Pacquiao on Comelec hacking: Congress must exercise oversight powers under Automated Election Law

Presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao called on Congress to exercise its oversight powers into the implementation of the Automated Election Law following the Manila Bulletin report of a data breach as a result of the hacking of the Commission on Elections servers over the weekend.

Senator Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao also called for a Senate probe into the incident as he urged Comelec to present a backup plan that would thwart any possible move to cancel the conduct of the national elections in May.

“Congress should exercise its oversight powers in relation to Republic Act 8436 or the Automated Election Law. This is not the first time that the Comelec has been hacked and this shows very serious security flaws on the poll body's computer system,” said Pacquiao in a statement issued Tuesday, Jan. 11.

The PROMDI Party standard bearer asked Comelec to allow political to “conduct an independent and third party audit of the extent of the alleged hacking incident.” Pacquiao said an investigation into the alleged hacking incident should extend at determining the integrity of the Comelec election data system. He added that the poll body should also give an assurance on its backup plan that would address the damage, if any, done on the holding of the May polls.

“Kailangan din nating malaman kung may nakahandang plano ang Comelec kung sakaling nakompromiso ang ating automated polling system. (We have to determine if Comelec has a prepared plan in case the automated polling system has been compromised),” said the administration solon.

Manila Bulletin reported the possibility that “sensitive voter information” may have been compromised after a group of hackers reportedly breached the Comelec servers.

Over 60 gigabytes of data have allegedly been downloaded, thus, putting in jeopardy even the holding the of the May 2022 polls.