THE camp of losing vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday blasted the Commission on Elections [Comelec] and the Bureau of Immigration for doing nothing to stop a Smartmatic employee facing charges in court from leaving the country.
Marcos’ political campaign adviser Abakada Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz said he was angry after he learned during Friday’s preliminary investigation of the case at the Manila Prosecutor’s Office that one of the respondents, Smartmatic’s Mauricio Herrera, had already left the country and is now in his home country of Panama.
Herrera flew to Panama despite Smartmatic’s earlier assurances that none of the respondents had plans to leave the Philippines.
Dela Cruz, who filed the complaint against Smartmatic and Comelec officials for violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act, demanded answers from the poll body and the bureau for their failure to put Herrera and other respondents on the Immigration watchlist.
Earlier, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon called for the issuance of a hold departure order against the respondents after she learned that one a Smartmatic technician had inserted an unauthorized script into the transparency server that was used to count and post unofficial results from the May 9 elections.
Dela Cruz noted that until now, neither the Comelec nor the Bureau of Immigration has acted on the request for a hold departure order against the respondents.
The other respondents in the case, namely Smartmatic personnel Marlon Garcia, a Venezuelan national and head of the technical support team; Elie Moreno, an Israeli national and project director and Neil Banigued, member of the technical support team; and Comelec IT experts led by Rouie Peñalba, Nelson Herrera and Frances Mae Gonzalez were present in the proceedings and submitted their respective counter-affidavits.
The respondents were charged with violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which prohibits “intentionally altering computer data, without right and altering and interfering with the functioning of a computer and computer network by inputting, deleting and altering computer data and program, without right or authority.”
Dela Cruz pointed out that shortly after the unauthorized alteration of the script of the transparency server, the lead of Marcos over his closest rival started to taper at a uniform rate, which experts said was close to being statistically impossible, until his lead was eventually overtaken.
Marcos is set to file an election protest before the end of the month.
The next hearing on the case is scheduled for July 4 when the camp of Marcos is expected to file their reply to the counter-affidavits of the respondents.
Dela Cruz said he had a strong case against the respondents, since Garcia has admitted to altering the script without permission from the Comelec en banc.