Comelec ruling on Smartmatic DQ case out this week | Inquirer News

Comelec ruling on Smartmatic DQ case out this week

/ 04:55 AM November 05, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will decide this week whether it would allow Smartmatic Corp., a longtime poll technology provider in the country, to join the procurement this month of new voting machines for the 2025 polls.

According to Comelec Chair George Garcia, the en banc is expected to issue by Wednesday its resolution on the multiple petitions filed against Smartmatic Corp. for its failure to meet “minimum capabilities” that led to alleged irregularities in the transmission and receipt of votes in the May 2022 national elections.


“We want the disqualification case against Smartmatic to be resolved before we open the [bidding]. The position of both parties had been clear during the hearing, therefore the en banc is properly guided already,” he said on Friday. The hearing of the case was held on Oct. 17.


A pre-bidding conference will be held on Monday to give ample time for the opening of bid proposals by Nov. 20, noted Garcia.“We will be very transparent,” vowed Garcia on the procurement activities for the vote-counting machines (VCMs) that will be used in subsequent elections.

The alleged lack of transparency that supposedly allowed “suspicious” movements in the transmission of poll results last year using the old VCMs from UK-based Smartmatic formed the basis of the three petitions filed by “TNTrio,” a group of information technology experts led by former Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. The other petitioners were former Comelec Chair Gus Lagman, former Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines president Franklin Ysaac and retired Col. Leonardo Odoño.

In alleging that the results of the 2022 polls were “rigged,” the group cited as evidence the “illegal use” of a single internet protocol (IP) address in transmitting election returns (ERs) to the transparency server of the Comelec.

They also pointed out 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.

“If Comelec is claiming that the 2022 election was clean, honest, and accurate, why can’t Smartmatic, who was paid P1.053 billion for the transmissions of all (ERs), explain the single use of IP Address for 20,300 devices in a private network that can accommodate more than 17 million private IP addresses?” Rio asked in an Oct. 25 post on Facebook. ]

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TAGS: Commission on Elections, Smartmatic

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