The postponement of next month’s Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao polls may have virtually quashed the dreams of the Smartmatic Philippines to be the exclusive automated election service provider in the Philippines.
“No more. They’ll have to compete [with other providers] in 2013,”
Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters when asked if the poll body would still be contracting Smartmatic for future elections in the country.
Smartmatic and its partner, Total Information Management Inc., won the P7-billion contract for the May 2010 national and local elections. The consortium produced some 80,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan machines for the exercise.
The use of the PCOS machines, however, was opposed by some politicians, election watchdogs and information technology groups who claimed the units were vulnerable to fraud. They have been clamoring for the right to inspect the source code, or the software program used to run the machines.
A few days before elections, Smartmatic caused a stir by recalling and replacing the compact flash cards that contained the tallying software of the PCOS machines.
One of the opponents of the PCOS machines is the newly appointed Comelec Commissioner Augusto Lagman.
A random manual audit of the results from the PCOS machines also fell short of the accuracy specifications set by the Comelec.
The Smartmatic technology also has yet to be reviewed by the congressional oversight committee, which is mandated by law to review the automation service in the previous election to determine whether the technology could still be used for the subsequent elections.