By Leslie Ann Aquino
In preparation for the May 2019 midterm polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing to start the local source code review for the vote counting machines (VCMs) in September.
“We hope, we can start in September. This will give us enough time to conduct a thorough local source code review,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.
The source code is the human readable instructions that dictate what the automated election system will do.
Unlike in 2016, Jimenez said they will already skip the “baseline source code” review.
“Because the enhancements are already there in the system, it’s a total of about 80 enhancements which address usability and security, which are already there in the code, we jump straight to that customized code review,” Jimenez said.
Aside from the local source code review, he said there will also be an international code evaluation as soon as they can finish with the required public bidding process for the service provider.
“Hopefully, we can be able to send it close to the start of the local source code review,” Jimenez said.
Republic Act 9369 states the commission shall “promptly make the source code available and open to any interested party or group, which may conduct their own review.”
This is aside from the separate source code review to be conducted by an international certification entity to be chosen by the poll body.
Last year, the Comelec en banc decided to exercise the option-to-purchase clause in their lease contract with Smartmatic for the 97,517 VCMs for P2.1 billion for them to be reused in the May 2019 polls.