THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is proceeding next week with the bidding for the supply of 23,000 brand-new precinct-based Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines as a result of the disqualification last month of lone and winning bidder Smartmatic Corp.
Comelec spokesman and Director James Jimenez on Friday disclosed that five firms have signified their intention to participate–Smartmatic, Indra Sistemas S.A., Sysco, Miru and Agan, Montenegro, Malasag & Co.
“Those five companies bought the bid documents but as to whether they will submit their bid offers will be known on Tuesday,” Jimenez told The Manila Times.
The OMR project was bidded out last March with Smartmatic declared as winner.
The BAC, however, disqualified Smartmatic during the post-qualification process for its failure to submit valid articles of incorporation and for failure of its demo unit to meet the requirement that the system shall have at least two storage devices, and shall be capable of writing in the same all data/files, audit log, statistics and ballot images simultaneously.
The post-qualification evaluation is a verification process to determine if Smartmatic has complied with all legal and technical requirements.
The 23,000 OMR machines were supposed to augment the 82,000 units of PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines, also supplied by Smartmatic.
But the use of the PCOS machines was sidetracked by a Supreme Court (SC) decision that voided the P268-million “midnight deal” between Comelec and Smarmatic for the diagnostics, repair and refurbishments of the machines.
The SC decision has prompted the Comelec to call for parallel bidding for the supply of another 80,000 units of OMR and the refurbishment of the 82,000 PCOS machines.
The new OMR project is worth P7.867 billion and P2.88 billion for the PCOS or a total approved budget contract of P10.747 billion.
But only one of the two projects will be used by the Comelec for the 2016 elections.
Jimenez also isclosed that aside from Smartmatic, there were others firms that have signified their intention to join the bidding.
He identified the firms that wanted to participate for the lease with option to purchase of the 80,000 OMRs as Smartmatic, Indra and Dermalog, while for the PCOS refurbishment, those interested were Smarmatic, Indra and Vertex.
On June 29 and 30, the Comelec will proceed with the opening of bids for the OMR and the PCOS projects.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista earlier said the commission would award the “notice to proceed” not later than the end of July, which comes after the contract is awarded and decision is made on which of the two options is more advantageous to the government.