Philippine Senate - Marcos moves to end Smartmatic dominance, files bill to allow other automated election system service providers.

By Philippine Senate

(9 JULY 2019) - Senator Imee Marcos seeks to end Comelec bondage to Smartmatic and render Philippine elections more transparent and reflective of the people's will.

The neophyte senator filed Senate Bill No. 221 proposing to strike out a provision in Republic Act 9369 which bars other service providers from participating so that Smartmatic becomes the only available choice.

"Dahil sa probisyong ito, wala nang pipiliing iba ang Comelec kundi Smartmatic," the Senator said. "Inilagay sa batas ang Smartmatic control sa automated elections ng ating bansa."

Sen. Marcos pointed out the particular section of the law (Section 12) which she says, in effect, sets a pre-condition before an AES can be considered for use by the Comelec. It requires that the AES should have "demonstrated the capability and had been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad."

"It narrowed the field of qualified service providers to Smartmatic alone and negates the entire purpose of setting other technical requirements in choosing an AES provider," she explained.

Amending the controversial provision will give other AES providers the chance to be chosen by Comelec and will "pave the way for more transparent elections," Marcos added.

The clamor to ban Smartmatic has grown because of alleged widespread cheating in the May 9, 2016 elections.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself told Comelec in a speech last May to "dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud."