Watchdog group opposes more poll machines from Smartmatic
MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been urged to ban Smartmatic-TIM from bidding to supply some 23,000 additional precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines, worth over P2 billion, and servicing the 82,000 units bought earlier from the company, which will cost the government another P1.2 billion.
The call was made by the newly formed Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections, or C3E coalition, which warned “there is a great possibility of a large-scale electronic manipulation of the 2016 presidential election if Smartmatic-TIM remains the supplier of the automated election system.”
In a statement, a copy of which was furnished the Inquirer, the coalition, which includes IT experts from both public and private firms and corruption watchdog organizations, cited “documented technical glitches and PCOS-related irregularities during the 2010 and 2013 elections.”
Hermenegildo Estrella Jr., one of the C3E leaders, belied the firm’s claim of being a global leader in the manufacture and supply of automated voting machines.
“Smartmatic is a mere reseller and not a manufacturer of automated election systems,” he said.
Sought for comment, Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes brushed aside the allegations, saying: “If we are favoring Smartmatic, we could have easily entered into a negotiated contract with the company, but we didn’t.”–Jerry E. Esplanada
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