Prosecutor dismisses complaint against Comelec, Smartmatic officials over hash code issue

Former Abakada Representative Jonathan dela Cruz’ criminal complaint against the officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corporation regarding the hash code controversy has been dismissed by the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office.

The criminal complaint was set aside due to lack of merit and insufficiency of evidence according to Smartmatic’s disclosure on Wednesday in a news release.

Rappler asked Dela Cruz to comment on the matter to which he replied that this was a “most disappointing development.”


Dela Cruz’ complaint pointed out that 3 officials from Comelec and 4 officials from Smartmatic committed a violation of sections 4(a) (1), (3) and (4) of Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 for introducing a script made to correct the special character “?” to “Ñ” in particular names of candidates in the transparency server, which is to receive election results coming from the vote-counting machines on election day.

According to him, this correction has led to a change in the hash code, which is a security feature found in the automated election system (AES).

Allegations coming from former Senator Bongbong Marcos’ camp stated that this act was a “security breach,” which purportedly overlapped with the “erosion” of Marcos’ lead in the 2016 vice presidential race against Maria Leonor Robredo, who won.

Dela Cruz was known to be Marcos’ campaign adviser.

The resolution dated September 28 and signed by City Prosecutor Edward Togonon had stated that “it was not only Smartmatic’s right to access the AES, but also its duty to do so” and Garcia’s deed “could hardly be called criminal.”

Moreover, the resolution declared that: “Complainant himself, while saying that it compromised the integrity and credibility of the elections, does not say that it changed the result thereof. In fact, there is total absence of evidence that the replacement of ‘?’ with ‘Ñ’ affected the operation of the AES and the results of the election at all.”

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