Comelec disqualifies Smartmatic anew from bidding for new machines
MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has again disqualified Smartmatic International and Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. from participating in the bidding for the lease of voting machines for next year’s elections.
In a May 5 resolution, the Comelec’s bidding and awards committee (BAC) disqualified Smartmatic-TIM during the post-qualification evaluation stage of the bidding process for the lease of 23,000 Optical Mark Reader (OMR) units.
The Comelec BAC cited Smartmatic-TIM’s failure to submit valid articles of incorporation as well as the failure of its demo unit to meet the Comelec’s technical requirements.
The Comelec BAC requires the election system to have at least two storage devices and the capability to write in them all the data, audit logs, statistics and ballot images simultaneously.
“Considering that this is the first competitive public bidding for the lease of the Election Management System (EMS) and precinct-based OMR or optical scan system, and there being no valid bid proposal tendered, the BAC resolves to declare a failure for this first competitive public bidding,” the Comelec BAC concluded.
The Comelec BAC also decided to continue the suspension of the second bidding for the lease of the EMS and OMR subject to a mandatory review of the project.
Reacting to the disqualification, Smartmatic Asia-Pacific president Cesar Flores expressed surprise at the decision of the BAC. “As far as we are concerned, we know that we have complied with all the requirements and are 100 percent certain that we have passed all the technical tests,” Flores said.
He said a motion for reconsideration has been filed with the BAC to appeal Smartmatic-TIM’s post-disqualification.
“We are confident that it will eventually see that we are, in fact, post-qualified,” Flores said.
Smartmatic-TIM was disqualified in February when it filed a “nonresponsive” bid where several items in its financial proposal had no price offers. It filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the Comelec BAC and which prompted the firm to file a protest with the commission.
The Comelec lifted the firm’s disqualification and revived the first round of bidding on March 26 which paved the way for the post-qualification evaluation on Smartmatic-TIM’s bid as the lowest calculated bidder.
Smartmatic supplied the 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in recent elections and was awarded in January a P268-million contract for the maintenance and repair of the units they had supplied.
The Comelec plans to use the 82,000 PCOS machines, supplemented by 23,000 OMR and 410 Direct Recording Electronic units, in the May 2016 elections.
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