MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will not be easy for them to instantly blacklist Smartmatic from bidding as the country’s automated poll contractor for the 2022 national elections.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said while they carefully study the suggestion of President Rodrigo Duterte, legal basis was needed to prevent Smartmatic from submitting its bid.
“The President speaks from a place of greater knowledge than I do. If he thinks that’s a good decision, again as I said it deserves a lot of serious consideration,” Jimenez said.
“Kakailanganin natin ng legal basis to ban any supplier,” he added.
Jimenez stressed the Comelec will study whether to buy a completely new set of vote counting machines or use the existing machines and procure additional ones for the 2022 presidential elections.
Duterte urged the Comelec to look for a new one free of fraud and dispose Smartmatic, which was the poll technology provider since the country’s first automated elections in 2010.
He wanted to do away with the public bidding consistently won by the Venezuelan company.
Based on the Government Procurement Policy Board, a company may be barred from bidding for up to two years over the submission of false information and falsified documents, unauthorized use of a name, withdrawal of a bid or refusal to do business with the government without justifiable cause, and other violations to the rules of bidding. /PN