• Smartmatic wins P7.8-B poll deal

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    CONTROVERSIAL election technology provider Smartmatic TIM Corp. has scored another victory against bitter rival Indras Sistemas S.A after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rejected the latter’s petition seeking to disqualify the Smartmatic joint venture as winning bidder of the P7.867-billion contract for the supply of 70,977 Optical Mark Readers (OMRs) for use in the 2016 national and local polls.

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    The Comelec’s Special Bids and Awards Committee 1 (SBAC1) on Wednesday came up with Resolution 2015-002, denying Indra’s motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.

    “Wherefore, premises considering, the SBAC 1 resolved, as it hereby resolves to deny the instant request for reconsideration filed by Indra Sistemas S.A. for utter lack of merit,” the resolution said.

    In its petition seeking to reverse the SBAC’s Resolution 2015-001, Indra pointed out that Smartmatic failed to comply with eight documentary requirements during opening of bids last June 30.

    Resolution 2015-001 declares Smartmatic as winner for having submitted the lowest calculated bid for the lease with option to purchase of 70,977 OMRs after the disqualification of Indra for submitting a non-responsive bid.

    Indra asserted that Smartmatic should have been declared as ineligible to participate in the bidding pursuant to Section 30.1 of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 9184.

    It claimed that Smartmatic had failed to submit duly signed/notarized power of attorney in relation to the requirement that the bidder shall submit a board resolution/duly notarized secretary’s certificate of the joint venture appointing its authorized representatives/signatories;

    Smartmatic JV [joint venture]had also failed to submit a board resolution/duly notarized secretary’s certificate appointing its lead company; the audited financial statements of TIM and Smartmatic TIM Corp. (SMMR) are not duly stamped/received by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); Smartmatic International Holdings B.V did not submit a BIR tax clearance; the sub-contractors of Smartmatic JV failed to comply with the eligibility criteria and the documentary requirements specified in the bid data sheet;
    Smartmatic JV has an incomplete statement of all ongoing and completed government and private contracts and submitted a patently false and erroneous calculation of their NFCC; and Jaritech International Inc. failed to submit a duly authenticated mayor’s permit.

    But all eight complaints were rejected by the SBAC 1, which is composed of J. Thaddeus Hernan as chairman; Divina Blas-Perez as vice chairman and Celia Romero, Margaret Ching and Roseller Abad as members.

    During the June 30 bidding, Smartmatic and Indras were both declared as eligible to bid.

    Upon evaluation of the financial bids, however, it was found out that Indra’s bid was not responsive because it pertains to the procurement of 23,000 OMRs that was the subject of a separate bidding.

    Thus, Smartmatic as the lone eligible bidder was declared to have submitted the lowest calculated bid P6,286,382,682.72.

    Accordingly, the SBAC 1 directed the technical working group to subject Smartmatic to post-qualification evaluation to determine if it complies with all the requirements and conditions specified in the bidding documents prior to the awarding of the contract.

    As a result of its victory, Smartmatic now stands to earn more money, if the Comelec en banc will decide to use the OMRs in next year’s elections, being also the winner of the bid for the P2.503-billion contract for the supply of 23,000 OMRs.

    During the June 30 parallel bidding, the Comelec’s SBAC 2 declared a failure of bidding for the repair, refurbishment and upgrade of existing 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines for lack of interested bidders.

    Two of the three supposed bidders, Smartmatic and Vertex Business Application, withdrew from the proceedings, while the third, Indra Sistemas, did not show up.

    While a second bid is still allowed, Comelec Chairman Andreas Bautista hinted that they might not be able to do it anymore owing to the proximity of the 2016 local and national elections.

    With the PCOS option already virtually out of the loop, the Comelec will be left to choose between the use of the OMR or the hybrid system being pushed by former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman.

    Bautista said the commission will come up with its final decision within the month after consultation with election stakeholders that include Congress, election watchdogs, Comelec ground personnel and teachers, among others.

    By end-July, Bautista added, a notice to proceed would be given to the election system that would be chosen.

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