2025 Philippine elections

Miru’s local partner under scrutiny over expired license, ties with blacklisted firm

Dwight de Leon

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Miru’s local partner under scrutiny over expired license, ties with blacklisted firm

MIDTERMS. The Senate electoral reforms panel holds a hearing on the procurement providers for the 2025 elections on March 19, 2024.

Office of Comelec Chairman George Garcia

St. Timothy Construction Corporation is among the three local partners of South Korea's Miru Systems. Their joint venture is tasked to deliver consequential election technology to the Philippines in 2025.

MANILA, Philippines – Documentary records of a local company that is part of the joint venture that won the biggest election contract for the 2025 midterms are ringing alarm bells among Philippine senators.

That firm is named St. Timothy Construction Corporation, which is among the three local partners of Miru Systems, the South Korean poll technology firm that will provide the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with 110,000 automated counting machines next year.

During a Senate electoral reforms panel hearing on Tuesday, March 19, chairperson Senator Imee Marcos said St. Timothy Construction Corporation’s license has expired, citing its records from the website of the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board.

She and Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel also questioned why a construction firm would be involved in the joint venture on deployment of election technology.

“In the articles of incorporation of St. Timothy, it is clear that its role is construction and general contracting,” Marcos said. “At no point is there anything in the primary purpose of the articles of incorporation filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that they would have anything to do with election exercises. Did they change that?”

A representative from Miru Systems said St. Timothy Construction Corporation will be a “financial supporter” in the joint venture.

Marcos, however, was also perplexed how assets supposedly reached P3.6 billion in 2022, from their capital of P14 million in 2014, based on documents she obtained.

“Clearly, there is a sudden infusion of money into the company immediately after the pandemic. My question is: Who infused this cash and why? Was it the alleged owner Ms. Rimando? And where did she get this money from, virtually overnight?” Marcos asked.

Senator Risa Hontiveros also questioned the ties of St. Timothy Construction Corporation to St. Gerrard Construction General Contractor & Development Corporation, a business that has been blacklisted by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

“The two companies also share a common incorporator – a certain Pacifico F. Discaya II. Was St. Timothy incorporated to circumvent the blacklisting of St. Gerrard?” Hontiveros asked in a privilege speech on Monday, March 18.

Marcos said St. Timothy Construction Corporation sent a representative to the hearing, but later “disappeared.” This meant no officer of the company answered the senators’ queries.

This prompted the panel to subpoena the company. This will compel the firm to face the senators in the next hearing that will be scheduled by Marcos’ committee.

The joint venture led by Miru secured next year’s most expensive poll contract worth P17.9 billion.

Miru, along with St. Timothy Construction Corporation, Centerpoint Solutions Technologies, and Integrated Computer Systems, will be tasked to provide the Comelec with ballot boxes, ballot paper, and canvassing system laptops and printers, on top of the new voting machines.

Miru’s technology was the subject of security concerns in countries abroad, but Miru insisted that allegations of election failures were false.

The 2025 midterms will be the first automated election in the Philippines without Smartmatic, the embattled company disqualified by the Comelec from bidding due to its alleged involvement in a 2016 bribery scheme. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.