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No automated cheating, Comelec assures solons

Posted on: April 21, 2009

No automated cheating, Comelec assures solons

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:40:00 04/21/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has assured lawmakers that the automation of the 2010 elections would not pave the way for cheating, a Comelec official said Tuesday.

The chairman of the Comelec’s Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC), Ferdinand Rafanan, said he told members of the joint congressional oversight committee on suffrage during a meeting on Monday that only firms with “greater track record” in automated elections would be allowed to supply equipment for the 2010 vote.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said during the meeting that politicans were worried that local technology companies could interfere with the work of foreign firms that were being eyed to supply the voting and counting equipment.

“Natatakot sila if makialam ang local firm sa technical side, yan ang kaba ng mga politicians [They are afraid if local firms interfere in the technical side. That’s the worry of politicians],” Melo said.

Melo told the lawmakers that the SBAC was ordered to clarify the roles of each partner in the bidder consortium.

As an added security measure, Melo said the smart key, which is used to transmit election results, would be divided between the Comelec, its advisory council, the winning bidder, and the accredited election watchdog group.

This will put to rest suspicions that the transmission of election results would provide a window for cheating since it can be done only when all parties are present with their parts of the smart key, he said.

At least 10 poll technology vendors, mostly foreign firms with local partners expressed intent to bid for the P11.2-billion automation project — Smartmatic-Total Information Management, Avante International Technology Inc., Syrex Corp.-Scantron, DVS Philippines-Samsung, Indra Systems S.A., Sequoia-Universal Storefront Services Co., All Data International Inc., Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., AMA Group Holdings Corp.-Election Systems and Software International Inc. and Mega Data Corp., SBAC documents showed.

Bidding will open on April 27, to be followed by a technical evaluation from April 30 to May 8.

The P11.2 billion contract will be awarded no later than May 22.

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