Comelec declares Smartmatic consortium as winning bidder of poll automation deal

June 9, 2009 12:05 pm 

MANILA, June 9 – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has declared Netherland-based Smartmatic/Total information Management consortium as the winning bidder for the P11.3-billion 2010 poll automation project.

In a two-page resolution, the Comelec en banc, backed the recommendation of the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC), headed by Ferdinand Rafanan, to award the project to the lowest calculated bidder Smartmatic consortium.

This despite Smartmatic’s flaw involving the emission of smoke by one of the machines during the end-to-end demonstration of the equipment.

“Now, therefore, after due deliberation, the Commission Resolved, as it hereby resolves, as follows: To approve the report/recommendation of the SBAC dated June 3, 2009, confirming TIM/Smartmatic as the bidder with the ‘Lowest Calculated Responsive Bid’ and to award the contract for the automation of the elections on May 10, 2010 to said joint venture…,” part of the resolution reads.

Smartmatic submitted the lowest bid price of P7.2 billion, P4 billion lower than the actual project price of P11.3 billion.

The resolution also directed the committee to issue the Notice of Award to TIM/Smartmatic, with instructions to post a performance security in an amount no less than five percent of the contract price and to issue the Notice to Proceed after posting the bond and the approval of the contract.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo, was appointed as the head of the procuring entity that would sign the contract with the winning bidder.

Meanwhile, the Comelec Advisory Council supported the SBAC’s recommendation, noting that Smartmatic had passed the stringent bidding process, and lauded the committee for conducting a transparent and consistency in their decisions.

“..We felt that the SBAC did its job properly and its recommendation to award the contract to the lone qualifying bidder is very defensible,” said Ray Anthony Roxas Chua III, chairman of the council.

The council has advised the poll body to be wary of the other challenges that might occur, such as the filing of cases by parties outside the group of bidders, citing the cancellation of the automation in the 2004 polls.

“We recommend that the Comelec make it clear to any parties considering frivolous legal actions against election automation that the Comelec will not take any of this lying down and will make use of all available remedies to ensure that such perpetrators are punished, both criminally and civilly, to the full extent of the law,” Chua said.

The Comelec should also look on the possible "bait and switch" attempts by the lone qualifying bidder to adjust the contract price as the project progresses.

“We recommend that the Comelec make it clear to the winning bidder that it will resist any attempts to increase the contract price after the contract has been signed and will make use of all available remedies to ensure such behavior is punished,” he said.

Melo said the commission was looking to formally award the contract on Thursday or early next week. (PNA)

FGP/utb

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