Comelec declares failed bidding for lease of more voting machines

Published September 9, 2021, 6:36 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Due to the lack of bid proposals for the P600 million project for the lease of 10,000 additional vote counting machines (VCMs) to be used in the May 2022 polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, Sept. 9, declared a failure of bidding.


“Considering that there are no bids submitted in today’s opening of bids, the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) hereby declares a failure of bidding,” Comelec – SBAC Chairman Atty. Allen Abaya said during the opening of bids for the lease of Optical Mark Reader (OMR) or Optical Scan (OPSCAN) System or Voting/Counting Machine (VCM) with SD Cards.

He said Smartmatic-Total Information Management 2016 Inc. (SMMT-TIM) purchased bid documents last Aug. 13 but did not submit any bid proposal.

Abaya said SMMT-TIM sent them a letter informing them that the approved budget of P600,503,500.00 is “not sufficient” for the project.

“We have given the procurement documents a thorough study, trying to find ways to comply with all the requirements within the approved budget. Unfortunately, we have determined that

the budget is not sufficient to cover all of Comelec’s conditions stated in the Terms of Reference (TOR),” SBAC quoted the letter.

“As stated in our letter of queries and appeal dated August 14th with reference number SMMT 2021S-0075, the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain servicing the electronic sector resulting in huge backlogs in the manufacturing process and which has led to: an acute global shortage in electronic components which has driven up costs to unprecedented levels of 20% to 25%; and a sharp rise in logistics cost, which had hit 200% in the last year,” it further read.

Smartmatic said it is very much interested to participate in the endeavor if the budget allocation is “adjusted as provided by the local procurement law to address these pandemic-caused cost increases.”

Abaya said the SBAC took note of the manifestation and will “take that into consideration when we conduct the mandatory review.”