CONTROVERSIAL voting machine supplier Smartmatic Corp. will be banned from doing business with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) when the Supreme Court (SC) accepts the evidence showing it lied to the court to bag the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine supply contract, the poll watchdog said.
Election watchdog Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E) made this forecast on Sunday as it disclosed that it has uncovered compelling evidence to prove that the Venezuela-based Smartmatic deliberately misrepresented itself before the SC in 2012 when the court ruled as legal the P1.2-billion Comelec-Smartmatic deal for the acquisition of 82,000 units of PCOS machines.
“The belated discovery [of the evidence]will no doubt convince the Supreme Court to bar Smartmatic from doing any election-related business in the country,” C3E co-convenor Melchor Magdamo said.
Magdamo added that his group will submit the evidence to the high tribunal, a certification from Jarltech International to the Argentinean government on Smartmatic’s financial capacity when the latter was bidding to supply automated election systems in Argentina over a year ago, to bolster C3E’s bid to have the Venezuelan company blacklisted.
The certification clearly shows that Smartmatic did not in any way manufacture the PCOS machines when it bid in 2009 for the country’s automated elections as required by law, and neither the manufacturer, Jarltech International, was its subsidiary.
“Very obvious is the fact that Jarltech is a distinct and separate company from Smartmatic, contrary to the representations it made with the Supreme Court that the Taiwan manufacturer was a subsidiary that produced the PCOS machines for Smartmatic,” Magdamo said.
Early this month, C3E petitioned the SC to compel the Comelec to blacklist Smartmatic for violations of the automated election law and for misrepresenting itself as owner of the technology and the manufacturer of the PCOS machines supplied to the Comelec.
Separate petitions were also filed to nullify a Comelec resolution approving the award and invalidate a P240-million refurbishment contract to Smartmatic for the upgrade of some 82,000 PCOS machines.
In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the supply contract between the Comelec and Smartmatic after the latter submitted Jarltech’s ISO-9001 certification as part of the requirements for eligibility to bid, claiming that they are a majority owner of Jarltech, while in fact they are merely sub-contracting Jarltech for the manufacture of the PCOS machines.
After the court ruling, it was uncovered that Smartmatic did not own the automated election technology that it provided to the Comelec when it (Smartmatic) sued Dominion Voting Systems of Canada for failing to supply “fully functional technology… [and]timely technical support…”
It also held Dominion liable for its failure to deposit in escrow the required source code for the software, and its manufacturing design.
Magdamo said the lawsuit that Smartmatic filed in September 2012 in the Delaware chancery court was a clear evidence, and Smartmatic’s admission that it did not own the automated voting technology that it provided to the Comelec, of a clear misrepresentation and violation of the terms of contract and election laws.
“For the past two elections, we’ve been made fools by Smartmatic,” he noted.
“Smartmatic is merely a reseller. It sub-contracts several aspects of its Automated Election System to other more capable suppliers and technology providers. The Comelec would be contracting again for the supply of additional machines and refurbishment of used units by a company that has never been an expert in automating elections,” Magdamo said.