Comelec bid panel satisfied with Smartmatic machines

May 27, 2009 1:22 pm 

MANILA, May 27 – The Commission on Elections-Special Bids and Awards Committee (Comelec-SBAC) said it is satisfied with the machine demonstration of Smartmatic, the company that was announced as the “single complying calculated bid” as it all passed the first five system requirements for the machines.

“We are satisfied, so far they get to pass the first five system requirements,” said SBAC chairman Ferdinand Rafanan.

The SBAC has a checklist consisting of 26 requirements the machines are required to comply with before these are approved by the technical working group.

Among the requirements are: the machines should allow manual feeding of ballots and ensure an accuracy rate of 99.995 percent

The SBAC is looking to finish the demonstration on Thursday (May 28), which they expect to be attended by the Oversight Committee of Congress.

Meanwhile, despite the stringent bidding process of Comelec-SBAC, the automation machines that will be utilized in the May 10, 2010 national and local elections are still considered vulnerable to manipulations.

Rafanan said the poll body “is not looking for a fool-proof machine,” in replying to questions on whether the machines would be impregnable to any attempt to control or manipulate the machines using an outside device or source.

The concern was brought up when Rafaran, during the end-to-end demonstration of the machines of Smartmatic and Total Information Management, announced to bar any “electronic device” starting on Thursday (May 28) that could interfere with the tests of the machines as well as the transmission of results.

Rafanan said that the issue on “electronic interference” may be addressed during the customization of the machines once they award the P11.3-billion contract to the winning bidder.

“We can improve on whatever deficiencies for as long as they already passed the criteria,” he explained.

He likened the demonstration to an airplane where electronic devices that might interrupt the radar operations and flight should be turned off.

Rafanan, however, clarified that cellular phones and laptops will be allowed during the demonstration. (PNA)

LAP/FGP/utb

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