Comelec open to negotiated PCOS deal
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will consider a negotiated contract for the refurbishment and repair of the old precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the 2016 balloting should the public bidding for the P3.13-billion project fail a second time.
Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the election body was pushing through with the second round of bidding for the project, but it might enter into a negotiated contract if it would be unsuccessful.
“That’s one of the possibilities we are also looking at. This is the second round, so if it fails, we can already go into direct contracting,” he said at a recent press briefing, noting that this was allowed under the Government Procurement Act.
Under Section 53 of the law, a procuring entity is allowed to directly negotiate a contract with a “technically, legally and financially capable supplier” after two failed bidding rounds for a project.
Bautista also said that with less than a year to go before the May 9 national elections, resorting to a negotiated contract might be necessary. He did not identify which technology provider the Comelec might tap for the refurbishment project.
Early this year, the Comelec under then Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. entered into an extended warranty deal with Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. for the repair and upgrading of 82,000 PCOS machines.
This was later junked by the Supreme Court, which said the Comelec failed to justify its resort to direct contracting with the Venezuelan firm. But the high court said the PCOS machines could still be reused in the upcoming elections.
Following the high court’s ruling, the Comelec conducted a bidding for the refurbishment project but eventually declared it a failure after no technology provider submitted a bid to the commission’s special bids and awards committee.
Bautista earlier noted that the reduction of the budget for the contract from P2.88 billion to P2.074 billion might have made the project unattractive for potential technology providers.
Last week, the election body announced it had increased the budget to P3.3 billion and rescheduled a new prebid conference at 2 p.m. Monday at the Comelec main headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.
Bids for the refurbishment project are set to be opened and submitted on Aug. 1.
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