GANITO inilarawan ng grupong Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E) ang huling aksiyon ni Sixto Brillantes bago magretiro bilang chairman ng Commission of Elections (Comelec) nang lagdaan ang refurbishment contract sa Smartmatic para sa diagnostics at repair ng counting machines na gagamitin muli sa 2016 elections.
“Revolting as it is, Brillantes’ unconscionable act merely confirmed what we have all along suspected — that the refurbishment contract was a midnight deal having sealed on the 11th hour of his final days in office,” sinabi ni C3E co-convenor Melchor Magdano kahapon.
“The shameless manner by which it was signed has stripped off the transaction of all trappings of legality making the Comelec-Smartmatic contract purely a sweetheart deal,” dagdag nito.
Inianunsyo ni Brillantes noong Lunes na nilagdaan niya ang kontrata sa Venezuelan firm na nagkakahalaga ng P269 milyon para sa diagnostics at minor repairs ng 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines na ginamit noong mga nakalipas na halalan.
Ito ang kaparehong kontrata na ipinaglaban at pinagmulan ng pagkainis sa kanya ng iba pang election watchdogs, IT experts, civic groups at ng Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
“It remains a mystery however, as to why he proceeded with the contract, against the recommendations of the Comelec’s own Legal Department, and the Comelec Advisory Council,” ayon kay Magdamo.
“Not only did he grant tainted Smartmatic-TIM one last contract before he left, but he also paved the way for the erring company to have the upper hand in other succeeding bids for the PCOS refurbishment,” dagdag ng abogado.
Aniya, “We at C3E condemn this barefaced decision by Brillantes as a slap on the face of the Filipino voters. His signing of the negotiated contract with Smartmatic is a midnight deal which only a thief could callously do in the dead of night while the people are mourning the loss of its 44 warriors. His favoring of a shady and questionable technology reseller masquerading as an IT conglomerate shall forever mark his legacy.”
Una nang ibinunyag ng C3E ang tinawag na maanomalyang ownership structure ng Smartmatic.
Sinabi ng C3E na nakababahala ang mga nakalap nilang impormasyon hinggil sa pinanggalingan ng Smartmatic na magpapatunay kung paano kaduda-dudang hinawakan ng kompanya ang mga transaksyon sa foreign governments.
“The way Smartmatic was formed in Venezuela is too worrisome to ignore as it would have an impact, if it had not already made an impact, on Philippine elections. Yet the Comelec still insists on cohabiting with it,” ani Magdamo.
Sa research na isinagawa ng C3E, nagsimula ang karanasan sa eleksiyon ng Smartmatic noong June 2003 nang bilhin ng Venezuelan government sa ilalim ng noo’y pangulo na si Hugo Chavez ang 28 percent stake sa kompanyang Bizta R&D Software CA.
Ang Bizta ay pag-aari ng Venezuelan businessmen na sina Antonio Mugica at Alfredo Anzola at bahagi ng isang consortium na kinabibilangan ng Smartmatic, Bizta SBC at isa pang kompanya na kinontrata ng Venezuelan government para mag-automate ng eleksyon.
Sa unang bahagi ng 2004, nakuha ng SBC ang $121 milyon na kontrata at $91 milyon ang napunta sa Smartmatic at Bizta na kapwa pag-aari nina Mugica at Anzola. Ito umano ang kauna-unahang kontrata ng Smartmatic.