Poll automation on as bid partners reconcile
Posted July 6, 2009on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 15:44:00 07/03/2009
Filed Under: Computing & Information Technology, Elections, Eleksyon 2010
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The country’s first ever automated elections in 2010 is back on track after the two companies who won the contract to make it happen patched up their differences, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose Melo said.
Filipino firm Total Information Management (TIM) and Dutch firm Smartmatic International signed the incorporation papers for their partnership on Friday afternoon. The documents will be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), after which, the consortium will sign its contract with the Comelec, Melo said.
“Automation is on track again after one week of suspense and apprehension that we will be reverting to manual system. Now, we are back to automation,” Melo said.
The contract between Smartmatic-TIM and Comelec is “almost complete” since negotiations started a month ago, Melo said.
Melo urged the public and the media not to dwell into what caused the rift between Smartmatic and TIM so as not to “open up healed wounds,”
“Hindi na mag-aaway ulet [They won’t fight again], or else they will be held jointly and severally liable for the matter,” he added.
Earlier this week, TIM said it was withdrawing from its partnership with Smartmatic, putting the election automation in peril. Smartmatic-TIM tendered a P7.2-billion bid for the project, which had a budget of P11.3 billion.
Melo also criticized lawyer Harry Roque, who had threatened to ask the Supreme Court to nullify the contract between the Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM, when signed, due to the alleged “controversial” links of TIM with personalities associated with the Arroyo administration and its allies.
“I think attorney Roque did not check his facts,” he said.