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SC asks Comelec to respond to Smartmatic petition


December 19, 2023 | 12:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was required by the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to comment on the voting technology provider Smartmatic Philippines Inc.’s petition against their disqualification for the future bidding processes on the Automated Election System for the 2025 National and Local Elections.

The voting regulation body was required by the high court to submit their comment “within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice.”

“NOW, THEREFORE, You, respondents COMELEC…are hereby required to COMMENT on the petition and prayer for a TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction within a NON-EXTENDIBLE period of 10 days from notice hereof,” the court’s resolution read. 

An order to comment is part of the high court’s procedures in handling cases or petitions.

The petition against Smartmatic was filed by former information and communications technology secretary Eliseo Rio, retired colonel Leonardo Odoño and former Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines president Franklin Ysaac and Agusto Lagman, at the Comelec last June 15.

This comes after the Comelec en banc on November 29 disqualified and disallowed Smartmatic from participating in the bidding process for the country’s future automated elections to “maintain the integrity” of the country’s electoral process, according to Comelec chairman George Garcia.

Smartmatic asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order on the Comelec’s decision on December 11.

In a statement concerning the SC order, Garcia said: “Most importantly, the High Court found no compelling reasons to issue an injunctive writ to stall the implementation of our questioned resolution.”

Smartmatic has been the technology provider for the Philippines since 2010 when the country shifted from manual counting to automated elections. 

The Venezuela-based company secured contracts to supply election-related hardware and software for the national elections in 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022.

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