The Commission on Elections has signed a contract with businessman Dennis Uy, a campaign contributor of President Rodrigo Duterte, to transport ballots and other election materials for the 2022 polls.
The P535-million deal between the poll body and F2 Logistics was signed on Oct. 29 despite concerns over Uy's closeness to the President. The company will transport, among others, official ballots, ballot boxes, computerized voters' lists, vote counting machines, consolidation and canvassing system machines and transmission equipment.
"There is clearly something wrong with this picture that no amount of legal technicalities can debunk," Danilo Arao, convenor of Kontra Daya, previously said of the contract.
Uy was a contributor to Duterte's 2016 election campaign and comes from Davao where the 76-year-old leader served as mayor for 22 years.
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.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Tuesday that there was no conflict of interest in awarding the contract to F2 Logistics, and that the firm's handling of election materials wouldn't compromise the outcome of the elections.
“The question of conflict of interest was looked at. Talagang chineck yan ng ating Bids and Awards Committee. And it was found that there really was no ground to say that there was a conflict of interest,” he told ANC. F2 offered the lowest bid, he said.
Jimenez said Comelec personnel would oversee the loading and delivery of election materials to voting precincts, and that measures have been put in place to ensure that preloaded results will not be inserted to the machines during transport.
"During the performance of the contract, F2 Logistics will not be doing it in isolation. They will not be doing it alone. There will be witnesses, there will be proper channels where you can report any possibility of wrongdoing," he added.
--- with a report from Reuters