Senator Imee Marcos on Sunday called on Congress to convene the joint congressional oversight committee (JCOC) at the soonest time possible to discuss mechanisms on how to prevent a failure of elections from happening in the upcoming May 2022 polls.
Last week, Marcos, who heads the Senate Committee on Electoral Reform and People’s Participation, last week filed a resolution asking the Senate to investigate allegations of hacking and security breach in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cybersecurity system despite the poll body’s denial.
“I fear a failure of elections could be declared and a Constitutional crisis would arise if our election system has indeed been severely compromised,” Marcos said in a statement.
“A record number of 67 million registered Filipino voters may be deprived of their right to elect a new president, vice president, and Congress in May,” she added.
Marcos’ brother, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., is running for the presidency in next years elections.
“Despite the uncertainty, we hang on to President Duterte’s promise during last month’s global Summit for Democracy that honest, peaceful, credible, and free elections will push through,” she stressed.
Among the government agencies and private groups the Marcos’ panel has invited to the hearing include the Comelec, the National Privacy Commission, the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (DICT-CICC), the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division, and the Manila Bulletin.
The panel also invited the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente), Democracy Watch, and Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)/ AES Watch.
Reports claim that hackers were able to gain access to 60 gigabytes of sensitive AES data on Comelec personnel, local and overseas Filipino voters, vote counting machines, and voting precincts. The Comelec, however, denie dthe report and assures that its servers remain secure.
“The vast degree of hacking reportedly involved has fanned rumors that certain local and foreign groups are flirting with a failure of elections scenario. The JCOC and the electoral reforms committee will get to the bottom of this,” Marcos assured.