SC Nullifies COMELEC-Smartmatic Deal
May 2, 2015
BAGUIO CITY(PIA) — The Commission on Elections(Comelec) is now looking into other possible options to avoid a “no-election scenario” in 2016 after the Supreme Court nullified the contract between the Comelec and Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) last week.
The Supreme Court, during its summer session in Baguio City, granted the consolidated petitions filed by the Automated Elections System and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines against the Comelec-Smartmatic deal for the P300-million diagnostics and repair of the 80,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) for the 2016 polls.
Supreme Court Spokesperson Theodore Te said during a press briefing on Tuesday, the en banc ruled that the Comelec failed to justify the extended contract without public bidding. He said the SC decision was “immediately executory.”
“The petitions are granted. Comelec Resolution 9922 and the Extended Warranty Contract Program 1 are declared null and void,” said Te.
The SC said the Comelec “failed to justify its resort to direct contracting.”
The deal, inked last January 30, 2015 through direct contracting or single source procurement, is for the repair, refurbishment and maintenance of 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Count (PCOS) machines to be used in the 2016 national and local elections.
COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez said that at least two options is now being looked into for the 2016 elections.
“Right now, the task that really lies before the Comelec is to single out the one best option that would meet the needs of our electorate,” Jimenez said.
He said the poll body is studying the possibility of bidding out the contract for the refurbishment of the 81,000 PCOS machines.
A bidding process normally takes a period of 50 days up to two months. But given the time needed for the preparations, Jimenez said the commission may have sufficient reason to go into a truncated form of bidding.
Jimenez said the Comelec is also looking at adopting the Central Count Optical Scan system. This means that the 23,000 optical mark reader units will be placed in one central area where the ballots will then be read./RMC & Sheena Rosario-PIA CAR/ UC Intern