Philippine Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Smartmatic, Rectifying Unjust Disqualification by Comelec

Smartmatic welcomes the Supreme Court’s ruling in its favor. It represents a fair outcome that emphasizes the importance of justice and due process.

Manila, Philippines – April 17, 2024 – In a landmark decision, the Philippine Supreme Court overturned the unjust disqualification of Smartmatic by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), marking a significant victory for fairness and the rule of law. The High Court reversed Comelec’s decision on the ground that “…the Comelec gravely abused its discretion in violating the procedure for public bidding”.

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling in our favor, which restores justice and sends a clear message to those at the helm of Comelec that due process matters,” said Atty. Christian Robert Lim, representing Smartmatic. “The ruling does justice to the 90% of Filipinos who support automated elections, and who believe that Smartmatic’s work since 2010 has resulted in a stronger democracy and unquestioned legitimacy of our leaders,” added Atty. Lim.

The verdict dealt a blow against the questionable actions of certain Comelec commissioners which include the sudden and random declaration of the vote counting machines (VCMs) as unserviceable despite several more years of functionality and ongoing warranty. The continued use of the machines could have potentially saved billions of pesos for the Filipino people. Furthermore, the abrupt and illegal disqualification of Smartmatic just days before the bidding led to a non-competitive procurement process.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court agrees with the opinions of Comelec’s own Law Department and a dissenting commissioner, who had argued that the commission lacked both procedural authority and factual evidence for Smartmatic’s disqualification.

Having been vindicated, Smartmatic stands ready to explore further opportunities to contribute to the ongoing modernization of Philippine elections—a transformative journey it began over a decade ago. “We remain committed to assisting Comelec and the nation in advancing the modernization of our electoral processes,” commented Atty. Lim.

In December, Smartmatic filed an urgent petition before the High Court, challenging its unwarranted disqualification by Comelec. The company argued there were no legal grounds for its disqualification and that it was not afforded due process. “By rectifying Comelec’s questionable decision, the Court not only vindicated Smartmatic but also set a crucial precedent for upholding transparency and accountability in public procurement processes,” added Atty. Lim.

Since 2010, Smartmatic has played a crucial role in enabling accurate and unimpeachable election results, elevating the Philippines as a global model for election modernization. “After five automated elections, the Philippines now ranks among the world’s top-rated countries for citizens’ trust in their elections, thanks in part to the modernization of its electoral processes. Comelec has received international recognition for its efforts in electoral modernization, a feat to which we are immensely proud to have contributed,” explained Atty. Lim.

Smartmatic, the world’s leading voting technology and services company, boasts a 100% success rate, having processed 6.5 billion votes without a security breach in elections across five continents. In the Philippines, the company has provided technology and support services for the last five national elections.