Poll watchdogs query COMELEC on ‘meet-me-room’

By Minka Klaudia Tiangco

Several poll watchdog groups again questioned the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) meet-me-room, which could have allegedly been used to cause irregularities in the elections.

Mata sa Balota and the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters claims that the meet-me-room is a physical room or an undeclared queuing server that receives the transmission from vote counting machines (VCMs) before they are sent to the central server and transparency server.

"Ito ay malinaw na violation sa eleksyon dahil sagrado ang boto ng mga Pilipino. Wala silang respeto sa sagradong boto ng bawat Pilipino. Kailangan may managot dito (This is a clear election violation because the Filipinos' votes are sacred. They (the Comelec) do not have respect for the Filipinos' sacred votes. Someone should be held accountable for this)," said UFCC President RJ Javellana in a media forum on Tuesday morning.

Javellana said the Comelec should bare what funds were used for the meet-me-room, what is its involvement in the transmission of votes, and if it was included in the local source code review.

He also played a recording of him talking with an anonymous whistleblower about the meet-me-room.

The informant claimed that there were up to 350 individuals involved with the meet-me-room which is located in a "highly-secured" building. Those who asked questions about what was happening were immediately terminated, the source claimed.

Javellana, who ran and lost in the senatorial race in the midterm polls, said the informant has "deep knowledge of and involvement in the meet-me-room".

When asked for additional proof of his claims, Javellana said it is up to the Comelec to explain.

Earlier, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said the meet-me-room is merely a transmission gateway router built into the automated election system that manages results transmitted by the VCMs.

Jimenez also denied that the meet-me-room is a physical room or separate server.

The Comelec spokesman also said that the meet-me-room was included in the local source code review.

Javellana said he is ready to speak out during the joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections system should he and his informant be summoned.