Shut up, Comelec chief tells Smartmatic

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2012 10:50 PM | Updated as of Nov 14 2012 06:50 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Tuesday told Smartmatic to shut up on the controversial award of a P780-million ballot printing contract to a rival bidder.

The poll chief was asked by media if Comelec officials are willing to meet with Smartmatic on their concerns, to which Brillantes replied, “pwede pero tumahimik muna sila.”

He was grilled by Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday over the contract during a budget hearing for the poll body.

Brillantes maintained that winning bidder Holy Family passed the screening of the National Printing Office (NPO), which the poll body deputized to handle the ballot printing for the May 2013 elections.

He said the contract between NPO and Holy Family may be rescinded and the Comelec can take over ballot printing if the corporation is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Brillantes said Smartmatic and another losing bidder were the ones making noise about the contract.

He maintained that Holy Family’s contract is a settled issue. He said although he hasn't read the contract, he cited Holy Family's long working relationship with the NPO.

Brillantes characterized his grilling Monday as one-sided. "Siya lang nagsasalita. Sanay naman ako. Alam ko naman ganun. Sasagot na lang ako later."

Meanwhile, Brillantes revealed that the Comelec is set to rule on the accreditation of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting as a citizens' arm in the 2013 elections.