The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), in Minute Resolution No. 15-0355, has ruled to approve the conduct of a simultaneous bidding for the refurbishment of existing Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and for the procurement, with option to purchase, of more than one hundred thousand units of optical mark readers (OMRs).
The poll body’s approval came after its Law Department, in a Memorandum dated April 28, 2015, recommended the conduct of “parallel bidding” as there is no prohibition against the same and “considering that time is of the essence due to the proximity of the May 9, 2016 National, Local and ARMM Regional Elections.”
For the purpose of the parallel bidding, the COMELEC has resolved to approve the creation of two (2) separate Special Bids and Awards Committees (SBAC) and the designation of two (2) additional members of the SBAC considering the technical expertise needed in the bidding process.
A total budgetary requirement of Fourteen Billion Five Hundred Seventy Nine Million Pesos (P14, 579,000,000.00) has been approved for the simultaneous bidding.
The COMELEC has also ruled to require, as additional bidding requirement, “an undertaking of the bidder that it has no right or cause of action to compel the BAC of this Commission to award the contract to it, as it is the Commission which has the authority to ascertain or decide what options to choose or award bearing in mind the course of action most advantageous to, and in the best interest of the government.”
COMELEC remains open to alternative proposals
For his part, COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez stressed that in coming up with this decision, the poll body, under the leadership of Chairman Andres Bautista, have undertaken consultations with various stakeholders on how best we can conduct honest and credible elections next year.
Just last week, Chairman Bautista along with COMELEC Field Directors met with various stakeholders which include, among others, the COMELEC Advisory Council, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the group of former Commissioner Gus Lagman to hear their proposal for a Transparent and Credible Election System (TCrES), a hybrid of manual voting and counting and automated transmission and canvassing.
“The COMELEC remains open to suggestions and alternative proposals on how to make the automated election system more transparent and how it can be further improved,” Jimenez emphasized. ###