SECTIONS
Monday, January 21, 2019

Comelec open to suing Smartmatic over source code woes

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not ruling out the possibility of suing its technology provider for the midterm polls for not being able to meet some of its commitments indicated in their Deed of Sale.

In an interview, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said he believes that they have the legal basis to sue Smartmatic International after it is unable to provide the enhancements to the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines the poll body required in exercising its option to purchase.

"It has some legal implications in a sense that we can sue Smartmatic since they (enhancements) are mandated in our option to purchase agreement so they should give those to us," said Brillantes.

The official is referring to the eight minor enhancements the Comelec required from Smartmatic before the former decided to exercise its option to purchase the more than 80,000 voting machines in March 2012.

Back in the 2010 polls, the Comelec entered into a lease contract with Smartmatic for the use of the PCOS machines with an "option to purchase" clause should the commission decide to buy the machines later on.

However, the poll chief said they are not yet thinking of suing Smartmatic as of the moment as they are already pre-occupied with preparing for the elections.

"Maybe at a later time. Why will we sue them now? We are very much busy preparing for the elections," said Brillantes.

To note, the recent legal dispute between the Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems has already led to the failure of the Comelec to acquire the necessary certified source code for the May 13 elections.

This has now forced the Comelec to opt for the certified source code originally meant for the 2011 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao polls until the exercise was scrapped by Malacanang.

And according to Brillantes, the said source code will not include the eight minor enhancements to the PCOS machines meant for the 2013 polls since they are contained in the uncertified source code.

"The (Armm) source code is already enhanced (from 2010) and certified. We will just apply it on a nationwide scale. The 2012 improvements are the ones to be excluded since they are already fighting at that time," he said.

Brillantes also stressed that the enhancements are just "minor" and cannot affect the overall performance of the automated election system. (HDT/Sunnex)

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