MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said it is set to conduct a hearing on the petition to ban Smartmatic Philippines Inc. from bidding to provide the automated elections system (AES) in the 2025 elections.
“We will schedule a formal hearing on the petition to [disqualify] Smartmatic from [C]omelec procurement,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia told reporters through Viber.
Comelec Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said the petition was filed by former Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Eliseo MIjares Rio Jr., former Comelec Commissioner Augusto Cadelina Lagman, Franklin Fayloga Ysaac, and Leonardo Olivera Odono on June 15, 2023.
The petitioners asked Comelec to review the qualifications of Smartmatic “in view of its failure in the 2022 elections to comply with certain minimum system capabilities that resulted in serious and grave Irregularities in the transmission and receipt of election returns and, if warranted, to disqualify Smartmatic from participating in the bidding for the 2025 AES.”
“Bilang bahagi ng due process under the Comelec Rules of Procedures, as amended, ay bibigyang utos ng Comelec en banc ang Smartmatic na mag-comment sa naturang petition at isumite ito sa Comelec sa pamamagitan ng Clerk of the Commission bago ang pagdinig na itinakda sa susunod na linggo,” said Laudiangco.
(As part of the due process under the Comelec Rules of Procedures, as amended, the Comelec en banc will order Smartmatic to comment on said petition and submit it to the Comelec through the Clerk of the Commission before the hearing set for next week.)
Laudiangco said the Comelec would later announce the exact date of the hearing.