Comelec, NBI discuss security for 2025 elections

Jose Rodel Clapano, Mark Ernest Villeza - The Philippine Star
Comelec, NBI discuss security for 2025 elections
George Erwin Garcia Chairman,COMELEC.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is partnering with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to strengthen cybersecurity during the midterm polls next year.

The NBI and the Comelec are set to formalize their partnership through a  memorandum of understanding that they are set to sign on a still unspecified date.

In a press briefing at the Comelec main office, NBI chief Jaime Santiago said there is a strong possibility of hacking activities during the elections, but it is prepared for any eventuality despite an assurance from the Comelec that its technology for conducting elections is secure.

“On our part, we accept the fact that nothing is impenetrable, that there’s nothing that cannot be hacked,” Santiago said.

Santiago, along with NBI Cybercrime chief Jeremy Lotoc, paid a courtesy visit to Comelec Chairman George Garcia.

The NBI chief said that as much as possible, those who intend to hack would have a hard time or be stopped before they can inflict serious damage.

“We can see them immediately before they do their foolishness,” Santiago said.

In addition to cybersecurity, Santiago highlighted the NBI’s efforts to combat other election-related offenses, including vote-buying. “The NBI is there, we will try to arrest these people who buy votes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is targeting to dismantle 23 private armies in Mindanao in preparation for the coming elections.

The 23 existing private armies are on top of the 16 private armies already dismantled by the government, he said.

“Our concentration is more on BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) areas. It is relatively peaceful in Abra and other areas, considering the strong governance system there,” Galvez told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay yesterday.

“We can still do that because our implementing arm is the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. We are very ready,” Galvez said.

“To sustain the gains of peace in the Bangsamoro, President Marcos has expressed confidence that the first regional elections in 2025 will be clean, orderly, peaceful and credible,” Galvez said.

“To achieve this, the Bangsamoro people must protect their votes at all costs. Every ballot cast represents the hopes and aspirations of each and every resident of the region,” he added.

The government has so far decommissioned over 26,000 former Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants, he said.

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