Comelec says 'hands tied' over Duterte order against Smartmatic


Posted at Jun 06 2019 09:24 AM | Updated as of Jun 06 2019 09:41 AM

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A spokesperson of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said the agency cannot circumvent procurement rules over President Rodrigo Duterte's directive to refrain from tapping firm Smartmatic as the technology provider in the next polls. 

Services and supplies for the elections are always procured "on the strength of a public bidding," said Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez. 

"We are covered by the laws and unless a way is found to essentially excuse or exempt the Comelec from the requirement of public bidding, then our hands are tied," he told ANC. 

Duterte last week told the poll body to "dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud." 

"Our takeaway from what he said is he wants to make sure there is no room for doubt. We're all for that, we totally agree with that. The solution he presented, however, takes a little work," said Jimenez. 

He also noted that Duterte made the remark before the Filipino community in Japan following a complaint on supposed difficulties with overseas absentee voting. 

"Public sentiment may not have been 100 percent informed about the technical aspects of the election," Jimenez said. 

Comelec faced criticism during the midterm polls after hundreds of vote-counting machines encountered glitches and real-time election results were delayed for 7 hours due to technical difficulties.

ANC, June 6, 2019