Business Mirror : Smartmatic gets go-ahead on P402-million Comelec contract

News & Interviews
12 May 2021

By SAMUEL MEDENILLA | Business Mirror

CONTROVERSIAL multinational election technology provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. (Smartmatic-TIM) has gotten the green light to proceed with a P402-million contract it won from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Last week, Comelec finally issued a notice to proceed to Smartmatic regarding the contract it won to provide for the automated election system (AES) software that the poll body will use during the 2022 National and Local elections.

The project, which is worth P402,725,549.70, covers the software to be installed in Comelec’s Election Management System (EMS), Vote Counting Machines (VCMs), and Consolidation & Canvassing System (CCS).

Smartmatic became the official vote-counting machine supplier of Comelec in the country’s first national automated exercise in 2010, and has since then won other contracts with the poll body.

Poll watchdogs have been demanding for the firm to be banned from participating in bidding for Comelec contracts, citing its supposed lapses and its irregularities in the delivery of its services.

The same concerns led to a proposal to scrap the fully automated vote counting and canvassing and adopt a “hybrid” election system instead.

Under the proposed hybrid scheme, the voting and counting will be done manually, while transmission and canvassing will be automated.

In an online forum on Monday, Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho reiterated the position of the Comelec en banc that there is no longer enough time to adopt such a system in time for the 2022 elections.

“When you do hybrid elections, we will start from zero again, then training, acquisition of equipment, etc. It may not be doable anymore,” Kho said.

He noted it will require a new law as well as the creation of another election system.