A former commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) prodded the poll body not to proceed with the bidding this month for the acquisition of at least 40,000 additional Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that will be used for the 2016 elections.
Former Comelec commissioner Augusto “Gus” Lagman on Thursday said the poll body should stop the bidding and wait for Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and two other commissioners to retire early next year.
“Why should they be the ones to do the bidding out, they should retire first, and [why not]let the new chairman run the new bidding?” Lagman told The Manila Times.
Brillantes and two other senior commissioners—Elias Yusoph and Lucenito Tagle—are set to retire in February 2015.
“Mukhang hindi naman valid ang kanyang request na iyon para mag-retire kami. The moment na ma-delay pa yan [bidding], masisira yung timetable namin [I don’t think Lagman’s request for us to retire is valid. If the bidding is delayed, our timetable would suffer] ,” he added.
Lagman maintained that they had nothing to do with the bidding since there is a committee was tasked to look into the process.
“[We have a] steering committee [for the 2016 elections], [we don’t want to meddle]. [We leave the matter to the] steering committee [so]there is no need for us to postpone the bidding. [We don’t meddle in the] bidding,” Tagle said.
He added that the bidding may start at the end of October or early November.
But Lagman said the Comelec should not rush the bidding because there is still enough time to bid out the project.
The former Comelec official noted that during the 2010 elections, the PCOS contract was signed in July 2009, while for the 2013 elections, the bidding contract was signed by end of March 2012.
“Well, [why are they in a hurry]? There is still enough time to bid that out after February, [why are they rushing it]? [There are questions about that system]. [Let the new commissioners decide on the bidding out],” Lagman said.
He added that the Comelec can hold the bidding until early 2015 or even in the second quarter of next year.
Recently, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body’s steering committee had formulated the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the bidding of the counting machines. He added that as soon as they have published the TOR, the bidding process will begin.