SC asked to scrap PCOS deal

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ELECTION watchdog Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to junk the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) sweetheart deal with Smartmatic-Total Information Management (Smartmatic-TIM).

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The petitioners said the poll body’s P1.2 billion contract with Smartmatic-TIM for the diagnostics, repair and refurbishment of 80,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that will be reused in the 2016 elections is unconstitutional and should be scrapped.

The petition was filed before the High Court on the same day that Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph retired.

AES Watch is composed of Bishop Broderick Pabillo; former Comelec Commissioner Augusto Lagman; Dr. Pablo Manalastas, a computer science faculty of the Ateneo and University of the Philippines; Leo Querubin of the Philippine Computer Society; Concepcion Bragas-Regalado, founding president of Migrante International; Dr. Jaime Caro of the UP Department of Computer Science; Marikol Akol, co-organizer of TransparentElections.org.ph; and Evita Jimenez, executive director of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance.

According to the petitioners, the election court committed grave abuse of discretion and violated the Constitution and the Procurement Law when it issued without public bidding Resolution 9922, dated December 23, 2014, approving Phase 1 of Smartmatic-TIM’s extended warranty proposal amounting to P300 million.

The contract covers the examination, diagnostics and minor repairs of the old PCOS machines, which Smartmatic itself provided for the May 2010 polls.

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