IT experts urge Comelec to replace Smartmaric, shift to hybrid elections system

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 3) — Information technology experts on Thursday urged the Commission on Elections to replace Smartmatic as the latter’s technology provider and to shift to a hybrid elections system in the 2025 polls.

“What I suggest instead is we employ a hybrid system,” National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) chairman Augusto Lagman said in a forum. “This system will entail manual precinct counting for transparency and automated canvassing for speed.”

Former Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Jr., who was one of the experts, said there are questions about the credibility of the May 9 elections because counting of votes at the precinct level was not transparent.

They claim that a closer look at the transmission data supposedly show a distinct pattern of votes for each presidential and vice presidential candidate.

“Makita niyo na naman na mayroon ulit yung tinatawag nating constant vote ratio, hindi lang sa vice president, kundi para sa president,” Rio said. “Itong lumabas ay smoking gun to a possible dayaan pero kung hindi tayo makasuri talaga sa mga balota na randomly pipiliin ng taumbayan, hindi natin masagot 'yan.”

Translation: You can see there is what we call constant vote ratio, not only in the vice president, but also in the president. This is a smoking gun to a possible cheating but if we cannot check the ballots randomly chosen by the public, we cannot confirm that.

While the experts denied insinuating that cheating happened, they said the poll body should tap a new technology provider to avoid questions about the credibility of the next elections.

They also urged Comelec to allow a citizen-led audit of SD cards to check if they have been programmed beforehand.

Lagman said participants of such should be allowed to select the areas to be audited for transparency instead of the Comelec doing it.

CNN Philippines' Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.