The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday bared plans to further trim down the list of a hundred plus senatorial aspirants before releasing the final list of 2019 candidates later this week.
At a news conference on Monday, Comelec Spokesman James B. Jimenez said the list would be slashed further, as the poll body complete its review of the qualifications of the candidates.
He said this includes the validity of the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) submitted by some candidates.
The election official explained those who will be proven to have an invalid CONA will be considered independent candidates and, therefore, not qualified for substitution.
“There are many similar cases with such pending complications that has to be resolved first,” Jimenez said.
He added they are still in the process of resolving the disqualification petitions from private individual, as well as those initiated by Comelec against high profile candidates.
“We hope they will be able to resolve it within the week…. So our law department and even our commissioners are really double-timing on these things,” Jimenez said.
The release of the final list was originally scheduled to be released on December 15, but was moved to either Thursday or Friday of this week.
Source code review extension
Jimenez, likewise, said the Comelec is now pushing for an extension of the local review of the source code to be used in the 2019 polls.
The Comelec official of the Local Source Code Review committee recommended to extend the review beyond the completion of the “trusted build” of the last two parts of its automated election system (AES)—consolidation canvassing system (CCS) and vote-counting machines—on January 7, 2019.
The trusted build is the process of compiling the internationally reviewed source code into an executable program.
“We are recommending to have it until January 31 in the De La Salle [University] so reviewers will have a facility to go back to review the code,” Jimenez said.
Comelec made the announcement on Monday following the turnover of the trusted build of the Election Management System (EMS).
Jimenez said the measure aims to give the 66 local reviewers more time to further scrutinize the source code.
Based from the initial assessments done by the local reviewers, Comelec said no irregularities were found in the source code.
“They have suggestions but have not found any malicious code in the program,” Jimenez said.
The local and international review of the source was done simultaneously.
However, the international review done by Pro V&V was completed earlier this month, which led to the completion of the trusted build of EMS of the AES last week.
Comelec Commissioner Marlon S. Casquejo assured the source code review by Pro V&V and their local counterparts were the same.
He said this could be verified by Information Technology personnel through the source code’s unique hash codes.
The Comelec, meanwhile, said it has no mandate to go after government officials who are engaged in campaigning for the election of 2019 candidates.
Jimenez said it is the Civil Service Commission (CSC), who should go after public officials who are “seemingly engaged in partisan politics.”
“It is the CSC, which has a clear mandate on that,” Jimenez said.
Citing CSC rules, he noted while public sector workers are allowed to express their political preference, they are not allowed to “foist their political opinions to their subordinates.”
The Comelec issued the statement after being asked who should be held accountable for the tarpaulin of former Special Assistant to the President and senatorial aspirant Christopher “Bong” Go in front of the gates of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, which became viral online.
He noted other individuals who have similar concerns could address such issues to the CSC.