Only two electronic companies submitted bids for the P2-billion automated election systems for the holding of the 2016 national and local elections, the Commission on Elections said on Thursday.
Comelec bids and awards committee chairperson Helen Aguila-Flores said that five firms earlier signified intention to join the poll automation but only Smartmatic-TIM Corporation and Indra Sistemas have presented their bids. The deal offered by Comelec is for the lease of election management system (EMS) and Precinct-based optical mark reader (OMR) or Optical Scan System.
The other firms, E-Konek Pilipinas Incorporated, Election Systems & Software and Miru Systems Co. Ltd., did not submit their bids before the December 3, 2014 deadline.
During the opening of the sealed bids, the Comelec- bids and awards committee denied the petition of poll watchdogs to blacklist technology provider Smartmatic from the public bidding for additional voting machines for the 2016 elections.
Flores said the nine groups which sought to ban Smartmatic have no legal personality to initiate blacklisting.
Among the complainants is the Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E), which alleged that Smartmatic committed misrepresentation of certain information in its qualification statements.
In the resolution, the BAC also ruled that the complaint is premature, because Smartmatic has yet to submit eligibility documents at the time of the issuance of the resolution.
The Comelec official said that BAC’s authority to blacklist a bidder is applicable only to the bidding processes for Comelec’s electoral activities this year and for the 2016 polls.
Meanwhile, Smartmatic Asia Pacific president Cesar Flores welcomed the decision to reject the blacklisting, saying that it was only a publicity stunt by groups which don’t want them to participate.
“The complainants didn’t even take it seriously. They were not qualified to file the petition, they didn’t follow the legal procedures,” Flores said.
“More importantly, as I’ve mentioned before, these are issues rehashed from 5 and a half years ago that were answered by the Supreme Court on two occasions.”
However, a group continue to call for the disqualification of Smartmatic in joining the bidding process and in future elections.
The National Labor Union (NLU) said that Comelec has “become a patron of Smartmatic-TIM.”
The group claimed that the bid rules and project specifications are lopsidedly in favor of Smartmatic that would ensure total control of the entire electoral process by the company.