Another former election official has joined the call for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to bid out the contract for the repair of 80,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that will be recycled for the 2016 elections.
Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal on Friday urged the poll body to drop its plan for a negotiated deal with the Smartmatic, who had supplied the PCOS machines in the past two elections.
Larrazabal said Smartmatic was not in a position to offer a warranty for repairing the machines. “It should be bidded out . . . they need to be transparent,” he said.
“Smartmatic is not the one who manufactured the machines. If they are not the manufacturers how can they warranty the machines that they did not produce?” he said.
Larrazabal, who was the Comelec commissioner in charge of the 2010 automated elections, said it would benefit the government if the poll body will conduct a bidding and invite the Taiwan-based manufacturer of the PCOS.
Commissioner Lucenito Tagle has announced that the poll body had moved to Tuesday its regular en banc session in which it would decide whether to tap Smartmatic again or to have a public bidding.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. favors contracting Smartmatic again for the repair of the PCOS machines but he still has to consult with Comelec legal department to determine if a bidding is required.
A staunch critic of the poll body, the Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E), is convinced that the delay in deciding is an excuse by the Comelec to justify a negotiated deal with Smartmatic.
C3E spokesperson Dave Diwa said “it is incumbent upon the Comelec to first act on our complaint before it could even proceed with considering Smartmatic as a qualified service provider to refurbish the PCOS machines.”
On Monday, the group of Diwa filed a complaint before the Comelec to blacklist the Smartmatic, saying it is “guilty of misrepresentation” when it claimed that the manufacturer of PCOS machines, Taiwan-based Jarltech, was its subsidiary.
“For the past two elections, we’ve been made fools by Smartmatic. We ask the Comelec to reconsider its stance on the blacklisting of Smartmatic,” Diwa said.