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Bidder a step away from P11.2-B poll deal

Posted on: May 26, 2009

Bidder a step away from P11.2-B poll deal

Comelec SBAC to resolve appeals

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 08:40:00 05/26/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Computing & Information Technology

MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will start post- qualification and technical evaluation of poll machines of a qualifying bidder while it resolves pending appeals for the P11.2-billion poll automation project, a poll official said.

“Whatever rulings in the motions of AMA-ES&S consortium, Gilat consortium and Sequoia joint venture, we shall proceed with the post-qualification and technical evaluation of machines of the bidder Smartmatic and TIM (Total Information Management)—this will be without prejudice to the pending motions or requests so that proceedings will not be delayed any further,” said Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) chairman Ferdinand Rafanan.

Smartmatic and local partner TIM pegged its financial bid for the automation contract at P7,191,484,739.48—about P4 billion below than the total contract amount.

The Smartmatic-TIM consortium emerged the lone qualifier for the final leg of the automation bidding when SBAC on May 17 declared the bid of Indra Sistemas, Strategic Alliance Holdings (SAHI) and Hart Intercivic non-compliant for providing partial bid or insufficient supply of poll machine units worth P11.2 billion.

Asked if Smartmatic-TIM had the lowest bid, Rafanan said: “Not yet, because SBAC has to make a ruling first on this before we can proceed with the post-qualification and technical demonstration for Smartmatic-TIM. If they pass these final two requirements, they cannot bag the award yet because there is a remaining veil for them to clinch
victory—that the awarding is still subject to results of pending motions.”

According to the Technical Working Group, Smartmatic will set up the machines and other automation related-equipment on Tuesday for the technical demonstration and evaluation of machines slated on Wednesday.

For the technical demonstration, the first part will include an end-to-end demonstration of the vendor’s system, which includes the scanning of 670 ballots, electronic consolidation of voting results and electronic transmission of voting results using a public telco network. This will be followed by the evaluation and testing for compliance of the 26 technical criteria set by the SBAC, said Rafanan.

“During post-qualification that can last for a week, SBAC shall verify and validate if the documents submitted by Smartmatic-TIM are genuine, true and correct,” said Rafanan.

In an earlier ruling also on Monday night, SBAC denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the consortium of AMA Group Holdings and Electronic Systems and Software International that was readmitted for the bidding Saturday night.

The bidder AMA was noncompliant for the bid on two counts, first on failure to submit two essential technical documents for automation–systematic application of the bidder’s software, system specification and user manuals; and secondly, for submitting a credit
line and cash deposit certificate from Bank of America, which is not listed and licensed in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as required by SBAC, said Rafanan.

The AMA consortium manifested it will file again another motion for reconsideration, which SBAC has yet to resolve along side two pending appeals from the consortium of Gilat Satellite Network, FF Cruz & Co., and Filipinas Systems and consortium of Sequoia Voting Systems and Universal Storefront Services Corp., said Rafanan.

“Nanjan ang dalawang (There are two new) appeals. Ang Gilat gusto mabuksan muli ang bid boxes dahil baka nandun ang documents nila. Ang Sequoia sabi sa motion nila kahit i-disregard ang incorporation nila para hindi yun ang dahilan na ma-disqualify sila [The consortium of Gilat appealed that all their bid boxes be reopened because these might contain the missing documents they need for the bidding. The consortium of Sequoia urged that we disregard their incorporation so they will not be disqualified from the bidding],” said Rafanan.

SBAC will resolve the pending appeals while continuing with the technical demonstration of poll machines and the post-qualification of documents filed by Smartmatic.

“Looking for the bidder with the lowest calculated responsive bid does not necessarily mean selecting a bidder with the least expensive proposal. We have to strike a balance between the bidder’s eligibility to handle the project, their technical capacity to comply with requirements of the Comelec for the automated election system, and financial proposal that should not exceed the total contract amount,” added Rafanan.

SBAC said the P11,223,618,400 total contract amount include: P10.923 billion for the automated election system, including the lease amount for 80,000 precinct count optical scan machines and canvassing units, P200 million for transmission costs and P100 million for project management costs.

The Comelec aims to award the contract by the first or second week of June, said Rafanan.

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