By Arjay L. Balinbin

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said there is enough legal basis to drop the partnership of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with Smartmatic, saying the company “has not been efficient” in the previous elections.

“The legal basis: if you have not done efficiently what you’re supposed to do. That’s the legal basis,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a press briefing when asked to comment on Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez’s statement that there should be a legal basis for such a move.

He added, “Kung iyong (if the) glitch will result in the delay, substantial delay in the results, if I were the lawyer, I would argue [that] there’s a breach, kasi hindi mo sinunod iyong kontrata mo (Because you did not follow your contract). Dapat walang (There should be no) delay.”

Mr. Jimenez said in a chance interview with reporters last Monday that there has to be a legal basis despite the reported glitches during the May 13 elections.

He said Smartmatic had “nothing to do with the counting of votes.”

On the Position of President Rodrigo R. Duterte on the matter, Mr. Panelo said: “The President’s position is very clear. There have been allegations of certain glitches that somehow affect the impression that this Smartmatic is competent…. If you recall, during the presidential elections, there were strong allegations that the President lost three million votes. And presently, the opposition is also complaining about the votes that they got….”

For his part, House Minority Leader Danilo E. Suarez of the 3rd district of Quezon said in a press conference on Tuesday, “‘Yung failure ng election ay hindi sa Smartmatic, it was Comelec itself…Lahat ng ginagawa ng Smartmatic, kinuha nila. Everything was Smartmatic’s before… Kaya ‘yung blunder dito sa SD cards na nagkasira-sira, we really have to ask Comelec what happened there.” (The failure of election is not by Smartmatic but by the Comelec itself. Comelec took off from everything Smartmatic did….That’s why the blunder regarding the SD cards, we really have to ask Comelec what happened there).