ABS-CBN News : Smartmatic declared 'single calculated bidder' to supply vote-counting machine batteries in 2022 polls

21 June 2021

By Ina Reformina | ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday declared Smartmatic-Total Information Management 2016. Inc. (SMMT-TIM 2016, Inc.) as the sole bidder with the single calculated bid for the lease contract for the supply and delivery of vote-counting machine external batteries for Halalan 2022.

SMMT-TIM was the only firm that submitted a bid proposal for the P162.13-million supply contract in Monday’s opening of bids by the Comelec special bids and awards committee (SBAC).

Around 97,345 units of “lead acid” batteries at P1,665.51 per unit cost will be needed for the May polls.

SMMT-TIM submitted a 247-page technical component document file, which included audited financial statements stating current assets at P550.80 million; current liabilities at P179.61 million; and net financial contracting capacity of P4.53 billion.

The firm also submitted its largest completed similar contract: P126.16 million for the lease of over 85,000 external batteries to Comelec in Halalan 2019.

During Monday’s virtual session, the Comelec technical working group (TWG) recommended that SMMT-TIM be declared “ineligible” for the project after it found, upon evaluation, that certificates of acceptance from the poll body for the firm’s largest completed contract did not specify the supply for “lead acid” batteries.

SMMT-TIM appealed the TWG recommendation.

“We submitted our 2019 contract as entered into by the bidder SMMT-TIM 2016 with the Comelec; unfortunately, as mentioned by the TWG, there was no mention of ‘lead acid batteries’… but just the same, what was required by the Comelec back then during the bidding and what was delivered by Smartmatic were lead acid batteries, it just happens that ’lead acid batteries’ was not mentioned in the contract,” said SMMT-TIM’s Atty. Aison Benedict Velasco.

After deliberations, SBAC chairman Director Allen Francis Abaya, announced the TWG recommendation was thumbed down as the SBAC ruled the issue raised “is a matter for post qualification.”

The SBAC further ruled to open the firm’s financial component proposal, which was at P162,088,476.79.

Upon verification, the SBAC ruled the financial bids were “verified” and the calculations “correct.”

It subsequently declared that the SMMT-TIM proposal was the single calculated bid for the project, and directed that the post qualification stage immediately commence upon service of notices.