Republic Act (RA) 9369 was enacted authorizing Comelec to use an Automated Election System (AES).To ensure the accuracy, veracity and authenticity in the recording and reading of votes in the precincts;electronic transmission of the election returns (ERs) to the municipal, city, provincial and nationalcanvassing; as well as the tabulation, RA 9369 required the AES to have minimum capabilitiesstandards, such as the use of digital signatures, voter verifiability, and UV scanning to detectunauthorized ballots, among others.
: The importance of digital signatures in the election is clearly specifiedin RA 9369. The Chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) shall electronically transmitthe precinct results to the respective levels of board of canvassers (BOC). The election returnstransmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results andshall be used as the basis for the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of a candidate.RA9369 also referred to RA 8792 Electronic Commerce Act as to the requirements for provision, useand interpretation of various aspects of electronic or digital signatures.On June 15, 2009, Executive Order 810 was issued institutionalizing the use of digital signatures anddirecting the application of digital signatures in E-Government services.
: An audit trail so the voter can verify whether his votes were the sameas those read and counted by the PCOS machine.
: A feature in the PCOS machine to detect fake and unauthorized ballots.**ALL THESE SECURITY FEATURES WERE MADE PART OF THE AES BID SPECIFICATIONS, ANDSUBSEQUENTLY COVERED BY THE CONTRACT BETWEEN COMELEC AND SMARTMATIC.BUT, WITHIN TWO MONTHS TO MAY 10, 2010, THESE FEATURES WERE ONE BY ONE DISABLEDAND NOT USED.**1.On March 4, 2010, Comelec issued Comelec Resolution 8786 dated March 4, 2010, essentiallydisabling the use of digital signatures. Thus, the electronically transmitted ERs from the precinctsno longer bear digital signaturesSeveral excuses were given by Comelec ranging from PCOS machine signatures are equivalent todigital signature (which of course is not true); use of digital signature will require another P1 Billion(as if digital feature is not included in the P7.1 B contract); reducing transmission time (how can