Comelec orders Smartmatic to comment on DQ petitions
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has ordered Smartmatic Corp. to submit its comment on the multiple petitions for its disqualification (DQ) in subsequent polls due to alleged irregularities in vote transmission.
In an order released to the media on Friday, the en banc directed Smartmatic to comment on the petitions within five days from receipt of the memo. It also scheduled the hearing of the case on Oct. 17.
The move comes nearly four months after the first petition to review the qualifications of Smartmatic was filed on June 16 by former Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., former Comelec Chair Gus Lagman, former Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines president Franklin Ysaac and retired Col. Leonardo Odoño.
The groups questioned the eligibility of UK-based Smartmatic to participate in the procurement as provider of an automated election system and vote-counting machines (VCMs) in 2025 and subsequent polls.
It cited “failure to comply with certain minimum system capabilities” that led to “serious and grave irregularities” in the transmission and receipt of election returns (ERs).
In its supplemental petition filed on June 29, the petitioners found that an alleged illegal private internet protocol (IP) network was used in transmitting the ERs to the transparency server of Comelec.
They also noted that a “staggering” 20 million votes, or around 37.5 percent of all votes cast, had already been counted within the first hour, all of which allegedly came from a private IP address.