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Showing posts with label Commission on Elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commission on Elections. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

COMELEC to appeal NPC ruling on hacking of poll body's website

MANILA (12 Jan 2017) - The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is set to appeal the decision of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) in connection with the hacking of the former's website in March 2016.




According to COMELEC Chairman Juan Andres Bautista the commission was set to file the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) thru the Solicitor General on Friday, January 13, 2017.

With this, he noted that the COMELEC would designate a data protection officer as required under the Data Privacy Act or Republic Act 10173, as pointed out by the NPC in its ruling.


Jose M. Tolentino, Jr.
"Designated acting data protection officer in the person of Executive Director Jose M. Tolentino, Jr.  We have until January 27 para mag-appoint ng permanent data protection officer," said Bautista in an interview after attending a Mass at the Manila Cathedral with some 200 poll body employees who expressed their support to his leadership.

He reiterated that the recommendations of the NPC were going to be implemented.

"Mga recommendation ng NPC para palakasin ang website ng COMELEC are all well taken.  Ipapatupad naming talaga lahat yan," the poll body chief added.

He also expressed disappointment over the recommendation to file a case against him.

"Ang akin lang kinasasama ng loob ay bakit may recommendation pa na criminal fact-finding.  Pero andyan na yan.  Sa buhay may kanya-kanyang hamon.  May kanya kanyang krus na pinapasan.  So ang hamon sa atin ay pasanin ang krus na ito ng may dangal at pananampalataya," Bautista said.

Likewise, he announced that they would conduct a workshop on January 18-20 to discuss COMELEC rules in connection with the NPC's implementing rules.

"Itong workshop ng COMELEC is to discuss our own rules in respect of NPC's implementing rules, nag-imbita din kami ng mga resource persons from NPC para maliwanag kung ano ang gusto nilang ipatupad dito sa batas," Bautista added.

At the same time, he admitted that he was surprised with the support given by the employees.

In its 35-page decision, the NPC said COMELEC has violated Sections 11, 20, and 21 of the Data Privacy Act when it failed to protect the privacy of the voters' data in its role as "personal information controller."

The ruling also recommended the criminal prosecution of Bautista due to his "willful and intentional disregard of his duties as head of agency, which he should know or ought to know, is tantamount to gross negligence."

Hackers group, Anonymous Philippines, hacked the website of COMELEC and defaced its contents last March 27, 2016.

Another group, LulzSec Pilipinas, leaked online millions of voter registration data, including names, addresses, and birthdays, among others.  [Philippine News Agency]

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Malacanang tells COMELEC to hold itself accountable for 'Comeleak'

MANILA (7 Jan 2017) - Malacanang on Friday urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to accept accountability for the hack on its database last year that exposed millions of voters to identity theft and fraud.



Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar also called on the COMELEC to release its investigation report on the hack, a day after the National Privacy Commission declared the election watchdog's chair, Andres Bautista, liable for "gross negligence" that left the election body's database highly vulnerable to cyber-attack.

The finding opened Baustista to criminal prosecution over the security breach that became known as "Comeleck."

Voter database hacked


Paul Biteng Zulueta, alleged COMELEC hacker
In that attack, hackers extracted contents from the COMELEC's website, including information from voter database, from March 20 to 27, 2016.

The hackers then uploaded the voter information - names, addresses, dates of birth, passport details - to file-sharing platforms.

The COMELEC became aware of the security breach when the files went viral online.

Compromised were the files of 77 million voters, in what has been described as one of the worst breaches of a government database.

The privacy commission, however, said the leak did not affect the integrity of the May 9, 2016 elections.

Andanar said the security breach exposed those voters "to risks such as identity theft and fraud," a matter that "simply cannot be swept under the rug."

"[The] Comelec must not only protect the vote, it must protect the voters as well," Andanar said in a statement.

He urged the COMELEC to accept responsibility for the breach and release the report on its investigation of the cyber-attack to maintain the election body's credibility, and uphold the integrity of the electoral process.

Efforts must be made to thwart attempts to interfere with the electoral process, he said.

"Let us put an end to election-related maneuverings and ensure that any attempt to subvert the people's will, no matter how sophisticated, will not succeed," he added.

Formed last year, the privacy commission investigated the hack on the COMELEC and found that the election watchdog did not have basic data principles.

It said the COMELEC had no policy covering data privacy and did not even have a data protection officer.

The void left the COMELEC highly vulnerable to cyber-attack, which the privacy commission blamed on Bautista.

It concluded that under the Data Privacy Act, Bautista committed gross negligence and recommended him for prosecution.

On Friday, Bautista said he was open to a "congressional investigation in aid of legislation."

He also defended himself against the findings of the privacy commission.

"We believe that we did what we had to do given the circumstances.  We feel the [privacy commission] overstepped its boundaries," he said.

Impeachment

The election watchdog Kontra Daya welcomed the privacy commission's finding against Bautista, saying it could serve as basis for the COMELEC chief's impeachment.

"[T]his could be a ground for Bautista's impeachment, especially considering that the leak was initially reported by TrendMicro on April 6 and the COMELEC at that time failed to disclose the extent of the breach," the group said in a statement.  [Julie M. Aurelio, Leila B. Salaverria] 


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Criminal charges recommended vs COMELEC chairman Bautista

MANILA (5 Jan 2017) - The National Privacy Commission (NPC) on Thursday recommended the filing of criminal charges against COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista and the poll body for the theft of millions of voters' personal records in 2016.



Since dubbed "Comeleak," the cybersecurity breach is one of the biggest data heists in history that saw the theft of as many as 55 million personal records from the COMELEC website, according to early estimates.

80-M records hit but no effect on election

However, the exhaustive NPC investigation revealed that the number was closer to 80-million:
  • 75,302,683 records comprising the Precinct Finder web application voter database
  • 1,376,067 records comprising the Post Finder web application voter database
  • 139,301 records comprising the iRehistro registration database
  • 896,992 personal data records comprising the firearms ban database
  • 20,485 records of firearm serial numbers, also from the firearms ban database
  • 1,267 records comprising the COMELEC personnel database
NPC commissioner Raymundo Liboro assured the public that the data breach did not affect the results of the national election.  However, he underscored the gravity of the heist and the long-held need for stricter data privacy measures in the country.

"This is the largest security breach ever of a government institution anywhere in the world," Liboro lamented.

Violation of 2013 Data Privacy Act

In its 35-page decision, the NPC found the COMELEC itself to have been in violation of Sections 11, 20, and 21 of Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista was also found to have violated the same sections, as well as Section 22 in relation to Section 26 of the same Act.

"We are not saying he is guilty, but we have substantial evidence, hence the recommendation to file charges (against Bautista).  The evidence was sufficient to recommend prosecution," said NPC deputy commissioner Atty. Ivy Patdu.

The NPC criticized Bautista for his "lack of appreciation" for the need for stringent cyber-security measures.

"Data privacy is more than the deployment of technical security; it also includes the implementation of physical and organizational measures, as well as regular review, evaluation, and updating of COMELEC's privacy and security policies and practices," the decision read.

'COMELEC was negligent'

Patdu explained that the COMELEC had no security measures in place, so it was only a matter of time before any data on the agency's site was stolen.

She also said that the agency should have implemented stringent end-to-end security beginning from the point of data collection, and not just on the website.

The responsibility for this falls squarely on the COMELEC and its leadership, according to Patdu.

"It was a failure of duty required by law.  It's tantamount to negligence," she said.

Irreversible damage

Patdu also lamented the irreversible damage caused by the hack.

"Our data is out there.  The danger is there, even if it's not immediately apparent right now.  It can be felt years from now.  (That's why) we should urge government to take data protection seriously," Patdu said, warning that the data could be used for malicious purpose at any time.

The decision caps a months-long investigation into the crime.

'Misappreciation' of facts

Reached for his comments, Bautista said the NPC findings were based on "misappreciation" of facts.

"With all due respect to the NPC membership, we believe that the NPC decision was based on misappreciation of several facts, legal points, and material contexts," Bautista said.

He also defended himself after the NPC "conveniently points to the Head of Agency as solely responsible for the data breach."

Bautista said the COMELEC en banc, "currently managed by seven lawyers," including himself, "(relies) on our IT Department for expert advice on website/data security and privacy and IT-related matters."

History of COMELEC heist

On March 27, 2016, a group of hackers gained access to the COMELEC website and defaced the agency's page.  A second group took advantage of the same vulnerability and managed to steal the agency's voter database, which happened to be accessible from the site.

The database was made public, exposing the personal information of millions of Filipino voters to identify thieves and other hackers.

Fear quickly spread that the information could be used to rig the looming presidential elections.  The COMELEC initially downplayed the gravity of the breach, but the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas issued a memorandum warning all banks to be wary of attempts at identity theft.

Within a month, the National Bureau of Investigation's Cybercrime Division arrested two suspected hackers who were alleged directly involved in the breach.

In August, Bautista said that the poll body had committed to working closely with the NPC and the DOST to ensure the future security of COMELEC data.  [TJ Dimacali, GMA News]


Friday, August 23, 2013

COMELEC extends COC filing for 3 more days

James Jimenez
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has extended the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for the October 28 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls from three days to six days.

Candidates are allowed to file their COC from October 11 to 17, during office hours or from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

COMELEC sets month-long gun ban for ARMM voter listing

THE COMMISSION on Elections (COMELEC) has imposed a month-long gun ban in July for the general registration of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Under COMELEC Resolution 9479 that was promulgated in Wednesday and published in a newspaper yesterday, the carrying of firearms will be prohibited from July 1 to 31.  The registration is on July 9 to 18.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Resolution No. 9475 - Guidelines for 2012 ARMM General Registration of Voters

RESOLUTION No. 9475
RULES AND REGULATIONS IN THE CONDUCT OF
GENERAL REGISTRATION OF VOTERS IN THE
AUTONOMOUS REGION IN MUSLIM MINDANAO (ARMM)

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the Commission to establish a clean, complete, permanent, and updated list of voters through the adoption of biometrics technology (digital photograph, fingerprints and signature) using the Voter Registration Machines (VRMs) in the registration process;

Monday, June 11, 2012

COMELEC suspends voter registration and validation from June 25 to July 31, 2012

Republic of the Philippines
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
Manila

SUSPENSION OF THE SYSTEM OF CONTINUING REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AND VALIDATION OF REGISTRATION RECORDS IN SUCH AREAS AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSION.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
BRILLANTES, Sixto S., Jr.
SARMIENTO, Rene V.
TAGLE, Lucenito N.
VELASCO, Armando C.
YUSOPH, Elias R.
LIM, Christian Robert S.
Chairman
Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner


Promulgated:  June 8, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

COMELEC assures unhampered voting in Negros Occ special elections

By CARLA GOMEZ
The Visayan Daily Star


THE Commission on Elections yesterday said it will ensure that residents of the fifth district of Negros Occidental will be able to freely exercise their right to vote on Saturday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

COMELEC vows PWD-friendly precincts for 2013

By XIANNE ARCANGEL 
VERA File | PWD Files 


THE Commission on Elections has promised to make voting precincts more accessible to persons with disabilities, even if Congress fails to pass the promised The Polling Center Accessibility Act in time for the May 2013 mid-term elections.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the COMELEC will issue resolutions to ensure that accessibility will no longer be a problem for PWD [persons with disabilities] voters in the upcoming polls, as it had been in the past.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

COMELEC heeds calls for ARMM re-registration

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Friday gave assurance that it would conduct general registrations in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Earlier, the COMELEC denied requests from the Executive and Legislative Departments to conduct a new voters' registration in the region citing time constraints in the bidding of additional voter registration machines (VRMs) that will be needed for the process and the lack of funds.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Resolution No. 9387 - Guideline on the Release, Distribution and Regeneration of the Voters' ID Cards

Republic of the Philippines
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
Manila

GUIDELINES ON THE RELEASE, DISTRIBUTION AND REGENERATION OF THE VOTERS’ IDENTIFICATION CARDS
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
BRILLANTES, Sixto, Jr. S.
SARMIENTO, Rene V.
TAGLE, Lucenito N.
VELASCO, Armando C.
YUSOPH, Elias R.
LIM, Christian Robert S.
LAGMAN, Augusto C.
Chairman
Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner

RESOLUTION No. 9387
(Promulgated 13, 2012)

WHEREAS, the Commission is mandated under Section 25 of RA 8189 to adopt a design for the voter's identification card to be issued to registered voters which shall serve as a document for their identification;

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Resolution No. 9475 - ARMM Voter Registration [2]

Sec. 4. Duties and Functions of the Resident EO, AEO and VRM Operator. - The following are the duties and functions of the EO, AEO and VRM Operator:

A. Resident Election Officer:
  1. Entertains applications for registration of Barangay where the OEO is located and transfer of registration records from non-ARMM areas;
  2. Exercises over-all administrative supervision of the RCs within his jurisdiction; and
  3. Provides logistical assistance to the AEOs and VRM Operators.
  4. Performs such other functions provided under these Rules or as may be directed by the Commission thru the CIC.
B. Augmentation Election Officer:
  1. Performs the duties and functions of the EO as herein provided;
  2. Administers oaths;
  3. Addresses concerns/issues in his place of assignment and reports all incidents and problems encountered during the registration to the EO or the monitoring team;
  4. Submits to the EO the compiled accomplished application forms and back-up files; and
  5. Performs such other registration related functions as may be directed by the Commission or the CIC or the Monitoring Team Leader.
C. VRM Operator:
  1. Performs the duties and functions as herein provided; and
  2. Makes daily back-up and compile all the accomplished applications for registration.
Sec. 5. Date, time and venue of filing, hearing and approval/disapproval of application for registration and transfer of registration record. - Application for registration shall be personally filed at the OEO or in the designated RC in the city/municipality, from 8:00 o'clock a.m. to 5:00 o'clock p.m., and heard by the Election Registration Board (ERB) in accordance with the following schedule:


Application for transfer of registraton record from non-ARMM to any city/ municipality of ARMM shall be personally filed at the OEO only.  No application for transfer of registration record from non-ARMM shall be entertained by the AEO/interviewer at the RC.  Should an applicant for transfer appear before the AEO/interviewer, he shall be advised to proceed to the OEO to file said application.

In no case shall registration be conducted without the use of VRM in the event the VRM malfunctions or any of the peripherals becomes defective, registration shall be suspended until such time that the same is repaired or replaced.

Sec. 6. Persons allowed inside the RC. - Only the following persons shall be allowed inside the polling place:
a) EO/AEO and VRM Operators;
b) Applicants; and
c) Other persons who may be specifically authorized by the Commission.
Sec. 7. Persons not allowed to enter the RC. - Unless specifically authorized by the Commission, it is unlawful for the following to enter any RC or stay within a radius of ten (10) meters, thereof:
a) Any officer or member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the Philippine National Police (PNP); 
b) Any peace officer or any armed person belonging to any extra-legal police agency, special forces, reaction forces, strike forces, Civilian Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU), barangay tanods or other similar forces or para-military forces, including special forces, security guards, special policemen;
c) All other kinds of armed or unarmed extra-legal police forces; and
d) Any barangay official, whether elected or appointed.
However, the EO/AEO may, if it deems necessary, order the detail of a policeman or any peace officer for his protection or for the protection of the registration documents and paraphernalia.  Said policeman or peace officer shall stay outside the RC near enough to be easily called by the EO/AEO at anytime.  In no case shall the said policeman or peace officer hold any conversation with any applicant or disturb or prevent or in any manner obstruct the free access of the applicants to the RC.

Sec. 8. Who may register. - Any Filipino citizen residing in the cities/municipalities of ARMM may register as a voter, provided that he/she is:
a)  At least eighteen (18) years of age on or before May 13, 2013 Elections;
b)  A resident of the Philippines for at least one (1) year and in the place wherein he proposes to vote, for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the May 13, 2013 Elections; and
c)  Not otherwise disqualified by law.
Sec. 9. Who are disqualified to register. - The following are disqualified from registering as a voter:
  1. Any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment for not less than one (1) year, such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty;
  2. Any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by a competent court or tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to the duly-constituted government, such as, rebellion, insurrection, violation of the firearms laws, or any crime against national security, unless restored to his full civil and political rights in accordance with law; and
  3. Insane or incompetent person as declared by competent authority, unless subsequently declared by proper authority that such person is no longer insane or incompetent.
Any person disqualified to register under paragraphs (1) and (2) above shall automatically reacquire the right to vote upon expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

COMELEC: No plan to let poll fraud suspects off the hook

Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.
By:  Jerome Aning, Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer


THE Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Wednesday denied it was about to drop electoral sabotage charges against two former provincial election supervisors accused of rigging the 2007 elections but the Department of Justice defended the plan.

Supreme Court orders COMELEC to answer bid vs PCOS deal

By:  Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer


THE Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to file its comment to one of three petitions filed by various parties questioning the COMELEC's purchase of P1.8 billion worth of voting machines that were used during the 2010 elections.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Critics gang up on COMELEC chief over decision to use PCOS machines in 2013 polls

Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr.
By:  Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Friday, March 23, 2012

CRITICS, including losing candidates in the 2010 polls, on Thursday ganged up on Chairman Sixto Brillantes of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) because of his decision to reuse precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in next year's elections.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lawmaker urges manual polls in May 2013

By:  Kim Arveen M. Patria
Business World Online


MANILA, Philippines (20 March 2012) - A LAWMAKER has filed a bill which seeks to employ a manual voting system in the May 2013 elections, saying that the use of counting machines in the previous polls was "illegal and irregular."

Comelec finally admitted PCOS defective

SHOOTING STRAIGHT 
By Bobit S. Avila 
March 19, 2012 | Opinion
Last Friday, I was in the midst of a very important meeting when a friend interrupted our meeting to show us a texted report that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) finally approved the purchase of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.  My meeting had nothing to do with politics, yet a report like that was shocking enough for us in Cebu because of the incident that happened in the town of Compostela, 25 kilometers North of Cebu City where they didn’t have any town officials for 22 months, thanks to the PCOS machines that doesn’t know now to count!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Group to file TRO against purchase of PCOS machines

By:  REYNALDO SANTOS, JR.

MANILA, Philippines (19 March 2012) - THE DECISION of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to purchase the 2010 election machines for the 2013 polls could reach the Supreme Court.

Plan to purchase PCOS machines ‘illegal, risky’

By:  Jerome Aning, TJ Burgonio

MANILA, Philippines (19 March 2012) - A poll watchdog said the Commission on Election's (COMELEC) plan to buy Smartmatic Corp.'s used Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines was "illegal" and "risky."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

COMELEC decides to buy Smartmatic's PCOS

By:  Rappler Beta

MANILA, Philippines (15 March 2012) -  IT'S final.  After weeks of dilly dallying, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) formally decided to exercise the "option to purchase" precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines from 2010 automation vendor Smartmatic.  These will be used in the 2013 national and local elections.

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