The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking at paying Smartmatic International the initial amount of P600 million for the purchase of more than 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the 2013 mid-term polls.
With this, Poll body Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the initial payment amounts to one third of the P1.8 billion contract.
The payment, he noted, will be given after the service provider has finished the hardware testing on 27,000 machines or one third of the 81,280 total PCOS machines.
“Kapag dumating na kami dun sa one third, then we will make formal acceptance and probably make the payment. Kinausap na rin kami ng Smartmatic kasi nga wala pa kaming binibigay na pera,” he said.
As of press time, Brillantes said more than 40,000 machines have been tested.
“Ngayon ang alam ko, based on reports last night, over 40,000,” he said.
The Comelec chief also said 13,000 machines were quarantined but clarified that these were not substandard.
“Maliit na bagay yung nasa quarantine, hindi defective ito ha? Ang quarantine is because we are very strict, maski konting sira pinakikialaman namin,” he stressed.
During the inspection of the Smartmatic warehouse in Laguna over a week ago, Smartmatic Asia Pacific president Cesar Flores explained that the machines that are being quarantined are those that need a change in the power source, needs cleaning and screen calibration, among others.
Brillantes said after all the machines have been tested, they will proceed with the bidding process of other services.