The Philippine Star - Duterte to Comelec: End deal with Smartmatic

By Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star

TOKYO – President Duterte yesterday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to terminate its deal with technology solutions firm Smartmatic in the wake of the issues that plagued the midterm polls.

During a meeting with the Filipino community here, a woman broke protocol and asked Duterte if he could answer a question.

After the President allowed her, the woman questioned the Comelec’s use of Smartmatic vote counting machines that she said had experienced problems last election.

Duterte told her he was supposed to speak about the matter during his next state of the nation address but since he was asked about it, he would answer the query.

“I will tell the Comelec, it’s an independent body. But I will really tell them. Do not use that mechanism again,” he said.

“I would like to advise Comelec now, I won’t wait for it (SONA) anymore: dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud,” he added.

Duterte said Smartmatic, which also provided the counting machines used during the 2016 polls, “promotes cheating.”

“Discard it (Smartmatic) because it is no longer acceptable to me, to the congressmen or you, anything that promotes cheating,” he said.

He questioned Comelec for sticking to Smartmatic despite the issues that hounded its counting machines.

“Why are you insisting on Smartmatic? Because of bidding?” he said.

He went on to urge Comelec to do away with bidding as he claimed that the next election would be facing uncertainties if Smartmatic is retained as service provider.

Some sectors have raised doubts on the results of the 2019 polls because of the malfunctioning of some voting machines and server transmissions.

Malacañang had said the results of the election were credible despite the glitches but also expressed support for any probe on alleged poll irregularities.