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Only SC can stop poll deal – Comelec exec

Posted on: July 9, 2009

Only SC can stop poll deal – Comelec exec

By Kristine L. Alave, Anna Valmero
Philippine Daily Inquirer, INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:53:00 07/09/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the consortium of Smartmatic International and Total Information Management Corp. will sign the P7.2-billion contract for election automation on Friday, despite the challenge launched against the deal in the Supreme Court, a poll commissioner said.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said on Thursday that only a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court could stop the signing.

“If there is no TRO issued by the Supreme Court, the signing will push through as scheduled tomorrow (Friday),” he told reporters.

Sarmiento expressed confidence that the complaint filed by lawyer Harry Roque and members of the Concerned Citizens Movement would be thrown out as the bidding process was “very transparent.”

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the points raised in the petition against the automation contract were “baseless.”

Smartmatic-TIM submitted a joint venture agreement during the bidding for the project. Its machines also surpassed the 0.0005-percent margin of error requirement, Jimenez said, adding the two-percent error that the petitioners raised referred to the breakdown of the machines.

“The petition filed by attorney [Harry] Roque seems to have very little support in terms of facts and seems to be a thinly-veiled attempt of derailing the contract signing and of shoe-horning the open election system into the automation project,” he said.

Jimenez said the Comelec was ready to defend its deal with Smartmatic-TIM “with full transparency.”

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