By BENJIE PANGAN | SunStar
YES, Smartmatic, the Venezuelan hardware/software supplier, is so favored by the Philippine government. Why?
Despite glitches and bidding irregularities, Smartmatic was awarded the software deal for election management system, vote-counting machines (VCM) and consolidation-canvassing system for a whopping amount of P402,725,549.20!
In December 2020, according to Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc, it was granted the refurbishment of 97,345 vote-counting machines, the supply of 109,745 secure digital (SD) cards, the same number of SD WORM (write-once-read many) cards and 250,000 cleaning sheets again for a staggering amount of P657,443,308.45!
It seems Comelec is so beholden to Smartmatic that it has yet to award it multi-billion peso contracts to accessorize (?) the VCMs for result transmission and to organize and manage Election Day call centers. Plus, a separate warehousing contract worth about half-billion pesos a year. Sus, Smartmatic is so favored! Magkano, papaano?
Smartmatic's precinct count optical scanners had been criticized as "hocus-Pcos" and rightfully so. The secure discs (SDs) are believed to be the source of irregularities since they are susceptible to being loaded with votes for a favored candidate/s. Nobody took attention to this possible anomaly. The secured discs can be manipulated to favor moneyed candidates.
Bidders led by Pivot International Inc.-Power Serve Inc., are contesting the earlier P657.4 million win of Smartmatic since they submitted much lower bids than the latter.
The Comelec SBAC is complicit in disqualifying Smartmatic's bidding rivals. It disqualified them based on mere technicalities. The SBAC managed to circumvent rules in favor of Smartmatic to the disadvantage of the other bidders. Truly, Smartmatic had the blessings of higher ups for a grand price!
* * *
What is this I've read about five Pampanga water districts as losing revenues under PrimeWater?
No less than the Commission on Audit has observed the downward trend in revenues of Mabalacat City Water District, the City of San Fernando Water District, Floridablanca Water District, Guagua Water District and Lubao Water District.
Thus, the COA advised these water districts to renegotiate their respective joint venture agreements with Primewater Infrastructure Corp. It is suggested that some provisions disadvantageous to the government be reviewed and revised.