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Source code has been reviewed but we won’t show it–Brillantes

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Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.: We have the source code. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Monday sought to allay concerns triggered by a previous announcement that the agency was doing away with the review of the source code for the automated voting machines to be used in the May 13 elections.

Brillantes said the Comelec had the source code, which had been properly reviewed by a third-party information technology (IT) firm, SLI Global Solutions, even if its certification papers had yet to be released by the code’s owner, Dominion Voting Systems.

The only thing the Comelec would not be able to do is make the source code available to political parties and other interested groups for their own review, Brillantes said.

“The review by political parties and interested groups is not a mandatory requirement to validate the elections. Otherwise, we give people like CenPeg [and] political parties the authority to determine whether we should have elections or not,” said the Comelec chief.

He said he partly agreed with the civil society group Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPeg) when it claimed that the lack of the source code could nullify the results of the elections.

“If there is no source code, yes, the elections will be null and void. But the problem is, we have the source code. Who says there is no source code?” he said.

A source code is a collection of program instructions in their original form that is translated into machine language, the language that the computer understands.

Earlier, Brillantes said the Comelec was giving up on efforts to secure the source code from Dominion, citing lack of time.

Dominion and its ex-corporate partner, Smartmatic, have yet to reach an agreement on the release of the source code’s certification papers despite the Comelec’s mediation efforts.

Brillantes has also stressed that the source code and its review was not necessary in terms of conducting the elections but was more for the purpose of removing the doubt of stakeholders.

Over the weekend, CenPeg urged voters and poll watchers to prepare for any contingency as it warned that the automation system to be used in the elections could spark questions on its credibility and legality.

The group said the absence of a source code review and the lack of a license for using the system, among other concerns, would not only revive the technical glitches of May 2010 but also create legal grounds to question the legitimacy of the coming elections.

“We have a source code reviewed by the third-party certifier and counterchecked by the technical evaluation committee. We completed it… that is the requirement and the elections will go on,” Brillantes said.

“I think the people talking now… all of them are not lawyers. I’m a lawyer. That’s why I don’t talk with them anymore since we are talking of legal issues here, the legality of the elections. This is no longer about [information technology],” he said.

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