Senate to probe Comelec deal with Smartmatic

By on January 16, 2015


Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. (left) presents the proposed Comelec Budget for 2015 during the House Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday (Sept. 4, 2014) at the House of Representatives in Batasan Hills, Quezon City. In right photo is Palawan 3rd District Rep. Douglas S. Hagedorn. (PNA photos by Gil S. Calinga)
Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. (left) presents the proposed Comelec Budget for 2015 during the House Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday (Sept. 4, 2014) at the House of Representatives in Batasan Hills, Quezon City. In right photo is Palawan 3rd District Rep. Douglas S. Hagedorn. (PNA photos by Gil S. Calinga)

MANILA – Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III said the joint congressional oversight on automated election system will ask the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to explain a deal it signed with Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. for the repair of the 82,000 existing precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

”My oversight committee will conduct hearing in February and we will ask Comelec to explain formally,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel said the Comelec should have allowed other companies to bid for the refurbishment of the 82,000 PCOS machines that will be used in the 2016 national elections.

”It’s just like when you bought a Toyota car, you’re not required to have Toyota repair it all the time. You can ask anybody even your neighbors who are knowledgeable to repair it. How come it should be Smartmatic only,” Pimentel explained.

Pimentel also questioned the Php300 million contract with Smartmatic to diagnose the PCOS machines that were used in the 2010 and 2013 automated elections.

According to reports, an additional Php1.2 billion will be spent for the actual refurbishment of the machines. It was denied by the Comelec.

”How come the amount is so large. There should be economies of scale. There are 82,000 machines. If you will buy 82,000 parts, the cost per part should be lower compared to when you buy only 10 parts,” he said.

Several groups have questioned in the Supreme Court what they described as a ‘midnight’ deal signed a few months before the retirement of Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes.

Smartmtic-TIM won the bidding to supply the 80,000 PCOS machines used in the country’s first automated elections in 2010 and the additional 2,000 machines in the 2013 mid-term elections.