Press Release
January 23, 2015

Stop PCOS negotiated contract, conduct
public bidding, Pimentel urges Comelec

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said public bidding is the only way for the repairs of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that will be used in the 2016 elections.

Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, reiterated his call for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to stop a negotiated contract with Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIP) Corp. to conduct examinations, diagnostics and repairs of some 82,000 PCOS machines.

Pimentel said there is no legal basis for the Comelec to resort to direct contracting as this goes against the procurement law and there is still plenty of time before the national and local elections next year.

He added open public bidding would afford the Comelec an opportunity to pick the best offer and secure the lowest bid for the services and products being bought by the government.

Pimentel enjoined Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph to allow their successors instead to handle preparations for the next elections.

Brillantes, Tagle and Yusoph are set to retire next month.

He said the amount of P300 million for Smartmatic's extended warranty proposal has raised suspicion of a "midnight deal" on the eve of the Comelec commissioners' retirement.

Pimentel added it does not also level the playing field, saying all procurement modes must be exhausted and opened to ensure that the contract is compliant with Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

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