Comelec disqualifies Smartmatic, Indra from supply bid

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Commission on Elections yesterday disqualified Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. and Indra Sistemas S.A. from the bidding for the supply of new voting machines for the 2016 polls.

According to BAC chair Helen Flores, the two bidders offered “non responsive financial proposals” for the lease contracts for direct recording electronic (DRE) and optical mark reader (OMR) machines during yesterday’s second stage of bidding.

The two companies were given three days to submit their motions for reconsideration.

Flores said the financial proposal submitted by Smartmatic-TIM does not contain certain items in the summary of financial proposal, prompting the majority of the BAC members to disqualify the joint venture firm.

“In this regard, where a required item is provided but no price is indicated, the same shall be considered as non-responsive. But specifying a zero in the said item would mean that it is being offered for free to the government,” she claimed.

The bid offer of Indra, on the other hand, was found to have exceeded the approved budget for the OMR machines which is P2.5 billion.

It turned out that Indra Sistemas did not include the P1,182,977,632.96 tag price for option to purchase in their total bid offer of P2,503,518,000 that is exactly the amount of the approved budget for the machines.

Only Smartmatic-TIM and Indra are vying for the lease contract for 23,000 units of OMR which the Comelec is planning to use in Metro Manila in 2016.

For the 410 DRE machines, Smartmatic-TIM is the lone bidder with an offer of P27,121,494.40.

The project has an approved budget of P31,272,000 plus an additional P1,337,624.96 for the Option to Purchase.

Smartmatic-TIM president for Asia-Pacific Cesar Flores said they would file a motion for reconsideration to question the BAC’s ruling.

Flores maintained that they just followed the format issued by the poll body.

“They are claiming there is issue on the summary of the price. But what we are telling the Comelec is that we are actually using their format, the Excel format that was provided by Comelec itself. So, if there is anything wrong with the format that they provide, they should not be blaming us,” Flores said.

Flores added that Smartmatic-TIM’s offer was lower by 65 percent than the offer of Indra so the government will save a lot with their offer.

Indra legal counsel Archivald de Mata, on the other hand, said they would also appeal the BAC’s decision, as they do not agree with the committee’s interpretation of how the total bid amount should be computed.

“What is clear to us is the lowest calculated bid should be based on the cost of the total bid proposal for lease offer only. That’s how we understood it. It was not clear in the notice and we cannot find anywhere that in the approved budget, the ‘option to purchase’ is already included,” he added.











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