MANILA—The camp of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. expressed disappointment over the inaction of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on their request for a hold departure order (HDO) against personnel of Smartmatic and the poll body who are facing a compliant for violation of the Cybercrime Law in connection with the alleged unauthorized alteration of the script of the transparency server last May 9.
With this, complainant Abakada party list Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz reported that one of the respondents, specifically Smartmatic personnel Mauricio Herrera, had already left the country and is now in his home country of Panama.
He said that they learned that the Smartmatic personnel was no longer in the country during the preliminary investigation of the case at the Manila Prosecutor’s Office last Friday.
“Yun ang hindi natin maintindihan kaya yun ang dapat ipapaliwanag nila,” said the party-list Representative added.
Earlier, Smartmatic assured that none of the respondents had plans of leaving the Philippines.
The campaign adviser of Marcos in the last polls noted that until now neither the Comelec nor the BI had acted on the request for an HDO or for the respondents to be included in the watchlist of the Bureau.
Meanwhile, the other respondents in the case, namely Smartmatic personnel Marlon Garcia, a Venezuelan national and head of the Technical Support Team; Elie Moreno, an Israeli national and Project Director and Neil Banged, member of the Technical Support Team; and Comelec IT experts led by Rouie Peñalba, Nelson Herrera and Frances Mae Gonzalez submitted their respective counter-affidavits last June 17.
The respondents were charged for the violation of Section 4(a) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or R.A. 10175, which prohibits “intentionally altering computer data, without right and altering and interfering with the functioning of a computer and computer network by inputting, deleting and altering computer data and program, without right or authority.”
The next hearing is scheduled on July 4, where the petitioner is expected to file his reply to the counter-affidavits of the respondents.
At the same time, Dela Cruz expressed confidence he has a strong case against the respondents.
“Ang pinag-uusapan laming dito sa kanilang isinubmit meron ka bang authority na kalikutin mo yang system na yan, yang script na yan? Kung wala meron kang paglabag sa Cybercrime Law,” he said, noting that Garcia had already admitted altering the script without permission from the Comelec en banc.