Supplier of faulty SD cards shouldn't be paid in full, says Comelec exec

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2019 04:23 PM

Voters manually submit their ballots due to a malfunctioning vote counting machins that misread their ballot at a cluster precinct in Pinagbuhatan High School, Pasig, Mark 13, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA -- The supplier of supposed faulty secure digital (SD) cards used in the midterm polls should not be paid in full, a Commission on Elections official said Wednesday. 

"This is my personal view na itong supplier ng SD cards hindi namin babayaran nang buo," said Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon in a chance interview at the National Board of Canvassers for the Senate and party-list race. 

These faulty SD cards have been blamed for the errors in some 961 vote counting machines.

A joint venture of S-1 Technologies and Silicon Valley Computer bagged the contract to supply the SD cards for P22 million, or around a fourth of the approved budget of P79 million, said Guanzon. 

She said she will ask the Comelec en banc to withhold payment for the supplier. 

"Ipasusuri ko yan yung proseso sa pag-bidding at pag-deliver nila ng cards kasi 'yan po talaga ang naging culprit," she added. 

(We shouldn't pay the supplier of the SD cards in full. I will have the bidding process and delivery reviewed because the SD cards were really the culprit.) 

A total of 1,665 SD cards were replaced in the midterm polls compared to just 120 in 2016, Comelec Commissioner Sheriff Abas earlier said. At least 961 vote- counting machines were also replaced, versus the 801 pulled out of precincts in 2016, he added. 
 
Abas said unlike in the 2016 elections where they used bundled materials from winning bidder Smartmatic, this year's polls utilized SD cards, markers, papers from different suppliers. 

"Hindi nagmamatch pero wala kami magawa dahil sa procurement law, hindi pwedeng bundle," said Abas. 

(The supplies don't match but we couldn't do anything because of the procurement law. We are not allowed to do a bundled bidding.) 
 
The unbundled system allowed more companies to bid for specific components unlike in the past when very few could afford the entire project, a poll lawyer earlier said. 

Apart from voting glitches, Comelec also faced criticism over the delay of real-time election results to its media partners, which the poll body attributed to an application error in the transparency server. 

A Senate inquiry will look into the election glitches on June 3. 

- Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News