Comelec, Smartmatic given 10 days to comment on PCOS deal appeal-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
THE Supreme Court gave Tuesday the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-Total Information Management 10 days to comment on the appeal of Automated Elections System Watch (AESW) on the poll body's option to purchase some 80,000 units of precinct count optical scan (PCOS).
The petitioner insisted that the period for the Comelec to exercise such option already expired on December 10, 2010.
The total package for the procurement of 80,000 PCOS machines and its AES cost the Comelec P1.8 billion. The machines will be used in next year's midterm elections.
The group through lawyer Felix Carao said earlier that exercise of such OTP is tantamount to giving Smartmatic a special privilege that was not known and extended to all other bidders during the bidding of the 2010 AES.
The AESW also said the Supreme Court erred in its June 13 decision when it ruled that the period for the option to purchase the machines under the AES contract has yet to expire since the performance bond worth P360-million paid by Smartmatic has not been returned by Comelec to signify the termination of the contract.
The amount represents five percent of the automation contract, which would shoulder any penalties to be incurred by the consortium should it fail to deliver the equipment based on contract schedules or for non-performance.
In that ruling, reached after a special en banc session, the tribunal also voted 11-3 lifting the temporary restraining order issued by the SC on April 24, 2012, stopping the Comelec from proceeding with its option to purchase the PCOS machines.
According to petitioners, the intention of the parties to the AES Contract is for the OTP to have a definite period for its exercise, which was on December 31, 2010, thus, the deed of sale executed by Smartmatic and Comelec, was illegal.
On the issue of time constraints, AESW said it is still not too late for the Supreme Court to order the conduct of the requisite public bidding of the items needed for the upcoming 2013 elections.
Aside from AESW, Davao City Archbishop Fernando Capalla together with former Marawi City Mayor Omar Ali, and former Quezon City representative Mary Anne Susano; and Solidarity for Sovereignty (S4S) led by Ma. Linda Montayre also filed petitions seeking nullification of the Comelec-Smartmatic deal. (JCV/Sunnex)