• CBCP ex-official backs call to blacklist Smartmatic

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    An outspoken and a former official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) backed calls to blacklist Smartmatic from any activity related to preparations for the 2016 presidential elections.
    Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said it is his “moral and natural obligation” to participate calls [to]disqualify the Smartmatic.

    Speaking at a meeting with the Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E), Cruz cited the “principle of participation,” which means safeguarding and promoting the rightful concerns and just interests of everyone involved.

    The Smartmatic, which provided the 80,000 Precinct Count Optical (PCOS) machines during the 2010 and 2013 elections, has been under fire from election watchdogs and advocacy groups for its alleged failure to safeguard the vote from fraud.

    According to the C3E, the Smartmatic was deceiving the people for misrepresenting itself as the manufacturer of the PCOS machines and the owner of the automated election system (AES) used in the two previous elections.

    The Comelec’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) has junked C3E’s petition to disqualify the Smartmatic from the bidding.

    “The complainants are not duly authorized observers as far as this BAC is concerned,” the resolution stated.

    BAC chief Helen Aguila-Flores on Thursday said the current committee is not an “authority or [a]power” to rule on the C3E complaint, which was filed before the old BAC.

    However, she said that the watchdog can still appeal the ruling either before the Comelec en banc or the Supreme Court.

    In another development, Archibald de Mata, legal counsel for Indra Sistemas S.A., has submitted evidence against the Smartmatic-TIM’s articles of incorporation which he said confirm that its primary purpose was “for the automation of the 2010 national and local elections.”

    Smartmatic-TIM has filed a disqualification case against Indra Sistemas for failure to submit several bidding requirements.

    Smartmatic Asia president Cesar Flores said that in 2009, Indra Sistemas entered a bid of P11 billion, which is 33 percent higher than the approved budget.

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