Smartmatic faces raps for electoral sabotage

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Bad news followed good on Thursday for Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM).

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The company bagged the deal to provide the Commission on Elections (Comelec) 23,000 optical mark readers (OMRs) to be used in next year’s polls but it was also slapped a complaint for allegedly sabotaging the 2013 mid-term elections.

The complaint was filed by the group headed by former Comelec commissioner Gus Lagman.

The other complainants were Leo Querubin, Maria Corazon Akol, Glenn Chong, Temario Rivera, and Ernesto del Rosario, all members of the Automated Election System (AES) Watch.

They accused Smartmatic officials Cesar Flores; Albert Castro Rico and Marlon Garcia of violating Republic Act 9369, or the Poll Automation Law for allegedly changing the source code of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines just hours after voting closed on May 13, 2013.

“Smartmatic officials/personnel inexplicably changed the scripts of the un-reviewed source code at or about the time of the consolidation/canvassing during the said elections,” they said in their seven-page complaint.

“This action on the part of Smart¬matic as well as the Election Manage¬ment System constitutes the crime of electoral sabotage,” they added.

The source code is defined as the human readable instructions that dictate what the automated election system will do.

The petitioners said the incident happened at the Command Center of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) about two hours after voting closed when about 12 million votes for the senatorial elections have already been received in the PPCRV transparency server.

They said the transparency server “was rendered meaningless when its operation or functioning was disturbed or interfered with Albert Castro Rico and Marlon Garcia of Smartmatic.”

Section 28 of the RA 9369 provides that among the prohibited acts include “interfering with, impeding, absconding for purpose of gain, preventing the installation or use of computer counting devices and the processing, storage, generation and transmission of election results, data or information”.

Electoral sabotage carries a penalty of life imprisonment.

Also on Thursday, the Comelec said it will issue a notice of award to Smartmatic-TIM for the lease of 23,000 new OMR units worth P1.7 billion.

Smartmatic was disqualified from the project for submitting non-responsive financial proposals and for its failure to meet the required technical specifications.

However, the Comelec en banc reversed the ruling of the bids and awards committee disqualifying the poll service provider.

The Comelec is set to open on Saturday bids for the repair and refurbishment of 81,000 PCOS machines which were used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

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4 Comments

  1. There seems to be a pattern of filing complaints by Mr. Lagman, Ms. Akol, et. al. every election time since the first law on Automated Elections was passed RA 8436 in 1997 and amended to RA 9369 in 2007. The common theme, they did not get any piece of the pie and are sore and vindictive losers. Crab mentality to the max! Pretenders who disguise themselves as defenders and promoters of the Filipino IT industry for their self interests whether financial or as influential kingmakers. I wonder if there is a law that punishes those that consistently cause distractions to purposely delay the process of implementing automated elections with frivolous lawsuits that really waste taxpayers money and tie up the courts.

  2. And yet the chairman a former dean of a college of law of a university and former columnist of a newspaper and his cohorts approved the despite all the accusations that smartmatic is not qualified to enter into a contract with PCOS

    • With all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Smartmatic has signed numerous contracts with Comelec that were allowed by the Supreme Court, i.e automation of 2010 and 2013 elections. And how could they not qualify, on what grounds? There are seven Comelec commissioners, all independent lawyers, are you saying there are all wrong given all the facts and details presented to them?