Gov't officials urge public to report signal 'jammers' during elections
QUEZON CITY, April 25 (PIA) -- Government officials urged the public to report persons or establishments possessing jammers or jamming devices.
A jammer is an electronic box (the size of a DVD player) with three to four antennae which comes in silver or black colors.
These jamming devices, Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brilliantes said, could delay the transmissions of election results during the May 13 polls.
In a press conference held in Camp Crame Thursday, authorities bared four models of jamming device/jammer so people would know how these illegal instruments look like.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said these instruments, at least the four models exposed in the press conference, are worth less than P30 million and can be easily purchased in several establishments.
Roxas urged citizens to report to authorities if they spotted any of the models in voting centers, municipal and city halls, capitols because possession of these instruments is illegal.
He said the public may call hotline 02-9213251.
Roxas also ordered the police to implement the necessary actions against stores and establishments where his staff purchased the jammers.
National Telecommunications Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said anyone found in possession of any jamming device will face serious charges and penalties.
"NTC memorandum order 1-02-2010 that says purchase, importation, possession or use of GSM jamming devices shall be prohibited. Merely possession or anyone found selling will be charged of possession of smuggled item and subjected to automatic forfeiture under the tariff and customs section 22-05," said Cordova.
Cordova explained jammers or jamming devices are considered smuggled since the NTC has not permitted anyone to own or to operate such instrument.
As a violation of the Tariff and Customs Code, persons caught with jammers will suffer the penalty of two years imprisonment.
"No parole, perpetual disqualifications from holding public offense and right to suffrage," Cordova added.
But that's not all.
Brilliantes said the penalty is 8 -12 years imprisonment. "If you are holding a jammer on election day and you are within the vicinity of the polling places, then that is a strong evidence that your are interfering with the transmission of the results, liable criminally as an election offense," he said.
He said, however, that jammers can only delay the transmission for a certain period and they have remedies to counteract the jamming such as the physical delivery of the CF cards or even the election returns to the next venue of canvassing and other actions under their contingency plan.
Another way is to find another direction where the signal is strong or look for a fix line for the DSL line.
"Our target in the Automated Elections, as soon as the voting is finished, and a push on a button in precinct count optical scan machine will start transmitting. In 48 hrs, we expect to have a proclaimation in the local area. But if the jammer will function, the transmission will be delayed and doubts will set in," said Brilliantes. (Lyndon Plantilla/Media ng Bayan)