Citizen’s group asked SC to stop poll automation deal

MANILA (July 9)  — The Concerned Citizens Movement has asked the Supreme Court to stop the signing of a contract between the Comelec and a technology consortium represented by Dutch-owned Smarmatic International and its Filipino-owned counterpart Total Information Management, for the automation of the 2010 elections.

The contract, which is set to be signed this Friday, has several provisions, which violated the law, according to the petition fro certiorari, mandamus, and prohibition filed by the group’s lawyer, Harry Roque.

The petitioners said there was no pilot testing of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that Smartmatic-TIM would lease to the Comelec, a violation of Republic Act 8436 or the Automated Election System Law.

The machines also failed to meet the 0.005-percent error margin requirement set by law. The machines have a failure rate of two to 10 percent, the petitioners said.

Moreover, the required documents were not submitted before Smartmatic-TIM made its bid for the automation project, the petitioners said, adding the consortium also failed to include in its contract the manufacturers of the machines and software, Jarltech Corp. and Dominion, respectively.

“Smartmatic is only a buyer of the technologies, such that there is little that the Comelec can do to demand accountability in the event of such failure. It is clear from this discussion that Comelec does not exactly know who it is dealing with, and whether these parties are qualified and capable of delivering the products and services being offered for bidding,” petitioners said.

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