Smartmatic lone bidder for P10.7-B PCOS deal


ONLY technology provider Smartmatic Corp. has formally signified its interest to participate in the P10.747-billion parallel bidding called by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the supply and refurbishment of counting machines to be used in 2016.

Pre-bid conferences were held on Tuesday and Wednesday by the projects’ respective Special Bids and Awards Committees (SBACs).

The first project calls for the procurement with option to purchase of 80,000 new units of optical mark reader (OMR) machines worth P7.867 billion, while the other is a P2.88 billion contract for the refurbishment and upgrading of the existing 82,000 units of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

In both instances, only Smartmatic paid a non-refundable fee of P75,000 each for the bidding documents. A representative of Smartmatic’s rival, Indra Sistemas S.A., was present in both instances.

But Comelec spokesman Director James Jimenez said other bidders have until June 29 and June 30 to submit their bid proposals for the OMR and PCOS projects, respectively.

During yesterday’s pre-bid conference, the SBAC announced that requests for clarifications on bidding rules and procedures should be submit on June 20 or 10 days before the deadline set for the submission and receipt of bids.

The Comelec said bids in excess of the approved budget shall be automatically rejected.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista earlier clarified that only one of the two projects will be pursued or used in the 2016 elections.

Bautista said the commission is looking to award the “notice to proceed” not later than end of July, which comes after the contract has been awarded and the poll body has decided which of the two options, OMR or PCOS, is more advantageous to the government.

The poll body decided to pursue a parallel bidding to make up for lost time brought about by a Supreme Court decision that voided the P268 million refurbishment contract earlier awarded to Smartmatic.

The negotiated contract was signed by former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes two days before his retirement on February 2.

The PCOS machines were also supplied by Smarmatic, which critics and election watchdog groups called Comelec’s “favored bidder.”


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. jesus nazario on

    Why only Smartmatic has bought the bid documents so far ? Are the “enlightened” vendors hesitating bidding or worse sort of boycotting this bidding because the “writing is again on the wall” (mene mene tekel upharsin) ?… that this is again a NON-fair-and -square exercise in futility ? Then let us just rename Comelec more aptly as the Commission on Smartmatic Automated Elections Forever which acronym is a bit ugly yet more descriptive of the reality of the institutionalization of unSAFE elections. A SONA-braggable legacy of this administration !

  2. jesus nazario on

    Why is Comelec confusing the people ? Is it because the word PCOS produced so much widespread “allergy” to many people in the aftermath of the 2010 and 2013 elections ? And now they are using the term OMR to “deodorize” it ? Now let us remove this attempt to cover up bad things.

    OMR stands for Optical Mark Reader. It is a generic term for this kind of optical document scanning device like in the case of acetominophen which is a generic term for many brands of the same medication like medicol, bioflu, etc. OMR in effect and in parallel is what is called the “active ingredient” in a certain medication which can have many configurations and amount (in milligrams) of the active ingredient like tablets, capsules or syrups and brands. Now OMRs that are used in automated elections have 2 basic or predominant types or models: those which scan/count the ballots at the polling centers or precincts or clustered precincts called Precinct Count OMR Systems or the hated PCOS (kawawa naman wala namang kasalanan yung machine really) AND those used to scan/count the ballots in city/municipal central counting stations (not in the precincts) after polls closed called Central Count OMR Systems or CCOS where uncounted ballots are brought to the central counting stations before they are scanned/counted (saves on the number of machines and transmission points but have some ballot-napping risks along the way). To complete the list, there is a third “contraption” type called BMM which scientist-types love or Ballot Marking Machine where voters vote on a touchscreen device which is attached to a ballot marking machine which simply marks a blank ballot with the votes registered by the voter on the touchscreen device (no more unclear ballot shading). The marked/voted ballot is then scanned/counted on an OMR machine which can be inline (physically connected) to the 2 previous components or offline/separate/stand-alone to them (either a PCOS or a CCOS in fact). I hope this clarifies the matter.

    Bottomline, Comelec is STILL buying or leasing the same hated PCOS for 2016 even if they now call them OMR or even Opscan. Same banana mga Kababayan. Worse they MIGHT again buy or lease them from the same hated vendor who delivered the messy elections in both 2010 and 2013 for a scandalously huge amount. Anyayare ?