Imee Marcos' Smartmatic security breach claim sparks concerns, doubts among candidates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) — Senator Imee Marcos' claim there had been a serious security breach in the operations of elections software provider Smartmatic has received mixed reactions from candidates.

While some raised concerns over the senator's allegation, others questioned the motive for her revelation.

In a statement, presidential candidate Senator Manny Pacquiao said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should maintain its integrity and of the 2022 elections. He added that the poll body should implement protections to prevent any breach - especially on the vote counting machines.

For vice presidential bet Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the issue should be taken seriously. She said her political party, Lakas-CMD, is already looking into the security breach issue.

Another vice presidential candidate, Senate President Tito Sotto, expressed concern - noting that "Comelec is tasked to ensure that the results of the elections are not tainted with doubt and especially, that the conduct of the electoral exercise was not attended by anomalies."

Sotto also said the Senate should investigate the matter, and recommended that Comelec implement increased transparency and vote security measures.

Meanwhile, the tandem of Leody de Guzman and Walden Bello questioned Marcos' claim.

"Parang gustong palabasin na sila ay pinagpaplanuhang dayain. Baka naman yan ay in reverse kaya maging mapagbantay tayong lahat dito sa move ng mga political dynasties at trapo sa eleksyong ito," presidential candidate De Guzman told reporters.

[Translation: It seems they want to show they are being planned to be cheated on. Maybe it's the other way around so we need to be vigilant with the moves of these political dynasties and traditional politicians in these elections.]

Bello also warned members of the media against Marcos' revelation.

"But if Imee Marcos says something talagang (really) you need to think twice, thrice, four times before you accept whether it's true or not. Why is she saying it? Meron bang personal interest dyan (Is there personal interest there)?" the vice presidential bet said.