The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will decide within the week whether to award a contract to repair 80,000 old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to Smartmatic, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said on Tuesday.
The counting machines were used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
While Brillantes admitted that he personally wants Smartmatic to get the contract because the company provided the PCOS machines, he noted that the majority decision will prevail.
According to the Comelec chief, he is waiting for written positions of the poll body’s commissioners regarding the matter before coming up with the decision.
“Wala pa kaming consensus [There is no consensus]. We have discussed this in an executive session, but I am still waiting for the respective written positions of the commissioners on this,” Brillantes said in an interview.
He added that the poll body will make the decision within the week to give ample time for the repair of the PCOS machines.
The Comelec’s law department recently issued a legal opinion saying the commission can grant Smartmatic an extended warranty if the company can prove that it is the only one capable of repairing the old PCOS machines.
If exclusivity cannot be proven by the company, the Comelec has no choice but to bid out the contract.
Cesar Flores, the Smartmatic president for Asia, maintained that they have the exclusive rights over the PCOS machines since they are the manufacturers of the voting technology.
He said their legal dispute with Dominion Voting Systems on their licensing agreement has been settled, thereby giving Smartmatic “unlimited and perpetual access” to the former’s technology, including the PCOS machines.