Smartmatic should be suspended — Binay

MANILA — Venezuelan tech firm Smartmatic should be suspended from participating in upcoming elections until controversies are “resolved with finality”, Senator Nancy Binay said Wednesday.

Binay made the call following the criminal indictment of Comelec and Smartmatic officials for their unauthorized script change in the transparency server at the height of the transmission of votes during the May 2016 polls.

There have been several allegations that the elections were rigged to favor certain candidates.

Comelec earlier explained that the said script was a mere “cosmetic change” which corrects the appearance of the letter “ñ” in candidates’ names as question marks.

She said that suspending Smartmatic would also ensure the integrity of the electoral process and at the same time remove doubts on the reliability of the system.

The lady senator further pointed out that Smartmatic is facing other criminal cases with respect to its conduct of the 2010 and 2013 elections.

“There are a lot of issues being raised against Smartmatic even in the 2010 and 2013 elections and so in the spirit of accountability and transparency, Smartmatic should be suspended and not allowed to participate in the forthcoming elections in 2019 or until the cases being raised against the company are resolved with finality,” Binay said in a statement.

“It’s our right to suffrage that is at stake here and Smartmatic has been the service provider since 2010 and until now issues are being raised and filed against it. Prudence dictates that we should not allow Smartmatic to tinker with our elections until all issues against it are resolved,” she added.

Binay earlier filed Resolution No. 376 to immediately constitute and convene the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC) on the automated election system to look into the conduct of the May 9, 2016 elections.

Binay said the JCOC, composed of seven members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives, is tasked to conduct a mandatory review of the implementation of the automated election system and make recommendations thereon to Congress every 12 months from the date of the last elections.

She also called on the Comelec Advisory Council to immediately submit its report on last year’s elections as it noted that it should have submitted the said report within six months from the conduct of the elections.

The JCOC on the automated election system has at its chairmen and vice chairmen, respectively Senators Leila De Lima and Francis Pangilinan for the Senate and Reps. Sherwin Tugna and Luisa Lloren Cuaresma for the House of Representatives.