By Martin Sadongdong
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesman James Jimenez has admitted that the technical glitch encountered by the poll body’s file transfer protocol (FTP) application on Election Day resulted in a seven-hour delay in the transmission of votes to the transparency server.
The FTP glitch is one of several issues that cropped up during the midterm elections, prompting the Comelec to appeal for public understanding while maintaining that the May 13 polls were been conducted as honest and transparent as possible.
“I understand that there’s a lot of discomfort with the fact that these things happened at all. We share that discomfort. We’re just as upset as you are,” Jimenez told reporters Friday night.
“Everything that went wrong in this elections will have to be rethought, redesigned if necessary, and will have to be retooled,” he said, referring to preparations for the 2022 presidential elections.
“But again each of these problems that cropped up are presented with solutions and the solutions worked,” he added.
Among the things that Jimenez said will have to be worked on was the poll body’s FTP application, which is used for transferring or exchanging data with a host computer.
It enables other users to access the data without the need for a user ID or password.
Jimenez said it was the FTP that encountered a technical glitch causing a seven-hour delay in the transmission of votes to the transparency server.
The transparency server is being monitored by various poll watchdogs and media to ensure the integrity of the results of the elections.
With the glitch, some stakeholders expressed fears that there might have been loss or alteration of data during the delay in the transmission of votes to the transparency server.
The delay was first noticed around 6 p.m. Monday when no updates were made on the unofficial tallies of the senatorial and party-list groups for poll watch group Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and media.
Accordingly, the transmission of votes was stuck then at 0.38 percent.
When the transmission resumed around 1 a.m. Tuesday, it had already displayed 90.57 percent of the total number of votes.
But Jimenez assured that no data was lost nor altered during the delay.
He explained that the FTP, which manages all the data that reach the transparency server and feeds it to the watch groups, only suffered technical glitch after an apparent case of “bottleneck” of information that it received.
“The FTP application definitely needs some work,” Jimenez admitted.
Aside from the delay, a total of 961 vote-counting machines (VCMs) also malfunctioned while 1,665 secure digital (SD) cards turned out to be defective in this year’s elections.
Jimenez said the affected areas were all attended to as they have nearly 10,000 reserve VCMs.
But reports from the ground indicated that the replacement of malfunctioned VCMs took place for several hours, resulting in the delay of the voting process, a predicament that had to be endured by the voters.
Jimenez, for his part, said that some sectors should stop taking advantage of the election issues to smear the integrity of the elections.
“Now is not the time to shoot from the hip. Now is the time for calculated, measured responses that are responsive to the problem rather than just fanning speculations,” he concluded.