It looks like Election technology provider Smartmatic is on extortion business after it released a statement threatening the Liberal Party (LP), and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) of “unimaginable circumstances” if the two parties will refuse to pay more than two billion pesos for the machines and their “special service”.
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon told dzBB that because of the delayed return of the VCMs, Smartmatic is already considering the machines as “good as sold” to the Comelec.
Guanzon said that the Comelec failed to return the VCMs on time due to the protest filed by losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“May sinisingil yung Smartmatic na P2 billion dahil daw sa late na pagbalik namin ng ilang mga VCM na na-delay nung protesta ni Bongbong Marcos. Good as sold na daw yun,” Guanzon said.
“Sabi ko nag-lease lang kami sa inyo, renta lang, wala namang bidding tapos sasabihin n’yo good as sold? Ano ‘to palakasan na lang ng dibdib to, P2 billion?” she added.
Guanzon said that Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista has approved the request of Smartmatic for a closed-door meeting with all the commissioners to iron out the agreement.
Guanzon said she refused to attend the meeting since it might send a wrong signal to the public, prompting her to propose an en banc meeting without Smartmatic instead.
“Gusto nga nila mag-meeting. Itong si Chairman Bautista tinatawag kaming mag-meeting. Bakit ako a-attend ng meeting diyan? Ano, aayusin natin yan closed-door? Hindi puwede yan sa’kin, en banc meeting niyo ‘yan ng wala sila. Baka isipin ng tao nag-connive tayo sa P2 billion na ‘yan,” she said.
On the other hand, the company is also demanding unspecified amount from the Liberal Party as payment for their “special service” during the Election Day.
In a separate interview, Smartmatic spokesman Julian Garcia said the Liberal Party failed to keep its promise to pay the company (amount not specified) when it asked for a “special service” that would make some LP candidates win, especially the vice president and several LP senators, during the Elections.
“We agreed that they will pay us after the Elections and they did not keep their promise. There will be an “unimaginable circumstances” if they ignore our request. We have all the evidence to pin them down legally”, Garcia said. /Marco Santillan/
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