- Imee Marcos seeks to end Smartmatic ‘control’ over PH automated polls

By Christia Marie Ramos |

MANILA, Philippines — Neophyte Senator Imee Marcos has filed a bill that would end the “control” of the country’s current automated election system (AES) provider, Smartmatic.

In filing Senate Bill No. 221, Marcos said she aims to “strike out” a provision in Republic Act 9369, otherwise known as The Election Automation Law.

“Dahil sa probisyong ito, wala nang pipiliing iba ang Comelec kundi Smartmatic. Inilagay sa batas ang Smartmatic control sa automated elections ng ating bansa,“ the senator said in a statement on Tuesday.

(Because of this provision, Comelec will not be able to choose another provider except Smartmatic. It’s included in the law on automated elections in our country.)

Section 12 of the said law requires that the automated election system provider should have “demonstrated the capability and had been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad.”

Marcos said the provision sets a pre-condition before a provider can be considered by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Venezuela-based Smartmatic supplied the vote-counting counting machines for the May 13 midterm polls and three other previous automated elections.

“It narrowed the field of qualified service providers to Smartmatic alone and negated the entire purpose of setting other technical requirements in choosing an AES provider,” Marcos pointed out.

The Senator said that amending the said provision would give other providers a chance to be chosen by the poll body and “pave the way for more transparent elections.”

In 2016, Marcos’ brother, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., filed an electoral protest contesting the result of the vice presidential race which he lost to now Vice President Leni Robredo.

President Rodrigo Duterte had also told Comelec to “dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud” shortly after the midterm elections on May 13, which secured a massive victory for administration-backed candidates including Marcos. (Editor: Eden Estopace)