Filtered By: Topstories

Comelec to conduct Congress demo of Miru's automated poll system in March

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Sunday it is set to demonstrate the South Korean firm Miru Systems’ conduct of a new automated election system for the 2025 national and local elections in front of lawmakers next month.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, Comelec chairman George Garcia said that the poll body will go to Congress on March 5 to conduct the demo of Miru’s prototype machines.

“Tayo ay nakikipag-usap na sa contract negotiations sa Miru at isa sa inire-request natin ay kailangan ito ay ma-demo, ang mga makinang ito, sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo na sa mga awtoridad katulad ng Senado at Kongreso, upang ang mga agam-agam nila ay mapawi at sila mismo ay magkaron ng kasagutan doon sa mga katanungan patungkol dito,” Garcia said.

(In our contract negotiations with Miru, one of our requests would be that the machines need to be demonstrated to our countrymen, especially to the authorities such as the Senate and Congress, so that their doubts will be erased and they themselves will be able to get answers to the questions.)

Garcia said the Congress demo will be done before the manufacturing of vote counting machines (VCMs) begins.

Last Thursday, Comelec awarded the P17.99 billion contract for VCMs for the 2025 elections to Miru Systems.

Garcia said that Miru will lease to the Comelec around 110,000 machines and peripherals including ballot boxes, laptops, and other printing requirements for the 2025 polls.

The poll body had also conducted end-to-end testing of the prototype machines of Miru as part of its post-qualification evaluation for the procurement of a new automated election system. Back then, the poll body’s Special Bids and Awards Committee also held a mock election using Miru's.

Garcia said that even the citizens' arms, who were present during the demo, had no violent reactions to Miru's VCMs.

“Ang gusto natin isang proseso na transparent. Kinakailangan ito’y naiintindihan ng mga kababayan natin. Sa bandang huli, ang mga kababayan natin ang gagamit ng makina. Napakahirap kung hindi nila mauunawaan ‘yan,” he added.

(What we want is a process that is transparent. This must be understood by the voters. In the end, our countrymen will be the ones who will use the machines. It's very difficult if they don't understand that.)

Lawmakers, election watchdogs, and other groups earlier expressed concern and called on the Comelec to stay vigilant and review Miru's track record.

But, Miru Systems said the allegations of election failures due to its technology were false.

“The company designs, develops, and manufactures secure electoral systems that are of international standard,” it said in a statement.

“Throughout the years we have conducted several projects locally and abroad… and developed multiple systems internally for all types of electoral stages,” Marcelo Daniel Magaña, Miru overseas sales representative, said in a separate statement.

Miru is joined by Integrated Computer Systems and St. Timothy Construction Corporation and Centerpoint Solutions Technologies, Inc. in the joint venture for the Comelec procurement.

It was declared ineligible in the first round of bidding in December 2023 for failure to meet the legal requirements of the lease contract. Comelec SMAC conducted a second round of bidding where Miru submitted new documents.

In January, Miru was deemed eligible to proceed with the bidding process after complying with all the legal and financial requirements for the project. —KG, GMA Integrated News