The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may have given Smartmatic Corporation and its joint venture partner total control over the 2022 polls, which could result in fraud in the upcoming elections.
Atty. Glenn Chong, a long-time advocate of fraud-free polls, even believes that the joint venture of SMMT-TIM 2016, Inc. and Smartmatic USA Corporation and the poll body are conniving.
“Al the contracts for the 2022 elections are monopolized by the Smartmatic with the active connivance of the Comelec,” he said.
A review of the 24-page contract between Smartmatic and Comelec also shows the joint venture enjoys adequate protection, with one provision stating “no motion for reconsideration shall be entertained” by the Comelec if any case is brought against Smartmatic by rival suppliers.
Comelec’s record showed that it awarded the Smartmatic joint venture the contracts for the refurbished vote counting machines (VCMs), secure digital (SD) main cards, SD write once-read many (WORM) cards, cleaning sheets, software deal for election management system, VCMs (separate from the refurbished VCMs) and consolidation-canvassing system.
“Despite of the public advice of President Rodrigo Duterte to replace Smartmatic due to the issue of cheating, the Comelec forced its way to let the Venezuelan IT company control its machinery” Chong said.
Also, the Smartmatic joint venture was selected the winning bidder despite the other bidder offering a much lower price.
The other bidder was the joint venture of Pivot International Inc. and Power Service (PSI) Inc. that offered the lower calculated bid at around P490 million. Smartmatic’s calculated bid was P637.4 million.
However, the Comelec special bids and awards committee disqualified the PSI joint venture in December due to a mere clerical issue of “zero” or “dash” and the specific bid prices of the SD cards and the cleaning sheets.
Furthermore, documents on the project to automate the 2022 polls are considered confidential with sensitive information prohibited to be divulged publicly under the Data Privacy Act, despite taxpayer’s money used to fund the 2022 polls.
“Each party shall keep all confidential information secret and shall not disclose said confidential information except to those personnel involved in this project even after the termination of their relationship to the parties,” the contract stated. SOVEREIGNPH