Comelec said Friday it "doesn't see a problem" with letting tycoon Dennis Uy's F2 handle the transportation of election materials for next year's vote, after a poll watchdog raised concerns over the choice.
The poll body said there should be no issue "as long as the law is followed". The group Kontra Daya flagged the deal since Uy is among the biggest contributors to President Rodrigo Duterte's 2016 election campaign.
"There are fears of some people about the award to F2 logistics of the contract. Our BAC is reviewing and following the procedures under the law, so I don’t see any problem that it shall be awarded to F2 logistics as long as we follow the law," Comelec Commissioner Aimee Ferolino said.
The contract involves the transport of vote-counting machines, external batteries and accessories, ballots and transmission equipment, among other things, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez earlier told reporters.
Since Duterte came to power, Uy has embarked on a rapid business expansion, buying into the country's largest natural gas field and clinching a deal to operate the country's third telecom firm backed by China.
Duterte, who is not eligible to run for re-election, said on Tuesday he was running for vice- president next year, which would put him in the line of succession for the presidency should he win.
"There is clearly something wrong with this picture that no amount of legal technicalities can debunk," Danilo Arao, convenor of Kontra Daya, said of the contract.
Five of the six election commissioners are appointees of Duterte, while the poll body's chairman was chosen by the previous administration but re-appointed by Duterte.