MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) opted to purchase vote counting machines used in the 2016 elections because of a tight budget, its outgoing officer-in-charge Christian Robert Lim said Thursday, denying it was a “midnight deal.”
Lim, who retires on Feb. 2, said he brought the matter to the Comelec en banc soon after its former chairman, Andres Bautista, resigned in October.
After a series of consultations, the commission gave the go-signal for the purchase of more than 97,000 vote counting machines from Smartmatic Inc. on Dec. 18, said Lim, who signed the contract on Jan. 12 this year.
“Primary consideration was the cost and the technology,” he told reporters, noting the Comelec had only an P8-billion budget for next year’s midterm elections.
“That’s insufficient for new machines so we decided on what’s available for us.”