Smartmatic disqualified to preserve integrity of electoral process — Comelec
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said it disqualified Smartmatic Philippines Inc. from all its procurement activities “to preserve the integrity of the electoral process” in the country.
“We disqualified Smartmatic because we want them to preserve the integrity of the electoral process,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia said in a press conference.
Garcia made the pronouncement after being asked to clarify if Smartmatic was disqualified because of its involvement in the bribery charges filed against former Comelec chief Andres Bautista.
According to Garcia, while Comelec maintained that there were no irregularities in the results of the elections since 2010, it disqualified Smartmatic because it cannot “close its eyes” on the current issues hounding Smartmatic.
“Napakaraming issues; the Comelec cannot close its eyes to the reality that there are several issues pertaining to the integrity and credibility of the said company,” said Garcia.
(There are numerous issues; the Comelec cannot ignore the reality that there are several concerns regarding the integrity and credibility of the said company.)
“Therefore kung pababayaan namin ‘yan, maq-question po kasi ‘yung integrity ng buong proseso. (Therefore, if we let that pass, the integrity of the entire process may be questioned.) The Comelec cannot take that risk, election is a matter of perception therefore not only should the commission be credible and its people, but all other means and modes we are using should likewise be credible,” he added.
Bautista had been charged with money laundering, conspiracy and bribery by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), alleging that he received bribe money from top executives of Smartmatic in exchange for assistance to bag the Comelec contract.
Both Bautista and Smartmatic, however, have since denied the allegations.