All eyes have been on the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) days after the partial and unofficial tally of the election results came out, but contrary to the knowledge of many, the poll watchdog is not conducting a manual vote count but rather a parallel count.
In the words of PPCRV spokesperson Atty. Vann Dela Cruz, it’s done by matching the electronically transmitted election returns (ERs) with the physically printed ones which are both generated by the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs).
But since there is already a reliable source of transmitted ERs such as the transparency server and the canvass being conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), then why is there a need for a parallel count?
According to Dela Cruz, when the Automated Election System (AES) was first introduced, there were skeptics who were wondering if there is a possibility that the numbers transmitted by the VCM can be intercepted.
“Pagbato ng VCM sa cyberspace, baka may mag-intercept eh. Mag-intercept, baguhin yung numero para pagbagsak sa server kung sampu ang sinabi ng VCM, e na-intercept sa cyberspace, e bente yung sasabihin niya ngayon sa server (Once the VCM transmits into the cyberspace, someone might intercept the data. Intercept it, change the figures and once it reaches the server if the VCM only transmitted 10 votes, it may become 20),” he explained.
The solution was before the VCMs even transmit the election returns, eight pre-transmitted copies will be printed first. One of which will be given to the PPCRV.
“Dapat yung binato ng parehong VCM na election return, na prinint din niya at binato niya cyberspace na natanggap nung server…so dapat mag-tugma. Yun yung idea (The election return transmitted by the same VCM, which it printed and sent into the cyberspace to be received by the server…should be a match. That’s the idea),” he said.
So far, as of 11:20 a.m., the poll watchdog stated that it has fully encoded a total of 16,820 election returns (ERs) so far which resulted in a 100 percent match.
When asked if the match means that there’s no discrepancy found, Dela Cruz said that what the data shows, and that they are just sharing it with the public.
Is the PPCRV the only one who can conduct this unofficial parallel count every election?
According to Dela Cruz, they’re not. He said that other groups may file a petition before the Comelec to become an accredited citizen’s arm. Groups must also provide credentials stating that they have the capability such as manpower to do the task, and they are competent enough to receive the fourth copy of the ER
Are the printed ERs reliable?
During a talk on Friday, May 13, Dela Cruz did a test with the crowd where they determined if the “hash code” written on each ER wherever their place of origins are, is the same; and they were. He explained that this means that these came from the same VCMs and programmed with the same source codes.
The poll watchdog has so far received 24,640 ERs.
Most of the ERs came from the National Capital Region (NCR), certain provinces of Luzon particularly in Pangasinan, Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite, Ilocos Norte, Sorsogon, and the province of Rizal. There were also ERs that came from Mindanao, which were from Misamis Oriental. They have not yet processed ERs from Visayas.
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