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Poll watchdog to bring new evidence vs Smartmatic

A POLL watchdog on Sunday said it will submit to the Supreme Court new evidence to bolster its petition to blacklist technology provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) from joining any election-related process in the country and to nullify any contract it has signed with the Commission on Elections.

C3E, Automated Elections System (AES) Watch and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines have filed separate petitions before the Court asking that it nullify the P268.8 million contract that the Comelec signed with Smartmatic-TIM for violating the law that mandates the conduct of competitive public bidding for all government procurement.

Before his retirement last month, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes signed the P268.8 million contract with Smartmatic-TIM covering the diagnostics and repair of the voting machines, as well as replacement of units, if needed.

C3E co-convener Melchor Magdamo said Smartmatic-TIM made a mockery of the Supreme Court when it claimed it was the manufacturer of the counting machines used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

Magdamo said the new evidence would show that Smartmatic deliberately misrepresented itself before when the Court ruled in its favor in 2012.

“The belated discovery will no doubt convince the Supreme Court to bar Smartmatic from doing election-related business in the country,” Magdamo said.

The evidence, he said, was a certification from Jarltech International to the Argentine government that clearly indicated that Smartmatic did not in any way manufacture the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines nor did it own the manufacturer, Jarltech.

This was contrary to its claims to the Supreme Court that the Taiwan manufacturer of the PCOS machines was a subsidiary, Magdamo said.

Early this month, C3E petitioned the Court to compel the Comelec to blacklist Smartmatic for violations of the Automated Election Law and for misrepresentation. In seeking to blacklist Smartmatic-TIM, C3E told the court that Smartmatic misrepresented itself to be owner of the technology and the manufacturer of the PCOS supplied to the Comelec.

Separate petitions were also filed to nullify a Comelec resolution approving the award and to invalidate a P268.8 million refurbishment contract to Smartmatic for the upgrade of some 82,000 PCOS machines.

In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the supply contract between the Comelec and Smartmatic after the latter submitted Jarltech’s ISO-9001 certification as part of the requirements for eligibility to bid, claiming that they are a majority owner of Jarltech.

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