2022 Philippine Elections

TRACKER: Crucial Comelec contracts for the 2022 polls, and the winning bidders

Dwight de Leon
TRACKER: Crucial Comelec contracts for the 2022 polls, and the winning bidders

Janina Malinis/Rappler

(3rd UPDATE) From the refurbishment of thousands of vote-counting machines to the deployment of 2022 election equipment, here are some of the most significant contracts for next year's elections

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been awarding contracts to companies for significant projects in relation to the 2022 elections, when voters will choose President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor.

Some of the firms that bagged the contracts are being scrutinized due to their history or ties with Duterte, thus the concern by some sectors and watchdogs that the supplies and services they will provide might be used to favor the candidate that the outgoing president will endorse.

Below are some of the most crucial contracts for the 2022 national and local elections, and the companies that won them so far.

COMPLETED

Procurement of Secure Electronic Transmission Services (SETS)

Approved budget for the contract: P1.056 billion
Which firm won the project: Smartmatic, with a single calculated bid of P1.053 billion

As winning bidder, Smartmatic is required to provide service for “secure connectivity and transmission of election results” in 2022,” including the necessary hardware and equipment for the project.

Refurbishment of 97,345 vote-counting machines

Approved budget for the contract: P660.741 million
Which firm won the
project: Smartmatic, with a bid of P637.443 million

Smartmatic secured the deal in May after the poll body first declared a failure of bidding in December 2020.

During the second bidding in March 2021, it was Smartmatic’s rival, PII-PSI JV, which first underwent post-qualification after tendering a bid lower than Smartmatic’s. However, the company’s incompatible sample SD cards during testing resulted in its post-disqualification.

PII-PSI JV filed a complaint accusing Comelec officials involved in the bidding of conspiring to commit irregularities. The poll body told lawmakers on September 15 that its protest had been junked.

Procurement of Automated Election System (AES) software

Approved budget for the contract: P452.522 million
Which firm won the
project: Smartmatic, with a bid of P402.725 million

The AES is “a system using appropriate technology which has been demonstrated in the voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, and transmission of election results, and other electoral processes,” according to the contract.

As Comelec’s technology provider, Smartmatic is to ensure a fully operational integrated system and create a contingency plan for the AES “in case of system breakdown or any such eventuality which shall result in the delay, obstruction, or non-performance of the election process.”

Lease of external batteries for the VCMs

Approved budget for the contract: P162.129 million
Which firm won the project: Smartmatic, with a single calculated bid of P162.088 million

After bagging four contracts as of October 12, Smartmatic has secured P2.255 billion in deals with Comelec for the 2022 vote.

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Transportation of election equipment, peripherals, forms, supplies and paraphernalia

Approved budget for the contract: P1.61 billion
Which firm won the
project: F2 Logistics, with a bid of P535.999 million

Comelec’s decision to award the contract to F2 Logistics was controversial due to the firm’s ties to Dennis Uy, one of Duterte’s top campaign donors in 2016. Despite the controversy, poll body officials guaranteed no law was violated in awarding the contract to the 2022 election supplies forwarder.

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Packaging services for the official ballots

Approved budget for the contract: P150.245 million
Which firm won the project: Forms International Corporation, with a single calculated bid of P149.290 million

Supply and delivery of Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS) laptops

Approved budget for the contract: P116.160 million
Which firm won the project: The P98.120-million contract went to Masangkay Computer Center.

Masangkay Computer Center also bagged a P989,340 contract for the supply and delivery of USB tokens in the 2022 elections.

AES certification services

Approved budget for the contract: P55 million
Which firm won the project: Pro V&V, which tendered a single calculated bid of $1,091,928 or P54.566 million, was issued a notice of award in October.

Pro V&V, an Alabama-based company founded in 2011, bagged the same contract in 2018 for the 2019 midterm polls. The company, according to its website, has a mission to “help its clients comply with regulations in systems and software testing in the most efficient and professional manner possible.”

The firm first tried to secure the project during the first round of bidding in August but the Comelec declared a failed bid after Pro V&V, the only company interested in the contract, failed to submit one necessary document.

Republic Act No. 9369 or the poll automation law requires the help of an international certification entity in certifying that the AES system is operating accurately.

Supply and delivery of printers with toners

Approved budget for the contract: P45.057 million
Which firm won the
project: Link Network Solutions, with a bid of P18.223 million

On its website, Link Network Solutions describes itself as a “Filipino-owned corporation” that supplies clientele needs for computers, printers, and scanners, among others.

Undergoing post-qualification process

Supply and delivery of ballot papers, marking pens

Approved budget for the contract: P204.921 million
Which firm won the project: No update in the Comelec website, but Triplex Enterprises underwent
post-qualification after tendering the lowest calculated bid of P154.912 million on August 6

On its website, Triplex Enterprises describes itself as “among the top paper converters in the Philippines…with 45 years of paper trading and converting experience.” It edged out Smartmatic and another company during the open bidding.

Supply and delivery of 48,782 ballot boxes

Approved budget for the contract: P200.781 million
Which firm won the project: No final decision yet, but plastic manufacturer Cofta Mouldings Corporation underwent post-qualification on October 18 after tendering the lowest calculated bid of P143.9 million. It bested three other firms, including Smartmatic.

BIDDING STILL UNDERWAY

Supply and delivery of I-buttons for digital signature

Approved budget for the contract: P203.237 million

The Comelec’s special bids and awards committee (SBAC) declared two failed competitive biddings for the project in June and July.

No company submitted a bidding proposal during the negotiated procurement on September 10, prompting the SBAC to refer the case to the project management office.

Lease of 10,000 VCMs with SD cards

Comelec declared a failed bid for the project on September 9. Smartmatic, the only firm to purchase bidding documents, did not submit a proposal to SBAC, saying the maximum budget for the contract was too cheap.

The lease contract is important because the Comelec needs more VCMs to raise the number of voting precincts. That, in turn, will reduce the number of voters assigned to each one of them, a crucial consideration amid the raging pandemic.

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– Rappler.com