Smartmatic acquires bidding documents for PCOS refurbishment

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, June 17 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that Smartmatic – Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. has purchased the bidding documents for the refurbishment of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

On Wednesday, the Comelec – Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) 2 held the Pre-bidding Conference for the Php 2.88-billion refurbishment contract where the service-provider of the 2010 and 2013 elections acquired the bidding documents at a non-refundable fee of Php 75,000.

With this, SBAC 2 Chairman Jubil Surmieda assured that the bidding would be a fair competition to all prospective bidders, noting that Smartmatic-TIM will not be favored after having a foiled negotiated contract with the commission to repair the PCOS machines.

“Wala na yung negotiated contract na yun, nullified na ng Supreme Court (SC) yun. Bidding na talaga ito. Balik na tayo dito sa competition,” the Comelec-SBAC 2 head said after the conference held at the Palacio del Governador Building in Intramuros, Manila.

Surmieda also said that Indra Sistemas, another election service-provider, had expressed intention to purchase the bidding documents.

“Kanina nagmanifest ang Indra na bibili sila ng bid documents so most likely dalawa na silang nakabili ngayon…At least may competition na,” the poll body official added.

On the other hand, the Comelec said that bidding documents may still be purchased by interested bidders until June 30.

Submission of Bids has been set on June 30 at 9 a.m. at the Bureau of Treasury Hall while the Opening of Bids will be held an hour later.

Earlier, the SC junked the Php 268.8-million negotiated contract between the Comelec and Smartmatic, citing violations of Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Act.

The bidding for the repair of the PCOS machines which will be supplemented by the 23,000 Optical Mark Reader (OMR) units, is one of the two options being eyed by the Comelec for the 2016 polls, with the other being the lease of all new OMR machines by combining the 70,977 and the 23,000 units. (PNA)