The Supreme Court (SC) said that the contract between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM for the repair of old precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines is a new contract and not for extended warranty.
In a 56-page decision written by Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe and released on Friday, April 24, the SC said that extended warranty contract is a separate contract for the repair of the PCOS machines.
The SC said that there is no more service that needs to be extended because the warranty period for the PCOS machines had lapsed on March 30, 2013.
It added that the extended warranty contract is considered as a revival of the old contract instead of an extension.
However, the SC said that it would not condone such kind of a contract because it will appear that there is no more need for a bidding for any service for the PCOS machines or any government project.
The SC added it would appear that the procuring entity would only revive the already dead contract and will forever be tied to the contract.
This kind of system, the SC said, is contrary to the provisions of the Procurement Law because it defeats competition, deprives the government the opportunity to accept offers for service or product which is more advantageous to the government and more importantly, it can be a source of doubts that there is anomaly in the project.
The SC added that although the Smartmatic-TIM is the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of PCOS machines and software in the Philippines, there is no evidence to show that it is the only one who has the capability to repair the voting machines.
It stressed that as the Comelec can conduct the diagnostic procedure in the PCOS machines, it should have already done the process and that the poll body should decide to use again the PCOS machines for the 2016 elections.
The SC pointed out that because of this, the Comelec only needs to purchase the tolls for the repair and the parts of the machines, which need to be replaced. — Perfecto T. Raymundo, PNA