Comelec dismisses losing bidder’s ‘drama’
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed as “drama” the allegations of a losing bidder that the poll body favoured another company for the purchase of Compact Flash (CF) Cards to be used for the May 2013 automated elections.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. dismissed the allegations of Norlito Domantay, chief executive officer of LDLA Marketing, saying they were just creating drama because they feel their appeal before the Supreme Court questioning the poll body’s decision was going to be junked.
Domantay said in a press conference Friday that Comelec had purposely failed the bidding for 82,200 CF cards for the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines so that it could go into negotiated bidding with Smartmatic, which supplies the PCOS machines.
Domantay said that even though LDLA had the lowest bid of P33.5 million, lower than the P46.5 million budget for the contract, the company was disqualified. Smartmatic, which had a bid of P50.9 million, still won the bid. He said that Smartmatic was even told to lower its bid to meet the approved budget.
“I’m just a small businessman, but I don’t like fooling around. I’d like to think we won the bid fair and square,” he told reporters.
“My impression is, they are making drama by violating the sub judice rule, they should not be discussing the very case they filed before the Supreme Court, maybe they know that nothing will happen there that’s why they called for a press conference,” Brillantes told reporters in an interview.
“But it’s okay with me, everyone who lost is always like that,” he said.
LDLA Marketing had also not exhausted all administrative means and went to the Supreme Court directly, deviating from the legal procedures, Brillantes added.
“They went up to the Supreme Court even though they have not filed a protest [in the Comelec] … they could have protested before going up to the Supreme Court,” Brillantes said.
“I don’t know if the Supreme Court has jurisdiction, this is an administrative procurement process which they could have brought to a regular trial court,” he said.
Brillantes reiterated that “there was never any violation of the procurement law,” because they had gone to the negotiated bidding only after two failed biddings. Under a negotiated bid, they were no longer focused on the price but in the quality of what they were procuring, Brillantes said.
The CF Cards of the LDLA Marketing were only two gigabytes in size making them cheaper while those of Smartmatic were four gigabytes, Brillantes said.
“The contract calls for two gigabytes … but since there are four gigabytes, which is better, why would we go for the two gigabytes?” Brillantes said. “This is the very soul of the PCOS machine.”
He said that they were meticulous in following all the rules and laws because they know there will always be many complaints from the losers.
“We want to check who this LDLA really is and why are they always making noise. They could have asked for a protest and we could have considered it, instead they went directly to the Supreme Court,” Brillantes said.
“And then when nothing is happening in the Supreme Court they will go to the press,” he added.