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Comelec could ‘take over’ automation — exec

Posted on: June 30, 2009

Comelec could ‘take over’ automation — exec

INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:50:00 06/29/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Politics

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MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) could “take over” the position vacated by a Filipino firm in a technology consortium tasked automate the 2010 elections so that it would push through, an elections official said.

This is among four “contingency plans” of the Comelec to make sure that next year’s elections are automated, said Ferdinand Rafanan, chairman of the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) that awarded the automation contract to Dutch firm Smartmatic International and its Filipino partner, Total Information Management (TIM).

On Monday, TIM withdrew from the consortium, raising fears that the Comelec would be stuck with manual counting in 2010.

Rafanan said a new bidding was another option, but its legality could be questioned since a second bidding can be done only when there is no winner in the first bidding.

“We are studying this case and looking into possibilities such as take-over contract, which roughly means that once the contract is terminated or it failed then the government can take over the part of TIM for example. This is among the possibilities that we are looking into,” Rafanan told INQUIRER.net.

“The Comelec has up to four contingency plans to implement automated elections in 2010,” he said.

Rafanan said he saw TIM’s withdrawal as a “cleansing of the automated elections so that whoever will implement it will be worthy.”

“I don’t think this is a big blow to Comelec’s moral clout and as I repeat, the Comelec bidding is transparent from the start and up to now,” he said.

Rafanan said he was “not surprised” by TIM’s withdrawal since the firm’s representatives were mum during the bidding process.

Meanwhile, Smartmatic international sales director Cesar Flores said the company was “not backing out from the contract” and was “doing its best” to fulfill its obligations.

Smartmatic-TIM had tendered P7.2-billion for the P11.2-billion automation project. It would have leased 82,200 counting machines to the Comelec.

Anna Valmero

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