IT experts call Smartmatic dare on blacklisting

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A group of IT experts took up Smartmatic Philippines President Cesar Flores on his challenge for them to seek the help of the Supreme Court (SC) in stopping the telecommunications firm from bidding for procurement of electronic poll machines.

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Nelson Celis, IT expert and spokesman for Automated Election System (AES) Watch, on Thursday stood firm that they will ask the High Court to blacklist Smartmatic Philippines from joining the bidding for the acquisition of additional 23,000 automated election systems (AESs) for the 2016 polls.

Celis, however, refused to disclose when they are going to file the complaint.

On Tuesday, Smartmatic Philippines, provider of the 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in the 2010 and 2013 polls, said they welcome the decision of its critics to continue filing complaints against them before the court.

“We invite them to keep filing those cases. The Supreme Court has on two occasions ruled with finality that the contracts and the bids that Smartmatic [had]won were fair, legal and advantageous to the country,” Flores said in a statement on Tuesday.

He added that results of the automated elections in 2010 and 2013 were audited and the system was “proven to be accurate.”

But Celis was not convinced, saying Smartmatic Philippines should be blacklisted in the bidding because it delivered defective machines during the 2010 and 2013 automated elections.

He added that the multinational company has failed to comply with the election automation law or Republic Act (RA) 9369.

“They [Smartmatic] should be blacklisted for delivering defective machines and not complying with the law,” Celis told The Manila Times in a text message.

“They have to show proof that Jarltech is indeed a subsidiary of Smartmatic [Philippines] and that they own the Intellectual Property of the PCOS machines as they claimed and asserted during their bid submission before,” he said.

Dave Diwa, president of the National Labor Union, said Smartmatic should be banned and disqualified from participating in the bidding.

He pointed out that the “first step” toward clean and credible polls in 2016 is “to forever disqualify and to forever ban” Smartmatic Philippines from taking part in future Philippine elections.

In December this year, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold a bidding for the procurement of the 23,000 automated election systems.

Diwa, meanwhile, urged Filipinos to remain vigilant on the bidding of the additional AESs.

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