The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced a second bidding for a new fully automated election system technology that will be used in the 2025 national and local elections (NLE). This decision comes after the failure of the initial bidding process.
Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco stated that the lone bidder, Miru Systems Co. Ltd., Integrated Computer System, St. Timothy Construction Corp., and Centerpoint Solutions Technology Inc. (MIRU-ICS-STCC-CPSTI) joint venture, was declared ineligible due to non-compliance with the requirements set forth in the revised implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act (RA) 9184, also known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act.”
In accordance with the law, the Special Bids and Awards Committee-Automated Election System conducted a review of the project. Laudiangco clarified that any company, including the MIRU joint venture, can participate in the second bidding by addressing the deficiencies and defects identified in their initial submission.
If the second bidding also fails, the Comelec has the option to resort to alternative methods of procurement under RA 9184, such as negotiated bidding.
It is worth noting that Smartmatic Corp., an election provider, was previously disqualified from participating in any election-related bidding. Smartmatic has appealed its disqualification before the Supreme Court, claiming that the decision was unfair and based on non-existent grounds.
Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia emphasized the commission’s readiness to defend its ruling regarding Smartmatic’s disqualification. The disqualification was based on alleged irregularities surrounding the awarding of a contract for election machines to Smartmatic Corp. in 2016.
Laudiangco clarified that the disqualification of Smartmatic is unrelated to the integrity of the 2016 elections or the upcoming 2022 NLE. The decision solely pertains to the integrity of the procurement process at that time.
In October 2022, the commission en banc received a request for official documents related to an ongoing investigation in the United States involving former Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista and other individuals. Bautista was formally charged in September 2023 for allegedly receiving bribes in exchange for awarding a contract for election machines to Smartmatic Corp.
The Comelec’s decision to hold a second bidding for a new automated election system technology demonstrates their commitment to ensuring a fair and transparent electoral process. By adhering to the requirements and regulations set forth by the Government Procurement Reform Act, the Comelec aims to maintain the integrity of the bidding process and ultimately enhance the trust and confidence of the public in the electoral system.
As the preparations for the 2025 national and local elections continue, the Comelec remains dedicated to upholding the principles of democracy and providing a reliable and efficient automated election system for the Filipino people.
Source: The Manila Times