Palace says Comelec should be “accountable” for data leak of voters before 2016 polls
Malacanang said on Friday the Commission on Elections should “hold itself accountable” for the leak of personal data of Filipino voters prior to the May national elections in 2016.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the "Comeleak," which has been described as one of the worst breaches of government-controlled database, "is an issue that simply cannot be swept under the rug."
"We exhort that Comelec release a report of an investigation it conducted on the data leak, if any, to maintain the credibility of the constitutional body and uphold the integrity of the electoral process," Andanar said.
He said poll body should "come clean and hold itself accountable" for the millions of data that became susceptible to risks such as identity theft and fraud.
In a statement, the Comelec said it does not agree with the statement of Andanar.
“The Comelec’s actions in this regard have, in fact, been characterized by openness and the desire to allow the appropriate agencies, with the requisite technical skills to conduct objective investigations, to probe the incident,” said the poll body.
The National Privacy Commission, a government agency, has said it found Comelec violated Republic Act No. 10173, otherwise known Data Privacy Act of 2012, and recommended the criminal prosecution of poll body chairman Andres Bautista for the data breach that took place between March 20 and 27 last year.
In its decision on December 28, 2016, NPC underscored Bautista’s “lack of appreciation” of the principle that data protection is more than just implementation of 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,” said NPC, a regulatory and quasi-judicial body created in March 2016 by virtue of RA 10173.
The agency is mandated to uphold the right to data privacy and ensure the free-flow of information, with a view to promoting economic growth and innovation.
Andanar said the Comelec must not only protect the votes but it must also protect the voters as well.
"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 said as he commended the NPC for taking the side of the people whose privacy has been violated. Celerina Monte/DMS