SC asked to stop Comelec’s deal with Smartmatic

By , on January 29, 2015

Smartmatic PCOS machine (Comrade Mijur / Technically Juris on Blogspot)
Smartmatic PCOS machine (Comrade Mijur / Technically Juris on Blogspot)

MANILA — Poll watchdog groups asked the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to stop the Commission on Elections from partnering with Smartmatic Corp. for the automated election system (AES) for next year.

A temporary restraining order seeking to stop Comelec from bidding the contract for 2016 was filed by several watchdog groups led by Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E)

Comelec’s decision denying their petition to blacklist Smartmatic was questioned by the group.

They added that the firm has committed “misinterpretations” and violated its obligations under the 2010 AES contract.

According to the group, Smartmatic -Total Information Management (TIM) consortium misinterpreted several information on its qualification statements upon its submission of a single largest contract in under the Smartmatic International Holdings, B.V. and/or a subsidiary of the latter, Smartmatic Deployment Corp., and in claiming that Jarltech International Corp. was its subsidiary.

“Smartmatic-TIM failed to comply with the provisions of its automation contract with Comelec when it grossly misrepresented that it can provide the Comelec with a customized system, upgrades to and replacement of systems because it was not the owner of the PCOS technology,” read the petition. “Smartmatic was a mere licensee which needed the assistance of Dominion.”

They added that the 20-percent maximum allowable limit for subcontracting arrangements under Republic Act No. 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act was violated by Smartmatic.

They also accused the elections commission and its Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of committing grave abuse of discretion because of dismissing their initial petition to blacklist Smartmatic.

“Petitioners have a legitimate right or interest over the propriety of the bidding of contracts by the Comelec and the performance or execution thereof,” read the petition.

“Petitioners are taxpayers, they are also voters, and members of party-list organizations and cause-oriented groups.

“Needless to stress, petitioners are stakeholders of the previous and/or upcoming elections. They have all the reasons to cry for justice, fairness and equity.”