By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News | 12/07/2012 4:21 PM
MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has granted the party-list applications of 4 more groups, bringing to 83 the total number of party-list groups accredited by the poll body for the 2013 elections.
Chairman Sixto Brillantes named the 4 groups as Sanlakas, 1Abilidad, Ating Guro and AWAT Mindanao.
Brillantes explained that Sanlakas is an old group that had to re-apply. It ran in earlier elections but did not join both the 2007 and 2010 elections.
The Comelec en banc also reversed the division-level grant of accreditation to the following party-list applicants: 1Kasambahay, Aasenso sa Barangay, Alay Akay and Urban Poor Development and Services.
None of the accreditations and denials Brillantes announced today were the result of a unanimous vote.
Earlier this week, the poll body cancelled the registration of existing party-list groups CONSLA and IVAP and rejected the applications of 1Pinoy sa Kalikasan and EN BANK.
The Partido Bayan ng Bida was retained as a political party but its bid to run in the party-list elections was rejected by the en banc.
Brillantes meantime did not object to plans by Butil party-list Rep. Agapito Guanlao to call for a House investigation into the party-list purge. He merely suggested it be done in January after the Comelec has started to print ballots.
The poll body has not yet ruled on the fate of 2 more groups.
The Comelec is expected to raffle off slots on the ballot for the party-list groups on Monday, December 17. Groups who won't be represented during the raffle will see their slots drawn by Comelec personnel.
At least 33 groups excluded from the party-list race will still be on the ballot because of the status quo ante order they obtained from the Supreme Court to stop their disqualification from the party-list elections.
Brillantes meantime dismissed watchdog Kontra Daya's criticism of the party-list purge, noting the group merely wants the Comelec to follow their recommendations. He jokingly urged Kontra Daya Convenor Fr. Joe Dizon to just join the Comelec instead.
Meantime the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee gave prospective bidders for the deployment of automated elections systems equipment till January 4 to submit their bids.
The approved budget for the contract is P2,285,522,534.53.
SBAC Chair Helen Aguila Flores explained that the SBAC split this major contract into 4 sub-lots based on geographic regions as they feared that few contractors may qualify for a nationwide contract.
Flores said the contract is broken down as follows: Lot 9A-P482,666,041.13 covering NCR and Regions 4 and 5; Lot 9B -P483,012,818.88 covering CAR and Regions 1, 2 and 3; Lot 9-C P571,621,850.34 covering the Visayas and and Lot 9-D P748,221, 824.18 covering Mindanao.
Flores said only Smartmatic submitted a bid for all 4 sub-lots, with other companies bidding for any one of the 4 lots.
Smartmatic, Ace Logistic, Inc., Airfreight 2100, Inc. and Explorer Freight bought bid documents for Lot 9A; Smartmatic bought bid documents for lot 9B, Smartmatic, F2 Logistics and 2 Go Express bought bid documents for lot 9C and Smartmatic and Argo International Forwarders bought bid documents for lot 9D.
Flores added that it will also be easier for the commission to monitor the progress of the contractor if the contract is broken down to 4 lots.
The SBAC will proceed with the bidding for the national support center next week as well s the procurement of ballot boxes and packaging.