AN election watchdog called a moro-moro (farce) a recent decision of the Commission on Elections’ Bids and Awards Committee (Comelec-BAC) disqualifying technology provider Smartmatic Corp. from a P2.503-billion voting machine procurement project.
The Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3D), through convenor Alain Pascua, on Sunday said the farce was meant to ensure that there would be no legal impediments later once the contract was awarded to the Venezuela-based Smartmatic.
With the disqualification of Smartmatic, Lingayen-Dagupan Bishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said the people can now look forward to honest polls next year.
“I am happy to note that Smartmatic is practically out of the way for 2016 elections. And that is very hopeful. We might have good and honest 2016 elections [without]Smartmatic. I know what I’m talking about, I know the dirty tricks of Smartmatic, very dirty,” Cruz added.
Pascua said the disqualification could only be a ploy to give Smartmatic ample time to cure infirmities in corporate documents it submitted to the BAC.
“We have raised the issue of infirm Articles of Incorporation of Smartmatic from the very beginning of the bidding process, but the BAC simply swept the issue under the rug. This time perhaps the [disqualification]will give Smartmatic sufficient time to cure its corporate papers and become ‘spotless’ for the next bidding,” he added.
In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as of December 4, 2014, Article II of its Articles of Incorporation indicates the primary purpose of Smartmatic-Total Information Management.
“To do, perform and comply with all obligations and responsibilities of, and accord legal personality to, the joint venture of Total Information Management [TIM] and Smartmatic International Corp. [Smartmatic] arising under the Request for Proposal and the Notice of Award issued by the Commission on Elections [Comelec] for the automation of the 2010 National and Local Elections…”
“This clearly showed that if Smartmatic was ineligible to participate in the elections of 2013, more so that it cannot be qualified to be part in next year’s exercise,” Pascua said.
He noted the same concern at the recent Joint Congressional Oversight Committee hearing for the Automated Election System earlier this week when members of the committee also raised the issue of Smartmatic being awarded several contracts in 2013 despite its glaring lack of qualification.
C3E maintained that the Comelec should blacklist Smartmatic from election-related activities and bids in order to ensure transparency and credibility in 2016.