SENATOR Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. described as “horrible” the decision of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila — ruling in favor of Smartmatic and dismissing the case filed by Abakada Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, Marcos’ poll adviser.
Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ spokesman, said that the former senator “finds it horrible” that despite the admission made by the Comelec IT personnel, Rouie Penalba, of his lack of authority to allow any tweaking of any component of the AES (automated election system),” the OCP Manila still threw out Dela Cruz’s petition.
Dela Cruz last July filed criminal charges before the Manila Prosecutor’s Office against certain personnel of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and executives of Smartmatic in relation to their alleged involvement in tampering with the automated election system (AES) in the May 9 national polls.
“Senator Marcos will not let this resolution hold him up in his search for truth. An appeal will be made within the period before the Department of Justice (DoJ),” said Rodriguez.
“Senator Marcos would like to reiterate that he will not stop until the whole truth in the conduct of the last elections is revealed and all votes cast are properly counted,” he added.
Charged with violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175 were Garcia, a Venezuelan national; Elie Moreno, an Israeli national and Project Director; Neil Baniqued and Mauricio Herrera both members of the Technical Support Team and Comelec IT experts led by Rouie Peñalba, Nelson Herrera and Frances Mae Gonzalez who are all assigned at the Information Technology Department (ITD).
“For us, the issue of the complaint was simple – were Comelec and Smartmatic authorized to change the system at the height of the transmission of votes on May 9, 2016?” Rodriguez asked.
“With the admissions coming from Comelec officials, including Chairman Andres Bautista himself, that no authority was given to change the script on the night of the elections, it would have been an easy decision for the Manila Prosecutors’ Office to make a finding of probable cause to charge the respondents with the violation of the Cyber Crime Law,” he said.
He added: “To our mind, compliance or non-compliance on the “Protocol of Escalation” or the intention of replacing a character in the system supposedly for “cosmetic change” would have been best ventilated in a full blown trial of facts and not on a party’s mere invocation as a matter of defense.”
The same should have been allowed to establish that such a forbidden act of “tweaking” was indeed undertaken with malicious intent, he said.
“The panel prosecutors, however, looked the other way, took the defense of Smartmatic and Comelec personnel at face value and completely downplayed the admissions on the unauthorized change,” he said.