Six firms left in poll automation bidding

by Aries Rufo, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at May 04 2009 07:14 PM | Updated as of May 05 2009 03:17 AM

One prospective bidder was disqualified while three others withdrew in Monday’s submission and opening of bids for the country’s most expensive electoral exercise.

Six companies remain in the running to corner the P11.3 billion poll automation contract. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is leasing 80,000 counting machines for the first ever nationwide election automation.

Comelec disqualified Avante International Technology, one of the 10 original prospective bidders, after it failed to submit the last two pages of the contract and the certificate of acceptance in its bid.

The Comelec special bids and awards committee (SBAC), however, gave Avante three days to file a motion for reconsideration.

Three other firms—Megadata Corp., All Data Hub International Inc. and DVS Philippines/Samsung--- did not bother to submit their bids anymore.

Apart from Avante, the firms that submitted bids were Total Information Management/Smartmatic, Syrex Corp./Scatron, Indra Sistemas S.A.., Universal Storefront Services Company/Sequoia, Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., AMA Group of Holdings Corp/ES&S International.

As of posting, the Comelec SBAC had only analyzed the bid submitted by Avante. The committee is now in the process of looking into the documents submitted by Indra.

In an earlier interview with reporters, Comelec SBAC chair Ferdinand Rafanan said the lowest bidder will be known tomorrow but stressed that the contract will not be automatically awarded to it.

“The lowest bidder will be subjected to post qualification. In this post qualification, we will verify the documents, whether the contents are true or accurate and duly executed. The machines will also have to be subjected to testing. And when these are complied with, then we can say that the lowest bid is the lowest calculated responsive bid,” Rafanan explained.

Rafanan is also head of the Comelec legal department.

Provided there are no glitches in the process, Rafanan said the contract will be awarded to the winning bidder by May 18.