THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) admitted on Monday that technology provider Smartmatic Corp. has an edge over its competitors in today’s bidding for the P2.88 billion diagnostics, repair refurbishment and upgrading of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
Also up for bidding is the lease supply with option to purchase of 123,000 brand new units of optical mark reader (OMR), a variant of PCOS, worth P12.897 billion.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez made the admission, saying the poll body is looking into a lot of practical considerations on the choice of an election system to be used next year.
“Initially, we are concerned about the bidding for (the) refurbishment (of PCOS). We might get a bidder that is responsive to the bid but does not have a track record with the machines,” Jimenez pointed out.
“Remember, the machines were manufactured especially for the Comelec, which means that literally one has a track record with the machines except the entity that made it, which is Smartmatic. So that was the concern. So if it’s given to someone who has never touched the machine, how long will it take to finish the job?” he said.
According to Jimenez, the other bidders have asked Comelec that they be given time to “reverse engineer” the machine, meaning that “they’re not going to fix it (immediately) but have to study it first before they fix it.”