Total Information Management or TIM just withdrew from its consortium agreement with Smartmatic, rendering the entire poll automation contract in jeopardy. Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said that TIM officials led by its CEO Jose Antunez formally gave their letter of resignation yesterday. Melo hinted the possibility of reverting to manual counting. Or, as COMELEC legal head Atty. Ferdie Rafanan indicated, a COMELEC-Smartmatic consortium just to push thru with it.
TIM spokesperson, Atty. Boy De Borja in an interview today with DZMM anchor Ted Failon, indicated that their supposed "rift" between Smartmatic has been historically long.
Atty. De Borja said that Smartmatic approached them prior to the bidding, shortly after the Mindanao poll automation experiment. Someone recommended TIM to Smartmatic. Smartmatic then entered into a consortium with TIM. And they won the bidding.
TIM said that automated elections is really not a guarantee for clean elections. That is the beef of TIM against Smartmatic. TIM said that they are responsible to ensure that the 2010 elections is " absolute clean (ly) and beyond doubt". However, TIM protested Smartmatic's view that they'll be the ones to decide should a problem occur during the implementation of the poll automation. What problems, TIM is wont to say.
Atty. de Borja revealed a very cryptic statement indicating that certain "administrative matters", for example, the "disbursement of checks" could impact on the integrity of the elections. TIM says they want to avoid that.
De Borja said that Smartmatic agreed on a 60-40 arrangement, as provided for by Philippine laws. However, in reality, Smartmatic wants to control all decisions relating to the implementation of poll automation. In effect, what Smartmatic wants TIM to just be a paper partner. TIM refused to do that, fearing that a failure of the automation could boomerang to them, being the Philippine partner.
By the way, it's curious to note that this "break" happened shortly after the Senate investigation. Probably, there is really something seriously wrong with the consortium that TIM and Smartmatic do not want the public to know. These companies would want to avoid a full outbreak of their legal complications.