Comelec Bans Smartmatic PH from All Commission Procurements

Comelec bans Smartmatic Philippines 1

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced that it has disqualified Smartmatic Philippines Inc. from participating in any bidding for its procurements. The company has provided poll machines and the technology for the Philippines since the 2010 national elections.

We disqualified Smartmatic to participate in all Comelec procurement. We have to maintain the integrity of our electoral process” George Garcia, Comelec Chairperson

Comelec Bans Smartmatic Philippines

The election commission clarified that the decision had nothing to do with the 2022 presidential elections, instead, the decision was due to the alleged 2016 money-laundering and bribery charges against former Comelec chairman Andres Bautista.

Bautista was charged with money laundering, conspiracy, and bribery by the US Department of Homeland Security after alleging that he received bribe money from executives at an unnamed poll firm whose description matched Smartmatic. These payments were said to total USD 1 million in exchange for assistance in securing the contracts for the 2016 national and local elections.

Bautista and Smartmatic have denied the allegations. However, Comelec still recognizes these as an ‘imminent threat’ to the integrity of the democratic process.

These allegations not only undermine and cast a shadow over the procurement protocols but also threaten to erode the public’s confidence in the electoral system. Consequently, pursuant to administrative powers which cover all aspects of election, the Commission is compelled to take decisive action to disallow Smartmatic from participating in the procurement process forthwith,” said Comelec.

Comelec bans Smartmatic Philippines 1

The commission has also recommended the permanent disqualification and blacklisting of the company from all government procurement proceedings.

Smartmatic Expresses Its Disappointment

Smartmatic released a statement on the decision wherein it ‘expresses profound disappointment in the decision.”

In its 23-year history, no Smartmatic company has ever been indicted in the United States or any other country in connection with any election or election-related contract,” it continued in the statement.

Over the course of these 15 years, as we contributed technology and services to Comelec, we have consistently adhered to all their procurement processes during biddings and contract exection,” it added.

The statement concludes, “Our significant role has played a key part in establishing the Philippines as a global model for election integrity.”

Sources 1, 2, 3 | Featured Image

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Ram found his love and appreciation for writing in 2015 having started in the gaming and esports sphere for GG Network. He would then transition to focus more on the world of tech which has also began his journey into learning more about this world. That said though, he still has the mentality of "as long as it works" for his personal gadgets.

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