By Vince Alvic A. F. Nonato, Reporter

Comelec to study thermal paper offer

Posted on April 14, 2016

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) will still have to study first whether to accept the offer of Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. (Smartmatic-TIM) to donate 1.1 million rolls of thermal paper to be used in the printing of voter receipts.

Comelec Chairman Andres D. Bautista said some of the commissioners wanted to find out first if it was proper for the poll body to take the free offer despite already being in the process of bidding out the P85.8-million supply contract.

“We asked the Law Department to study this, although what is interesting about this is that it is free given the challenges of time that we are facing,” Mr. Bautista said.

Earlier in the day, Smartmatic-TIM head for voters’ education Karen V. Jimeno said the firm donated its thermal paper stock to ensure there will be no delay in procuring the supply.

Smartmatic-TIM -- the supplier of most election paraphernalia, including the vote-counting machines -- lost the bidding of the contract to local manufacturing company Forms International Enterprises Corp. The latter proposed to take on the supply for P43.5 million, much cheaper than Smartmatic-TIM’s P83.6-million offer.

The bidding process is not over yet, however, as the Bids and Awards Committee have to conduct a post-qualification process before issuing a notice to proceed. Deployment of the paper supply is set to begin next week.

Meanwhile, the Comelec has also announced that President Benigno S. C. Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) and Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) have been declared the dominant majority and dominant minority parties, respectively.

“Through the formula, it was determined that the dominant majority party is the Liberal Party and the dominant minority party is UNA,” Mr. Bautista said.

The dominant parties are entitled to receive two of the initial eight printed copies of the election returns (ER) from the voting machines, as well as the electronically-transmitted precinct results, the certificates of canvass, and the right to assign official watchers in every polling place and canvassing center.

These dominant parties were determined through a point system taking into account the number of candidates and incumbent officials, as well as the track record.

The remaining parties can also get their own copies of the ERs after a second batch of 22 returns is printed.