Smartmatic out of PCOS diagnostics–Comelec
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced that Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. would have no role in the ongoing diagnostics of the old precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
Comelec chair Andres Bautista said the poll body opted not to adopt the plan of previous election officials to involve Smartmatic in the diagnostics project involving around 81,896 PCOS machines.
Bautista explained that the Comelec is not obliged to include the technology provider, which served in that capacity in the last three automated national and local polls.
“The PCOS machines came from Smartmatic, but it is already the property of the Comelec and the government of the Philippines,” he said.
The Comelec en banc approved the P10.6-million budget for the diagnostics of the voting machines used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
The diagnostics project, which is expected to run until March next year, is being undertaken by the Comelec-Information Technology Department and the Department of Science and Technology.
In 2014, following the previous year’s elections, the Comelec directly contracted Smartmatic for the diagnostics, repair and refurbishment of the PCOS machines.
But the following year, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against the negotiated contract between the Comelec, led by then chair Sixto Brillantes, and Smartmatic.
With the diagnostics project in progress, the Comelec is interested in reusing the old voting machines in succeeding elections.
“If it can still be used, then we should use it. Right now, the question is if it is still usable. It’s like an old cell phone. If it can still be used, why not?” Bautista said.
Utilizing refurbished PCOS machines with new voting machines was one of the Comelec’s options in the elections.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.