Poll watchdog groups want deal on PCOS held | Inquirer News

Poll watchdog groups want deal on PCOS held



MANILA, Philippines–Poll watchdog groups have asked for the deferment of the award of the P300-million negotiated contract with Smartmatic for the refurbishment of 82,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines until after the retirement of Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes and Commissioners Elias Yusoph and Lucenito Tagle.

The Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E) and Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) also asked the outgoing officials to inhibit themselves from “any long-term decision-making, especially on critical issues involving the questionable counting accuracy of the Smartmatic-provided PCOS machines out of a sense of propriety and delicadeza.”


In a Jan. 13 letter to the Comelec en banc, C3E and AES Watch said the poll body should “give the incoming chairman and commissioners the prerogative to exercise their decision over this very critical matter as they also have the right and duty to review the contract for they are the ones who will be there to see it materialize and be accountable to.”


The groups reiterated their position that Smartmatic “be banned from participating in current and future election procurement processes on the basis of numerous accounts of ownership misrepresentation and non-compliance with election and government procurement laws,” among other reasons.

C3E and AES Watch said the award of the deal to Smartmatic “smacked of a midnight deal and cutting corners, citing unacceptable reasons that compromise the provisions of the government procurement and election laws.”

They said the poll body should have bid out the entirety of the PCOS refurbishment contract and that “its argument of a lack of time and Smartmatic [having] exclusivity over the PCOS is highly arguable and questionable”.

They also urged the Comelec to allow its IT experts and their counterparts from other government agencies to “participate democratically and help develop appropriate election systems and technology in promoting the right of suffrage.”

The letter’s signatories include former Comelec commissioner Augusto Lagman, former national treasurer Leonor Briones, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Sister Mary John Mananzan, Makabayan secretary-general Nathaniel Santiago, former Gabriela party-list representaitve Liza Masa and Philippine Computer Society president Edmundo Casiño, among others.

In the statement, C3E co-convenor Hermenegildo Estrella Jr. and Alain Pascua of Kaakbay Citizens’ Development Initiatives said they would “exhaust all avenues for action and will be filing a case before the Supreme Court to seek the cancellation of Smartmatic’s negotiated contract with the Comelec.”

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TAGS: AES Watch, C3E, Comelec, Elections, PCOS machines

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