June 14, 2024

The Cordillera made history for being the first region in the country to transmit 100 percent of election results to the National Board of Canvassers.

The regional Commission on Elections reported the Cordillera transmitted the results by 9:30 p.m. of May 10, or 26 hours and 30 minutes after electoral boards began canvassing the election returns past 7 p.m. of May 9.

Notwithstanding the region’s terrain and some intermittent Internet signal in some towns, Comelec-Cordillera Assistant Director and spokesperson Vanessa Roncal attributed the speed of transmission to the improved technology employed by the Comelec and the Department of Information and Communication Technology.

Some sectors questioned the record speed by which the results have been transmitted insinuating that the process may have been manipulated through hacking.

Roncal said fast transmission and tabulation of results is the result of automation.

“We started (automated elections) in 2010, so, as every election progressed in 2013, 2016, 2019, and this year, we (Comelec) also improved the technology.”

Regional deputy spokesperson and concurrent election officer JP Martin share the same view.

While not an expert in computer information technology, Martin said in an interview in a local radio station that hacking is not possible with the speed by which results were transmitted.

Martin said hacking of results can only be done if the vote counting machines (VCM) are online.

During the casting of votes, the VCM were offline and only went online during the transmission which started after 7 p.m. To be able to hack into the system, it will take hours before hackers are able to enter the heavily encrypted system of the Comelec.

Martin said whoever is proclaimed, the public should respect the decision of the majority.

“This is the essence of a democracy,” Martin said.

Meanwhile, the Comelec reminded losing or winning candidates to submit their statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) on or before June 8.

Republic Act 7166 or the Synchronized National and Local Elections Act provides that a winning candidate will not be allowed assume the duties of his office until he has filed the SOCE.

A discretionary administrative fine of P2,000 to P60,000 and perpetual disqualification to hold public office are the penalties for failure to submit a SOCE.

In March, the Comelec issued a resolution perpetually disqualifying perennial Baguio candidate Jeffrey Pinic from holding public office for his repeated failure to submit a SOCE. The over 300 votes cast for Pinic in the recent election were considered stray. – Rimaliza A. Opiña