Saturday, May 21, 2016

Results File 'modification': Marlon Garcia and the COMELEC have a lot of explaining to do!

We are told that Marlon Garcia of Smartmatic, or his technical assistant, edited the file at the Transparency Server to correct the spellings of the names of Se<?>eres and Osme<?>a so that they correctly print to Señeres and Osmeña, respectively. We are told that he used the sed one-liner

sed -i -e 's/<?>/ñ/g'  results_nle05092016_2000.txt

to effect the change. So what is wrong with that?

What's wrong is that neither Marlon Garcia nor his assistant is supposed to have access privileges on Comelec's machines. Even if the computers belong to Smartmatic, they are supposed to be under full control of Comelec during elections, and Smartmatic had no business meddling in our elections.

In order to effect the change using that script, Marlon had to log into the Transparency Server using an account that has write privileges in the directory containing that "results" file, create the script there, unzip the "results*zip" file and run the script thereon. Maybe the commands could have been as easy as:

gunzip -x results_nle*zip
sed -i -e 's/<?>/n/g' results_nle*txt

This would, of course, fix the spelling errors for the results of that day.

But what about the results of succeeding days, which would be computed in the future, after May 9, 2016?

The names of candidates are stored in the configuration file election.xml, and after vote counts are determined per candidate number, the actual candidates names are obtained from election.xml, which of course, will have the original wrong spellings. So Marlon needed to change the spellings in the election.xml configuration file, which happens to be encrypted. So Marlon would need many of Comelecs secrets, like the encryptiopn/decryption key to the file
election.xml. Did Comelec give away its secrets to Marlon, in order to correct spellings in the "results" file on the 9th of May, and on succeeding days?

Marlon Garcia and Comelec will have to do a lot of explaining.

Mathematician Pablo Manalastas as posted on Facebook:


  1. Not only that, those ñ characters, they exist in the filipino names so long...i cannot believe that they did not know that and did not check, i still think that "mistake" was made in purpose for later hve the "excuse" to amend and change the file

    1. You have a point mate. And maybe they also use that error to hide some command that would activated from the the time they will try to correct it.


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