The official organization of Philippine lawyers has requested the Supreme Court (SC) to stop a P268.8-million ($6.08-million) deal to repair, refurbish, and maintain voting machines for the 2016 elections. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) recently petitioned the SC to declare the deal between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and technology provider Smartmatic-TIM illegal. The IBP explained that the Comelec awarded the P268.8-million contract to Smartmatic without public bidding. In a 28-page petition, the IBP said Comelec Resolution 9922, which mandated the contract, is null and void. According to the petition, the contract violates Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Then Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr finalized the contract for the diagnostics of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines before he retired from the poll body.
The Comelec, for its part, cited a tight schedule for its decision not to conduct a public bidding.
It also said it is “too great a risk” to award the contract to companies aside from Smartmatic. The job of repairing and refurbishing the machines, the IBP said, is highly technical.
Full Article: Stop deal on repair of voting machines, SC asked.