MANILA – Returning Senator-elect Richard “Dick” Gordon on Thursday said that his first agenda upon his assumption to office in the Senate is to investigate the sudden change of the hash code in the transparency server of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Center.
In an interview after he was officially proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Gordon also wanted to investigate the dismal failure of our transportation system.
Gordon, who placed 5th at the final tally of the NBOC garnering 16,297,838 votes, said he would call for a briefing from the Comelec, Smartmatic and other stakeholders of the latest elections to gather facts on the altering of the hash code.
“The alteration per se doesn’t seem to be a bad deal, but the timing is a very bad deal. Especially that alteration, apparently, I don’t know whether it is coincidence or deliberate, it resulted in a sudden rush of votes for other candidates. So with that sense, we should investigate,” Gordon said.
He said he will call the attention of Smartmatic and other parties to check their facts and allegations before making an investigation.
“Let me check the facts, I have to look into everything, you know I don’t shoot from the hip,” Gordon said.
Earlier, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. cried foul at the sudden cancellation of the Senate hearing on the Automated Election System (AES).
In a statement, Marcos said the hearing was intended to clarify the alteration of the script in the transparency server, which impacts significantly on the sanctity and integrity of the electoral system.
“Smartmatic officials owe the public a clearer explanation, rather than a cursory excuse, why they can’t participate,” Marcos said.
Marcos said that the hearing was not pursued due to a “last minute” notice from Smartmatic, the technology provider of the Comelec, that they could not attend.
“Smartmatic has been quick to claim that such change was merely cosmetic and did not in any way alter the results of the elections. If that is so, we expect them to be the ones eager to take advantage of the opportunity which the hearing is providing to settle the issue,” Marcos said.
Meanwhile, Gordon also said he would initiate a deeper investigation into the dismal failure of our transport system, which was highlighted by a brownout at the airport and the breakdown of trains of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
“We have to rationalize the system. I may have an investigation on the actual state of our ports. Why are we not competitive? Why are our airplanes always delayed? Why are we not opening Subic and Clark? Why are we not expanding some of our airports which some have to be expanded?” Gordon asked.
With this, Gordon, former tourism secretary in 2003, said he will also summon the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) during the budget hearing why they are not honoring the tax incentives given to tourist service-oriented establishments.
“We would like also to investigate why the BIR did not allow incentives to more hotels, more investments,” Gordon said.
Gordon also commended the Comelec for a job well done.
“The Comelec did a relative good job here. We had to squeeze it out of them. We thank them for having implemented it. They could not easily have implemented it – if we recall – but they did it,” Gordon said.
Also, Gordon vowed to push for the enactment of the law against contractualization.
“I am supportive on that, we should take advantage of our people anymore. Mahirap walang benepisyo ang mga taong nagtatrabaho,” Gordon said.