Smartmatic protests disqualification from Comelec bidding
MANILA, Philippines – Election technology provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corporation has filed a protest at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc to seek the reversal of its disqualification in the bidding for the lease of new voting machines that will be used for the 2016 elections.
The protest came after the Comelec-Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) denied the motion for reconsideration earlier filed by Smartmatic-TIM on its disqualification in the second stage of the public bidding for both the DRE and OMR projects.
In its protest, Smartmatic-TIM asked the Comelec en banc to overrule the poll body’s Bids and Awards Committee’s (BAC) decision and declare the company as a qualified bidder for the lease of the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) and Direct Recording Electronic (DRE).
“Smartmatic-TIM respectfully prays that this Honorable Committee reverse respondent BAC’s resolution and declare the Smartmatic joint venture as qualified to participate in the second stage of the two-stage competitive bidding for the lease of the (OMR and DRE),” said Smartmatic-TIM.
Last February 25, the Comelec-BAC disqualified the multinational company after it submitted a non-responsive bid that featured several items left with “blank” price offers in their financial proposals.
In its protests, Smartmatic-TIM used the dissenting opinions of BAC members lawyer Divina Blas-Perez and Charlie Yap in their disqualification.
According to Smartmatic-TIM, Yap’s position should be reconsidered after he said that placing “-“ for an item should mean that it is already being offered for free to the government.
The company said the opinion of Yap was consistent with the issuances of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB).
“The BAC disqualifies a consultant if it provides for a required item but does not indicate a price for it and is thus deemed as non-compliant, except that if it specifies a ‘0’ (zero) or a ‘-‘ (dash) for the said item, it would be deemed as having offered the item for free to the government,” Smartmatic-TIM quoted the GPPB as saying.
It also noted that Blas-Perez saw the “totality” of the bid of Smartmatic-TIM as the detailed costing of the items supposedly left “blank” show that “zeros” have been placed.
“Based on the financial proposal breakdown of each component, the respondent BAC can easily confirm the Smartmatic joint venture’s pricing, which is consistent with the Overall Summary,” stressed Smartmatic-TIM.
Last week, the Comelec–BAC issued separate invitations to bid (ITBs) for the second round of bidding for the lease of 410 DRE units and 23,000 OMR machines.
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