The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday assured that it will hold an impartial bidding for the acquisition of 23,000 automated election system (AES) machines that will be used for the 2016 elections.
Helen Flores, head of the Comelec’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), said all bidders will get fair treatment.
So far, five companies are interested in joining the bidding—Smartmatic Asia, Indra Sistemas; E-Konek Pilipinas, Inc; Election Systems and Software; and Miru Systems Co. Ltd.
“As far as any services and goods that we have been mandated to procure are concerned, you can be assured that this committee will be fair to all prospective bidders,” Flores said.
She issued the statement because of allegations that Smartmatic may have an edge because the multinational company provided the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used for the 2010 and 2013 automated elections.
But Flores maintained that the poll body will not favor anyone. She explained that the specifications in the Terms of References (TORs) for the bidding process were based on what the law dictates.
“The specifications do not favor any single bidder. Our basis is the law. They (bidders) are on equal footing,” she stressed.
“Of course, it only happened that Smartmatic had provided [PCOS] in the past. But the other companies had also provided to other election management bodies in other countries,” she added.
Smartmatic Philippines President César Flores admitted that they want to join the bidding.
“We are a world leader in the provision of both types of voting machines, the OMR and the DRE. None of our competitors have manufactured and produced more electronic voting machines than Smartmatic,” he said.
“We have bought the bid documents, and are currently studying the requirements of Comelec. Once we have understood the requirements, we will decide on our participation,” he added.