TOKYO, Japan—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday advised the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to look for another election technology provider after the poll body was inundated with complaints about anomalies in the 2019 midterm elections.
During a meeting with the Filipino community here, the President was asked by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) why the government continues to tap the services of Smartmatic despite its lackluster performance and dubious track record.
As a response, the President said, “I would like to advise Comelec now—hindi ko na lang hintayin—dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud.”
President Duterte said he is supposed to address the issue by incorporating it in his state-of-the-nation address (SONA) in July.
“Kasi ang Liberal…sabi nila nadaya sila. Ako sabi nila nadaya rin. And you know it’s creating an environment of hostile attitude against that Smartmatic. You have three years. Kakatapos lang ng election. Palitan na ninyo kasi it is no longer acceptable to me, to the people and even to the congressmen who are here,” he added.
According to the President, the government should do away with anything that promotes cheating. That’s why, he is recommending that Smartmatic be replaced as Comelec’s technology provider.
He also expressed displeasure over the government’s bidding process as a way of securing contract for election technology provider. The government should scrap such procedure, he said.
Comelec received numerous complaints for failing to protect the integrity of the 2019 midterm elections with Congress holding an inquiry next month.
The May 13 election was the fourth national elections that used the automated voting system of Smartmatic. Critics said that despite having four automated elections, Smartmatic is still marred by various technical glitches. PND