Comelec thumbs down all 7 bidders

by Aries Rufo,

Posted at May 07 2009 05:39 PM | Updated as of May 08 2009 08:21 AM

And then there was none.

The Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has disqualified all seven consortia that submitted bids to automate the May 2010 polls, an ominous sign that the P11.3 billion project could be sidelined.

But a Comelec commissioner said “it is too early yet to give up” since the companies were given time to submit their motions for reconsideration. 

“Some of those disqualified were due to paper requirements. I think they can easily remedy that,” the source said.

The SBAC has declared Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. ineligible to participate in the bid after one of its partners “failed to show proof of projects,” said a Gilat official, who asked not to be named. The Gilat official said the firm will file a motion for reconsideration.

Earlier the SBAC disqualified Avante International, Indira Elections Consortium, Sequoia Voting Systems and Universal Storefront Services, Syrex Inc. and Amalgamated Metro Phils., and AMA Group of Companies and Election System and Software.

The firms were disqualified one after the other since the Comelec started on Monday opening the bids and examining the qualification of the bidders. The firms were given three days to submit their motions for reconsideration.

The companies are bidding to provide Comelec with a paper-based automated election system, a provision for electronic transmission of results and overall project management.

The Comelec commissioner, who asked not to be named to avoid being misconstrued for interfering with the bidding procedure, said the SBAC is expected to come up with a resolution based on the motions for reconsideration submitted by the rejected firms.

“We will see what happens next,” the poll official said.

The SBAC ‘s rigid examination of the qualifications of the bidders has earned mixed reviews from observers and the bidders.

But the poll body justified the strict implementation of the law to avoid a repeat of the Megapacific scandal in 2004.

Megapacific won the bid to provide around 2,000 counting machines for the 2004 national polls, but the Supreme Court declared the award null and void as it ruled that the bid and award were tainted with irregularity.