Opposition bloc wants Smartmatic out of 2019 polls
The minority bloc at the House of Representatives on Thursday threatened to lobby for the rejection of the budget proposal of the Commission on Elections for 2019 if the poll body continues its services for the midterms elections.
“If the Comelec insist on the services of the Smartmatic, we will move for the rejection of the Comelec budget for 2019,” House minority leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said at a news forum Thursday.
Suarez took note of the “glaring” lapses of Smartmatic in handling the automated elections in the past years.
For his part, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said the Comelec must consider tapping the services of a local provider to handle next year’s elections.
He said the lapses committed by the Smartmatic have resulted in the ongoing vote recount at the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, involving Vice President Leni Robredo and her opponent, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“The election protest involving Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Marcos at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal should be sufficient basis for getting a local provider of our computerized system [of elections],” Atienza said.
Atienza said the country does not need a foreign entity to handle the vote counting.
Suarez said that the new technology provider should be chosen through a bidding.
“Electoral reforms are necessary if we are to strengthen democracy,” Atienza said.
Suarez’s group earlier sought a congressional investigation into the renewed dealing of Comelec with Smartmatic Inc. for the supply of vote counting machines for the May 2019 midterm elections.
“These machines are not entirely free from any possible vote tampering as seen from the previous election,” Suarez’s House Resolution 1647 earlier said.
“The use of these machines will not help in clearing and promoting the integrity of our national and local elections, which have been clouded with fraud and manipulation for the past years,” the resolution added.