Philippine investigators still clueless on the identities of the remaining hackers who made public the private information of millions

Suspected hacker Paul Biteng ©
Suspected hacker Paul Biteng ©

THE National Bureau of Investigation remains clueless as to the identities of the remaining hackers of the Commission on Elections website who are still at-large.

Ronald Aguto Jr., NBI Cybercrime Division chief, said his men are still conducting forensic examinations on the computer used by the arrested suspected hacker, Paul Biteng, in a bid to find good leads. He said they still have to find any indication that someone influential like a politician is behind the hacking.

Aguto explained that “based on our initial investigation, there is no politician involved and there is no inclination, whatsoever. In fact, he (Biteng) used an old computer and he claimed it was given by a friend. Kung gagamitin ito ng isang politician or if somebody organize this, dapat medyo top of the line ang ginamit.

At the same time, Aguto disclosed that his men “are working some leads and are now conducting forensic examination of the computer used by the suspect. We’re hoping that we are getting good leads.”

The 20-year old Biteng was arrested in his home in Sampaloc, Manila by virtue of a search warrant issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court. After his arrest, Biteng was charged with violating Section 4a of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which deals with confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems.

Senator Ferdinand "Bong-Bong" Marcos ©
Senator Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos

Meanwhile, vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. urged the NBI to expedite the investigation and to hold the culprits accountable, making sure they will not be able to use the data they hacked from the Comelec.

Marcos said the hacking of the election body’s data puts the credibility of the elections on the line. He stressed that the Comelec should treat the incident as a very serious matter because it does not only affect the credibility of the elections but jeopardizes the safety and security of every Filipino voter.

The young Marcos, at the same time, said the Comelec should also swiftly conduct a thorough probe on the incident as it constitutes an attack on the voters’ right to privacy. He said the election body should explain how it happened in the first place.

“These are crucial information that the Comelec has secured from the voters. These are personal data entrusted to the poll body by the Filipino people. The Comelec should explain how and why the data that they have assured as secure could be hacked,” he said.

“If this can happen, how secure will the election results be knowing that data could be stolen and manipulated from the Comelec’s system?” Marcos asked.


Christian Joel Espiritu
Christian Joel Espiritu is a veteran reporter of a Manila based newspaper. A Bachelor in Journalism degree holder from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, he started his journalism career as a reporter-trainee of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in the late 80's and early 1990's.

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