Legazpi City (Jan. 6, 2017) – The embattled chairman of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) blamed hackers for the data breach on their website in March last year.
In a radio interview, Chairman Andres Bautista suspects that hackers were responsible for the infringement that exposed personal data of 77 Filipino million voters.
Bautista explained that no matter how much diligence any government agency does to secure its website, hackers always find ways to break in.
The chairman pointed out that computer hacking does not only happen in the Philippines but is in fact a worldwide occurrence.
He cited that even the United States was not spared particularly during their last elections.
Bautista said that he is saddened that the incident is being blamed solely on him.
The Aquino-appointed lawyer clarified that even as chairman of the COMELEC, he cannot possibly know every detail that is happening in each of the departments under him.
He expounded that they have an Information Technology (IT) Department who reports to the COMELEC en banc.
The commissioners in turn, he said, base their decisions on the recommendations of these department heads.
Bautista also questioned the validity of the recommendation of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to have him charged with gross negligence.
The chairman wants to know if there is in fact an existing provision in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that would pin him for the indictment.
He also justified that the said breach did not in any way compromise the May 9 Elections.
Meanwhile, the NPC announced that they have already provided evidence to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the prosecution of Chairman Bautista.
NPC Chairman Raymund Liboro, explained that the recommendation for prosecution was not only about the date breach but also involved the alleged failure of the chairman to create policies to secure the information and at the very least designate a data protection officer.
These, Liboro said, are violations of RA10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012. (J. Garalde)