP address na nagpadala ng election returns natin. Doon kami nagtaka bakit yung IP address ay private,” Rio explained.

“Ibig sabihin itong mga natanggap ng transparency server, ay nasa isang local area network or private network na ang may-ari ay Comelec.” he said.

IT experts found a bulk of vote counting machines in Metro Manila, Cavite and Batangas transmitted election results using the IP address.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia earlier said the new modems the commission purchased had a common IP address.

He said using a single IP address is not illegal, noting that the results were accurate.

The random manual audit of votes showed 99.95% accuracy.