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Smartmatic, Comelec told to answer suits

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM (Total Information Management) to comment on two petitions challenging the bidding for the refurbishment of voting machines and the lease of optical mark readers (OMRs) for the 2016 elections.

The high tribunal gave the respondents 10 days to comment on the petitions that both question the parallel bidding to supply technology critical to automated elections, “without necessarily giving due course” to the two pleas.

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The first case—filed by eight members of the clergy, former Sen. Francisco Tatad, former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong, and former Manila councilor and senatorial candidate Greco Belgica—asks the Supreme Court to stop the enforcement of Comelec Resolution No. 15-044.

That resolution cancelled the P32-million lease of the Election Management System and the Precinct-Based Direct Recording Electronic system, and the P727-million procurement of the Voter Verification System.

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It also “realigned the Comelec’s unobligated balances from its 2014 maintenance and other operating expenses for SK registration and elections to its capital outlay requirement for 2016,” the high court said.

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TAGS: bidding, Comelec, Elections, OMRs, petitions, Smartmatic, Supreme Court, voting machines
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