Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gordon slams Binay’s claim on poll deal

SENATOR Richard Gordon yesterday lashed back at Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay for insinuating that the poll automation deal won by the consortium, Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp., is tainted with fraud.

Gordon, principal author of the Automated Elections System Law, laughed off Binay’s suspicion that President Arroyo’s “secret” side trip to Cartagenia last week, which coincided with the establishment of Philippine diplomatic ties with Barbados, had something to do with the automation project. Smartmatic is registered with Barbados, a tiny Caribbean state in Latin America and a former British colony that has gained a reputation as a haven for laundering money.

Binay, president of the United Opposition, went to the extent of comparing the President’s journey to Colombia to her secret trip to Boao, Hainan in China in April 2007 in which she supposedly discussed the national broadband project with top executives of the ZTE at the telecommunications firm’s headquarters.

Gordon said it is unfair and malicious to compare Smartmatic’s contract with the botched $329-million NBN-ZTE contract.

“In the first place, the poll automation project was awarded to Smartmatic as a result of an open, public bidding. In contrast, the NBN project was awarded to ZTE Corp. through negotiated contract,” he said to emphasize that there is transparency in the bidding process for the automation deal.

He also pointed out that Smartmatic offered the lowest bid at P7.2 billion for the government funded project with an authorized budget of P11.3 billion.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Barbados were established in the wake of criticisms over the allegedly flawed certification of Smartmatic’s Article of Incorporation and by-laws issued by the government of Barbados.

By. Fel Maragay - Manila Standard Today

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