Transparency Beyond Procurement is Needed for Public Confidence in the 2025 NLE and 1st BARMM Parliamentary Elections

While concerns arose regarding the integrity of the lone bidder - Miru Systems Co. - for the new Automated Counting Machines (ACM), and the integrity of Miru-developed machines provided to other countries, the transparency in the bidding process must be acknowledged.

The involvement of civil society organizations (CSOs), LENTE included, as observers in various procurement stages for the lease of the ACM for the 2025 National and Local Elections, underscores COMELEC’s commitment to uphold transparency in such crucial election processes.

LENTE respects the unanimous decision of the COMELEC en banc to award the contract to Miru, based on the recommendation of the Special Bids and Awards Committee, and the findings of the Technical Working Group.

However, the shadow of past controversies necessitate further steps to ensure public confidence. In this regard, we call for continued transparency and civil society engagement by the COMELEC.

On January 22, 2024, at the tail-end of the first day of the post-qualification process, Miru committed to providing supporting documents to COMELEC refuting past fraud allegations. We urge the COMELEC to facilitate the access to these documents making it available to the public for scrutiny in order to increase public confidence.

We urge the COMELEC to facilitate access to these documents making it available to the public for scrutiny in order to increase public confidence. As part of our role as observer in the procurement process, we expect to receive a copy of the report from the SBAC.

Following yesterday's end-to-end demonstration, we ask the COMELEC for its continued openness to civil society feedback by maintaining open communication channels.

Receiving and addressing concerns about the accessibility, efficiency, and usability of the new machines is crucial to protecting Filipinos' right to suffrage and ensuring a credible electoral process in 2025.

With almost less than a year left until the 2025 election period starts, accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness in electoral processes remain paramount.

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