Home General Comelec Bans Smartmatic from Election-Related Biddings in the Philippines

Comelec Bans Smartmatic from Election-Related Biddings in the Philippines

Manila, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has officially disqualified Smartmatic Philippines, Inc. from participating in any public bidding processes for elections in the Philippines. This decision was detailed in a 17-page resolution released on Wednesday, which granted the petition filed by former Department of Information and Communications Technology chief Eliseo Rio Jr., former Comelec commissioner Augusto Lagman, Franklin Fayloga Ysaac, and Leonardo Odono against the poll systems provider.

According to Philippines News Agency, the Comelec en banc has taken this action in response to an investigation by the United States government into allegations of irregularities involving Smartmatic and former Comelec chairperson Andres Bautista. These allegations, which include bribery payments, have raised concerns about the integrity of the electoral process in the Philippines. As a result, the poll body cited an imminent threat to the integrity of the country's electoral system, necessitating decisive action to preserve public confidence.

Furthermore, the Comelec stated that it might conduct a recount of ballots in various regions across the country at the petitioners' request, following the appropriate procedures and without any cost to the petitioners. This step is seen as part of the Commission's broader administrative powers, covering all aspects of election management.

The resolution also mentioned that the matter would be referred to the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) for potential permanent disqualification and blacklisting of Smartmatic from all government procurement proceedings, not only those related to elections.

Smartmatic, in response, expressed disappointment with the Comelec's decision and claimed that it has not been indicted in the United States or any other country for election-related issues. The company urged Comelec officials to independently verify these claims and make any findings public. Smartmatic, based in Venezuela, has been the provider of automated election systems for the Philippines in the 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2022 elections.