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Melo to quit Comelec if automation fails

Posted on: February 24, 2010

Melo to quit Comelec if automation fails

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 16:41:00 02/24/2010

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Politics, Inquirer Politics, Government offices & agencies

MANILA, Philippines—Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo said Wednesday that he would quit his post if the May automated polls becomes a failure.

Melo made the remark in reaction to the dare made by newly-formed poll watchdog Kontra Daya, a coalition formed by AES Watch and Concerned Citizens’ Movement among others, on top Comelec officials vacating their posts if they fail to conduct a fair and honest automated election on May 10.

Melo also denied reports that there is an internal agreement between members of Commission en banc, to resign from their posts if the automation fails.

“Personally, if it’s the fault of the Comelec, I will get out… but not if something happens beyond our control just to be fair to Comelec employees,” Melo said.

Melo was referring to force majeure or events that are beyond the Comelec’s control, which would cause the failure in the operation of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in automating the stages of the election. He said such events were taken into consideration when Comelec and former judges of the Supreme Court Hugo Gutierrez Jr. and Angelina Sandoval Gutierrez drafted the P7.2 billion automation contract.

Nonperformance of Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) in the implementation of the contract such as the lack of security of the poll machines that resulted in hacked or tampered results would result to penalties and legal charges, he added.

Last year, Smartmatic-TIM submitted to Comelec a performance security or bond in the form of letter of credit worth about P360 million or 5 percent of the automation contract, which would fund penalties should it fail to deliver equipment based on contract schedules or for non-performance.

Through a joint and several liability agreement with Comelec, TIM and Smartmatic, respectively, bind themselves for all the obligations and all liabilities that might arise out of the contract, according to the poll body.


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