MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections kept its distance from the media blitz of poll automation contractor Smartmatic today in connection with the US Presidential Elections.
In newspaper advertisements, Smartmatic showcased how its machines powered the ongoing US Presidential election. The ads show US President Barack Obama voting on a Smartmatic machine.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said the US uses other brands aside from Smartmatic, noting that today’s advertisements are a “marketing question.”
"Siguro gusto nila ilabas na just saying," he said.
Meantime, Jimenez sidestepped inquiries on reported anomalies in the printing of ballots for next year’s elections.
Jimenez was asked about reports that ballots printed by the National Printing Office’s (NPO) contractor, Holy Family, were rejected by the PCOS machines.
“Wala na nga sa amin iyan. Sa NPO na yan eh. At this point we gave that aspect to the NPO. We expect them to do their job.”
Jimenez explained that in 2010, their contract with Smartmatic gave the supplier the responsibility for all the deliverables and requirements. It was only this year that the poll body bidded out their requirements since the Comelec already bought the machines.
Jimenez pointed out that under the law, the NPO really is mandated to print ballots.
"At this point, we’d rather settle the issue internally. We have to give NPO leeway to do what’s right. Comelec is watching this," he said.