Comelec can’t ban Smartmatic in future biddings sans legal basis–Jimenez
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s current provider of vote counting machines (VCMs), Smartmatic, or any supplier for that matter, cannot be banned from future public biddings without any legal basis, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez pointed this out in a media forum on Friday even after President Rodrigo Duterte asked the poll body to “dispose” Smartmatic and find a new firm that is “free of fraud.”
Venezuela-based Smartmatic supplied the VCMs for the May 13 midterm elections and three previous automated elections.
“Kakailanganin natin ng legal basis to ban any supplier so yun ang titignan natin,” Jimenez said when asked whether Smartmatic will be banned from any public bidding in the future following Duterte’s pronouncement.
Under government procurement laws, agencies are required to hold public biddings and prioritize the lowest bidder that satisfied the bid requirements.
“Again…Walang hold ang Smartmatic sa Comelec, kung ‘di lamang sila ang nanalo sa bidding natin,” Jimenez said.
“Kung matanggal yung proseso ng bidding, matanggal yung requirement for a public bidding then maybe that’s something that we can work with,” he added.
Despite this, Jimenez said the Comelec will look into the suggestion of the President.
“Ang mahalagang buod nung mensahe ay hindi itinatakwil ng Presidente and automated system, kaya nga lang, hindi siya satisfied doon sa ginagamit na supplier, so that’s something again that we can build on and over the next few days,” the Comelec spokesperson said.
“Talagang pag-aaralan po ng Komisyon ang sinabi ng presidente, there’s a lot to unpack with the president’s statement and there’s a lot of work that would be in seeing to it na ma-satisfy po yung ating bayan at ang ating pangulo,” he added. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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