The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is leaving it to the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) to decide if Smartmatic International Corp. can participate in the 2013 midterm polls. “If the CAC feels there are grounds to, say, recommend a different technology and they also have to come up with an explanation if they want to block out a certain bidder,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.
Smartmatic is the Venezuelan company that supplied the 82,200 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the May 2010 presidential election. Jimenez was reacting to the call of the poll watchdog Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) to disqualify Smartmatic from the 2013 polls for the defects in the counting machines it supplied.
The Comelec had declared the election a success but AES and other election watchdogs cited the wrong configuration of the compact flash cards and the disabling of the built-in scanners and digital signature features of the machines.
“All of them, at this point, are their own conclusions. It’s easy to arrive at a conclusion one way or another but ultimately, all the complaints against the PCOS machines were not proven,” said Jimenez.