Group accuses Comelec of favoring Smartmatic
MANILA, Philippines — An anti-graft and corruption group accused the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of favoring Smartmatic-TIM even if it had been disqualified from bidding for the new Optical Mark Reader (OMR) and Direct Recording Electronic (DRE).
In a 15-page manifestation, the Anti Trapo Movement led by Leon Peralta said the conditions in the “Lease with Option to Purchase of Election Management System (EMS) and Precinct-Based Optical Mark Reader (OMR) or Optical Scan (Op-Scan) system for the 2016 national and local elections procurement project were tailor-made to favor Smartmatic.
Currently, several petitions including that of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines seek the disqualification and blacklisting of Smartmatic. These also seek the nullification of the contract for the refurbishment and repair of the vote-counting machines that will be used in the 2016 elections.
On February 25, 2015, the Comelec Bids and Awards Committee disqualified Smartmatic and Indra Sistemas. Both filed motions for reconsideration but these were denied by the Bids and Awards Committee which declared thus declaring the undertaking a “Failure of Bidding”.
On March 6, 2015, an invitation to bid was posted for the second rounds of bidding.
“Notably, no change in the previous eligibility conditions were made by the Comelec Bids and Awards Committee despite knowing that there were only two proponents which participated in the first round of bidding.
“We take not that in most biddings undertaken by other procuring agencies, if only to entice more proponents to participate, the period given for such completed contracts is usually ten years. So why is the Comelec Bids and Awards Committee restricting this period to only six,” the group asked.
The group said Comelec should entice more participants to join the bid given that there are at least 15 major OMR manufacturers with its own EMS all over the world, and not necessarily merely traders or integrators like Smartmatic which can participate and compete in the bidding if only the Comelec Bids and Awards Committee.
The approved budget for the contract for the DRE is P31.2 million while the OMR contract is worth P2.5 billion.
Submission of bids for both OMR and DRE will be on March 30, at the BAC Secretariat office located at Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.