Comelec set to rule on who’ll service PCOS machines
MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to hand down by Tuesday its decision on whether to bid out a contract to refurbish 80,000 voting machines or tap technology partner Smartmatic International for the job. Smartmatic claims to have exclusive rights over the equipment it had sold to the Comelec.
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the commission en banc may promulgate a resolution on the matter in a meeting Tuesday, although he had earlier hinted that the commissioners would be split on the decision.
“The resolution is already being passed around. We have had meetings in the en banc on this issue since last week. So we might issue the resolution on Tuesday,” said Brillantes in an interview with reporters on Friday.
He said the commission was also looking into the “many issues” being raised about the true manufacturer of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. “We are investigating that … we are considering everything before deciding.”
Earlier, Cesar Flores, Smartmatic president for Asia, maintained that Smartmatic had the exclusive rights over the PCOS machines, and that therefore it had sole authority to refurbish the equipment for the 2016 presidential elections.
Flores also said the Comelec would benefit much if the contract was awarded to the Venezuelan firm since it had exclusive rights over the voting machines’ parts. In addition, the Comelec, he said, would not have to seek a recertification if new software were needed for some of the parts.
The PCOS machines, which the Comelec purchased from Smartmatic for P1.2 billion, were first used in the 2010 general elections.
The same machines were used in the 2013 midterm elections but critics questioned their reliability and accuracy, citing glitches.–Jocelyn R. Uy