Kontra Daya calls on Comelec to scrap UV lamp deal with OTC
The watchdog group Kontra Daya today called on the Comelec not to push through with any deal for the purchase of UV lamps with OTC Paper Supply. The supplier has been implicated in an earlier deal for ballot secrecy folders which many considered overpriced.
Kontra Daya convenor and TV director Bibeth Orteza said that Comelec shouldn’t be spending a single centavo to solve a problem caused by Smartmatic-TIM. “Moreover, Comelec shouldn’t be entering into any deals with firms already implicated in overpriced contracts,” she said.
“The problem with the UV marks is the responsibility of Smartmatic-TIM. They were the ones doing the printing of the ballots and acquiring the ink. If problems arose in the printing and the marks could not be read by the PCOS machines, it’s Smartmatic who should remedy the situation and if necessary, spend from their own pockets. Taxpayers shouldn’t be made to pay for the problems created by Smartmatic,” Orteza said.
“What adds insult to injury is that taxpayers will be paying for a contract with a firm already implicated in an earlier overpriced deal. It cannot be helped that this latest Comelec transaction will be viewed with suspicion,” she said.
The UV marks are considered an important security feature of the new ballots. In the course of the printing of ballots, and because of the wrong ink, the alignment of the UV marks moved. The PCOS machine could no longer properly read the security marks. There was danger that this could lead to massive ballot rejection by the PCOS machines. Comelec thus decided to turn off the UV mark reader on the PCOS machine and switch to manual UV mark readers.
This was not the first time issues were raised regarding security marks on the ballots. Kontra Daya earlier complained that the ballots for the ARMM did not have the security marks of the National Printing Office. Comelec said that it was not necessary since there were still UV marks.
“Pushing through with the deal with OTC will further undermine the damaged credibility of the Comelec. Parang niloloko na lang ang tao,” Orteza said.
“It is quite strange that Comelec did not even penalize Smartmatic for the problems in the printing of UV marks. Why is Comelec quick to pick up the tab for the UV lamps?” she asked.
Kontra Daya also supported the growing calls for the resignation of Comelec officials involved in the questionable deals with OTC.
“Heads must roll. The problem with Comelec is that no official, even those involved in electoral fraud, were ever held accountable in the past. Will this trend change now?” Orteza asked.