PRIVILEGE SPEECH: Senator Sotto bares ‘irregularities’ in 2016 polls, seeks probe

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday called for a Senate investigation on the alleged irregularities in the May 2016 national automated elections.

In a privilege speech, Sotto, citing information from an “impeccable” source, bared that a transmission activity was captured as early as May 8, 2016 — a day before the May 9 elections.

“The transmission is being done by IP Address to as seen in logs of SRVCNTADNS01 server which is an IP address of a clustered vote counting machine or precinct count optical scan,” he said.

He said it was later found out that was the Consolidated Canvassing System (CCS) of Libon municipality in Albay province, while 5801.ccs.pili2016pinas is the CCS of Angono, Rizal.

Sotto said the early transmission activity continued until morning of May 9, prior to the official conduct of the election.

“In summary, there has been an alleged early transmission of votes by certain VCMs to the Municipal Board of Canvassers,” he said, adding other incidents of early transmissions were also discovered in other areas.

He said his source mentioned that some senators received zero votes in areas where there were early transmission. He specifically mentioned Senator Panfilo Lacson and then-presidential candidate Grace Poe.

“Testing transmission”

He said the standard answer of Smartmatic, the firm that provided the technology in the 2016 elections, to the matter would be that these transmissions are only “testing transmissions.”

Sotto pointed out that the transmissions could not be claimed as testing transmissions because the last official testing was made on April, 23, 2016.

“Magte-test tranmission ka a day before election day up to election day?” he said.

Sotto also alleged that there was foreign access in the election servers as there were series of access “before, during, and after the election.”

He said username “e360sync” is accessing the CNTBDNS server with root access privilege, which, according to him, means it can open, copy and transmit any information gathered.

CNTBDNS is the server used by the Queue Servers from May 10-11.

“Malicious” activity

Sotto said a day before May 9, the username made a “malicious” activity that is categorized as a critical intrusion to a computer system.

“If you do this in your own home computer, your firewall or antivirus will alert you,” he said.

He said user e360 is a server in which is a cloud computing service located in the United States. He added that user e360 “looks very similar to a software product of the Philippine election provider Smartmatic.”

“To conclude the second issue, our election servers were allegedly accessed remotely and information gathered were copied and submitted to a server in the amazon cloud services in the United States,” Sotto said.

He said the issues cannot be ignored as it weakens the propriety of the automated election system.

Senate probe

In calling for an investigation, Sotto said the Senate must ascertain the accuracy of the allegations as to either make the responsible officials accountable or put to rest the questions clouding the results of the 2016 election.

“I urge this august body to consider the facts presented today and conduct the proper investigation,” he said. “It is high time that the proper Senate Committee investigates the Automated Election System and subpoena Comelec and Smartmatic to provide the relevant data as regards these allegations.”

He said he wants the probe to be immediately conducted, as Commission on Election (Comelec) officials just recently voted to exercise its Option to Purchase Smartmatic’s voting counting machines for the 2019 elections.

“To me, this decision is a bit problematic, given the numerous unresolved issues that Smartmatic is being accused of in the conduct of the last 2016 national elections,” Sotto said.