MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ruled out the possibility of going back to a manual system of voting in 2016 as they narrowed down their options to two major courses of actions.
Speaking to reporters after a special en banc session Thursday afternoon, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body is now looking into bidding out the controversial contract for the refurbishment of the 82,000 PCOS machines.
"The Comelec is determined to automate the elections, and manual elections -- they are not being considered," Jimenez said.
The Supreme Court recently nullified the extended warranty contract of the Comelec with Smartmatic because it did not undergo public bidding.
Jimenez said they will also look into whether they can go into alternative modes of bidding considering the time element.
The second option would be to just procure an additional 63,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. The Comelec is now at the end stages of a bidding process for a separate 23,000 new PCOS machines.
Jimenez said the Comelec will make sure that in the terms of reference, interoperability of the first and second batches of new machines would be highlighted. He noted the supplier for the 23,000 machines will not necessarily supply the additional 63,000 machines they are seeking to add.
The poll body assures that they have enough money for the new machines without asking for a supplemental budget.
Aside from savings, Jimenez said additional funds could be sourced from the money they have set aside for a new Comelec building, worth around P3 billion.