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Comelec: Preparations for 2025 polls to proceed

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Comelec: Preparations for 2025 polls to proceed
This file photo shows a vote-counting machine used by the Commission on Elections.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — After signing a contract for its automated election system, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will proceed as scheduled with preparations for the May 2025 midterm elections.

No legal impediments prevent the poll body from proceeding with the elections even with a pending petition of its former service provider Smartmatic International with the Supreme Court (SC), Comelec Chairman George Garcia said.

“We have not received a temporary restraining order stopping the Comelec,” he said at a press briefing on Monday.

Comelec will continue preparing for the elections and not wait for a resolution to the petition filed by Smartmatic against the poll body, Garcia noted.

But the poll body will comply with whatever decision the high court would render, he stressed.

Garcia also expressed optimism that Smartmatic’s “petition for certiorari with extremely urgent application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction” will be dismissed and clear any roadblocks for using new automated machines provided by a joint venture led by Korean firm Miru Systems.

Last year, Comelec disallowed Smartmatic from participating in any public bidding process for elections.

The Comelec and Miru Systems joint venture signed on Monday the contract for the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit and Count project after a public bidding.

The poll body cannot resort to manual elections even if the SC will rule against Comelec, Garcia noted.

Comelec is not worried about possible negative consequences since the bidding process was “in order and above board,” he said.

The poll body also obtained from the United Nations a certification stating that the polls conducted by Miru Systems was successful and complaints came from candidates who lost the elections.

Based on reports, Miru Systems faced problems in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to fraud allegations.

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