Comelec: Source code review to start soon
The review and certification of the source code of the automated election system (AES) to be used in the 2016 elections will start soon, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the poll body is set to sign Friday the source code certification contract with SLI Global Solutions (also known as Systems Lab/Systest Labs), which will then immediately proceed with the initial steps of reviewing the AES source code.
“Smartmatic–Total Information Management Corp. (the supplier of the electronic election system) will turn over to us the base source code, which we will turn over to Systems Lab,” said Lim, who is the chair of the Comelec steering committee for the 2016 elections.
The source code is the program instructions that will define how the AES will operate.
Lim explained that Systems Lab was chosen from among four companies recommended by the Comelec advisory council and technical evaluation committee.
“What happened was a limited source bidding… four were invited, two submitted bids. And between the two, Systems Lab offered the cheapest price for its services,” he said.
Under the Government Procurement Reform Act (Republic Act No. 9184), limited source bidding is a “method of procurement that involves direct invitation to bid by the procuring entity from a set of preselected suppliers or consultants with known experience and proven capability relative to the requirements of a particular contract.”
“The international certification industry is a very regulated industry. Only a few can conduct the certification,” Lim said.
The contract with Systems Lab costs $766,000 (approximately P35 million), while the approved budget for the project is P50 million, according to Lim.
He said the Systems Lab offer was $80,000 lower compared to that of another participant in the limited source bidding conducted for the project by the technical evaluation committee.
Aside from making a lower offer, Systems Lab also conducted the certification process for the source code during the 2010 and 2013 polls, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista noted.
“Their price offer is lower, they are already familiar [with the source code]… That’s why we chose them,” said Bautista.
The Poll Automation Law provides that the technical evaluation committee certify, through an established international certification entity, that the AES, including its hardware and software components, is operating properly, securely and accurately, in accordance with the law.—Tina G. Santos
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