Comelec chief defends winning bidder of P780-M ballot contract

Posted on November 8, 2012

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MANILA—Saying losers always complain, Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Thursday defended the National Printing Office decision to award the P780-million contract to supply and print 55 million ballots for the 2013 midterm elections to Holy Family Printing Corp. and its partner Canon Marketing Philippines.

Brillantes said he saw no irregularity in the NPO decision to award the contract to Holy Family, which supposedly failed to meet crucial bidding requirement and flunked the mandatory tests for its ballots.

“If there were (irregularities), then we would have vetoed that. And another thing, we have yet to pay for it. We have not released any cash,” Brillantes said in an interview.

“And we’ve checked (Holy Family’s) background. They filed requirements and they’ve been joining NPO biddings for a long time,” he added.

Brillantes said Holy Family’s ballots did fail in the initial tests using the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines but a “re-test” was conducted and they passed.

“(At first, the PCOS machine) accepted only two out of 10 (ballots). So, we said let’s have a re-test. We used 1,000 (ballots) and they got it perfect based on the final report to us,” Brillantes said.

Cesar Flores, president of Smartmatic Philippines, accused the NPO of favoring Holy Family despite its alleged shortcomings.

Flores said he was worried about the coming elections because Smartmatic’s PCOS machines might get blamed if the ballots are rejected. But Brillantes dismissed Flores’ worries.

“A bidding will always have critics. Losers do that. Only God knows if there’s going to be a problem but I don’t think that there will be one,” Brillantes said.

“Are you worried? I’m not worried. We have a report. I don’t know why many people are worrying about this when we are the ones who have (the responsibility). Not them,” he added. / INQUIRER

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