Following the Supreme Court ruling voiding its contract to repair the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking for alternative machines to be used in the May 2016 elections. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body will ready an alternative plan and not wait for the ruling on the motion for reconsideration to be filed by Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. “The possibility of the motion for reconsideration being granted in the future cannot be a basis for the Comelec not to take any action at this time. We need to start our preparations already,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez stressed the Comelec is pressed for time to come up with contingency measures after the SC junked the P268.8-million contract with Smartmatic.
Even if Smartmatic announced its plans to file a motion for reconsideration before the SC, it would be very risky for the Comelec to dilly-dally in implementing alternative plans, he said. “The Comelec will be caught flat-footed if the MR is suddenly not granted,” Jimenez said.
The SC junked the Comelec-Smartmatic negotiated deal, which it said violated provisions of the Government Procurement Act (Republic Act No. 9184) on the rules of public bidding.