THIS private Venezuelan company has gained almost total control of our country’s election process. That is against the law. But why is the Commission on Election allowing it to possess that power? The Comelec is mandated by law to make our elections transparent, honest and the results verifiable. Why have the Comelec commissioners neglected their responsibility?
In 2009, the Comelec awarded the contract to supply election materials and technology to Smartmatic– even if this bidder did not meet many of the required qualifications. Comelec disqualified the other bidders who had also failed to meet the very preprequisites that Smartmatic failed to meet.
Later, Smartmatic and Comelec together also violated the law. They did not allow the legally required review of the source code for the Smartmatic Automated Election System using the PCOS machines. And they they did not implement the required digital signatures in the electronically transmitted documents.
Now Comelec is letting Smartmatic do what it did in the illegally conducted 2010 and 2013 elections. It is being allowed to refurbish the PCOS machines and supply new PCOS machines. One of the violations of the law that Smartmatic has committed is its selling the system and the PCOS machine technology to us when it does not really own them. It was facing a court case in the United States over its usurpation of the rights over the technology that another company rightfully owns.
But Smartmatic’s president for Asia maintains that his company has the exclusive right over the PCOS machines and therefore it has every power and authority to receive another contract from the Philippine government through the Comelec to refurbish the old equipment for use in the 2016 elections.
This is of a course a gigantic lie.
But why has the Comelec– why have its lawyers and the Commissioners–accepted that mendacious claim?
Also, refurbishing the old used machines need not be done by Smartmatic, which would charge the monstrous fees it has charged for the past elections. The government paid Smartmatic billions and yet the PCOS machines bought by the Comelec from Smartmatic are not covered by any kind of warranty.
The Comelec’s agreeing with Smartmatic that the latter should do the refurbishing would only be justified if the PCOS machines were covered by a warranty and the money value represented by the warranty would be wasted if another group of technicians were to do the refurbishing. But there is no warranty that would go to waste. And if Smartmatic does the refurbishing we Filipinos would again have to pay. So why doesn’t the Comelec get a cheaper but competent bunch of technicians?
Is there a deep secret hidden in the machines that Smartmatic and the Comelec don’t want anyone but their own people to touch?
Smartmatic did not even manufacture these machines. They subcontracted the hardware to Jarltech in Taiwan, then when the facility got damaged by a typhoon, they went to a manufacturer in China. The software was also subcontracted – to
Dominion Voting Systems of Canada, the very firm that sued Smartmatic.
The bidding specification clearly prohibits bidders from subcontracting major components of a bidder’s offered system. But the PCOS machines and the mechanics to make them work were both subcontracted by Smartmatic, which did not disclose this infraction of the law to the Philippine government.
For that alone Smartmatic should have been blacklisted–and even sued by our government and the Comelec.
Yet, the august commissioners and the Smartmatic officials are locked in a tight embrace.
This is a matter that concerns the sanctity and the sanity of our election process. The credibility, transparency, honesty of our election process determine whether we are truly a democracy or not–whether our votes are properly counted and reported to the canvassing centers.
Yet the Comelec Commissioners do not find anything wrong.
And the prosecutorial and law-enforcement agencies of government are adopting a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil policy.
Lord God, why have You forsaken us?