Bayan Muna: Smartmatic should be ‘banned perpetually’
MANILA, Philippines — Venezuelan-based firm Smartmatic should “not only be disqualified but perpetually banned” as the provider of the vote counting machines (VCMs) for the next automated elections, Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate of the Bayan Muna party-list group said on Saturday.
“Instead of further indulging this anomaly of a corporation, the ‘Smartmatic virus’ should be purged forever from our electoral process,” Zarate said in a statement.
Zarate’s reaction came after President Rodrigo Duterte urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to junk Smartmatic and look for a new provider that would be “free of fraud.”
“There are questions hanging in the awarding of the contract to Smartmatic,” Zarate said. “Was there a serious and thorough vetting process made beforehand, when the Comelec first awarded the automated election system contract to Smartmatic in the 2010 national elections?”
“Was there a serious and complete vetting process subsequently, and even now? It appears as though Smartmatic is a Comelec officials’ favorite,” Zarate added.
With the “serious doubt of legitimacy” surrounding the tech firm that arose in past elections, the 2022 presidential elections would be placed in “potential jeopardy and perilous state,” he said.
Bayan Muna previously said that it would “seriously push” for a hybrid manual-automated election system in the next polls.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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