Watchdog group wants to blacklist Smartmatic

By , on December 18, 2014

PCOS Maching. Photo from Yugatech.
PCOS Maching. Photo from Yugatech.

MANILA – An election watchdog group is now eyeing to blacklist Smartmatic from participating in the 2016 presidential balloting.

The group, however, may have to direct their petition to the higher courts as the Commission on Elections’ bids and awards committee (BAC) announced that they would no longer entertain petitions.

The Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E) has earlier appealed to the committee to reconsider its claim to prevent the Venezuelan-based firm from any participation in the coming presidential elections.

Smartmatic, was the country’s provider of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, used during the first automated elections in 2010 and in the succeeding balloting.

The Comelec committee, however said that they have decided not take any action on the group’s petition.

“We took note of the motion for reconsideration and decided not to take any further action…. [which means], we did not entertain the appeal to blacklist Smartmatic,” Helen Flores, chair of the Comelec-BAC, told a press briefing on Tuesday.

The decision was based on earlier ruling which denied the C3E coalition’s petition.

“We denied the first petition due course already and the appropriate action to a motion for reconsideration is also to take no further action,” she pointed out.

The group was then advised to raise the matter to other courts like the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or the Commission en banc.

Meanwhile, Hermenegildo Estrella Jr., one of the leaders of the newly formed coalition, said they are no longer surprised with the Comelec’s decision and that they are now eyeing to go raise their petitions to the Supreme Court.

“More or less, we expected that because it appears to us that the decision has already been made to really (push for) Smartmatic whatever happens,” said Estrella, adding that the group will proceed with its legal actions against the firm.

“We will go, if necessary, up to the Supreme Court to do that,” he said.