Imee: All 2022 election returns must have digital signatures to prevent fraud

Published June 8, 2021, 10:03 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Imee R. Marcos on Tuesday said there is no longer any reason for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to delay the registration of thousands of teachers to be given personal digital signatures in time for the May 2022 elections.

Marcos, chairwoman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, said the use of personal digital signatures promised but not put in place in the 2016 and 2019 elections would dispel fears that Smartmatic machines are poised to manipulate election results next year.

“Do machines have free will? I trust our teachers far more than Smartmatic machines,” she pointed out.

Marcos explained that the DICT’s hard-copy requirements on teachers were delaying the registration for personal digital signatures, citing that the Department of Education (DepEd) had already proposed faster bulk processing of teachers’ verified personal data by allowing the online submission of Excel or CSR (Corel binary script) files.

“The joke’s on us – June is our national ICT month, but there’s still little to celebrate. I think the most practical shortcut will be to piggyback on DepEd’s tried and tested system of registering and monitoring over 900,000 teachers and employees,” Marcos recommended.

Doing so could accomplish the registration for personal digital signatures by July, three months earlier than the DICT’s September 2021 to January 2022 schedule, she added.

Only machine digital signatures have been used since elections were automated in 2010, although the Omnibus Election Code states that teachers serving on the board of election inspectors should verify and sign the election returns.