The Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E) on Monday formally asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to blacklist Smartmatic from participating in all election-related activities in the country.
In a 33-page petition, the C3E asked the Comelec’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) to blacklist Smartmatic and its local partner, Total Information Management Corp. (TIMC), from joining the bidding for the procurement of 23,000 automated election systems (AESs) to be used in the 2016 presidential elections.
The group said Smartmatic-TIM Corp., Smartmatic International Corp. and TIMC should be barred from all government procurement projects for at least two years.
C3E spokesperson Dave Diwa said they want Smartmatic banned for misrepresentation and numerous violations of the country’s election laws.
Diwa added that Smartmatic failed to meet several provisions provided under the 2010 Automated Election System Project Contract, including its failure to deliver the required services in a specified period.
“Aside from these shortcomings, Smartmatic is also guilty of misinformation when it declared that Taiwan-based Jarltech International Corp. was its subsidiary in its qualification statements,” he said.
“For the past two elections, we’ve been made fools by Smartmatic. We ask the Comelec to reconsider its stance on the blacklisting of Smartmatic,” Diwa added.
“All told, as so many pieces of evidence clearly bear out, Smartmatic International Corporation . . . committed several misrepresentations during the 2010 AES Project Procurement, and that Smartmatic breached its obligations under the 2010 AES Project Contract. To gloss over these violations, or simply dismiss the allegations, without a hearing thereof, and proper investigation, is tantamount to a betrayal of public trust,” C3E said in its complaint.
Also on Monday, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said they are considering tapping Smartmatic in the refurbishment of 80,000 old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
“We are really looking more at getting Smartmatic since they are the ones that manufactured the PCOS machines. They know those machines best and how to refurbish them,” Brillantes added.
He, however, clarified that they are waiting for the poll body’s law department’s opinion on the matter.
“We want to know if we will not violate the Government Procurement Act,” Brillantes explained.
But C3E said it will challenge the Comelec if it decides to give the PCOS refurbishing contract to Smartmatic.
“It is quite disturbing that the Comelec is giving reseller Smartmatic undue preference. It seems they are hell bent on rewarding violators of the country’s laws,” Diwa said in a statement.
He added that it would be better if the Comelec opened the PCOS refurbishing contract to all interested service providers.