Supposed Link of Key Bidder To FG Mike Arroyo Reported
The scenario in the ongoing bidding for the automated system intended for next year’s elections is appears to be getting murkier.
While COMELEC functionaries are insisting that they will complete the bidding for the PhP 11.3-B undertaking by month’s end new suspicions are surfacing.
The latest crink comes from an opinion/advocacy piece in the online magazine American Chronicle by veteran journalist Mike Banos who is based in Cagayan De Oro and Zamboanga city as is executive editor of Z- Free Press.
Citing unnamed sources, Banos reports that
despite overwhelming evidence it does not have previous experience in poll automation, an Israeli-Filipino joint venture which is a surprise last minute entrant to the bidding looks like it has the inside track as the bidding process enters its final lap.
He further notes how
F.F. Cruz is a construction company with no track record in poll canvassing while Gilat Satellite Networks is an Israeli satellite defense firm with headquarters in the outskirts of Tel Aviv which designs, develops and markets satellite antennas that are used by telecommunications operators worldwide. So far, records show neither F.F. Cruz nor Gilas has ever done an election automation project nor sold a single vote counting machine in the past. The also failed to present a single voting machine to the Comelec, Congress, and the Advisory Council.
Journalist Banos quotes his sources as telling him that
an F.F. Cruz executive has boasted the F.F. Cruz-Gilat partnership is certain to win the contract due to the alleged backing of First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo. Such loose talk already reached Malacañang, and presumably President Arroyo. Administration insiders revealed that the President did not take it lightly. In fact, F. F. Cruz, as a company, is even said to be at loggerheads with the First Gentleman.
The online account in the American Chronicle is date stamped May 15 exactly one week after that YouTube video clip which showed the elderly F.F. Cruz signing a sheaf of documents inside one of the toilets in the rented office of the Commission on Elections at the Palacio Del Gobernador building in Intramuros.
Guesting this morning in the DZMM radio program of Vice President Noli De Castro, Cruz confirmed that he was indeed in that 26 second video clip.
But he told De Castro that the documents were about his firm’s other project, a facility being developed in Coron, Palawan and had been brought to him by his assistant, the burly looking man in the checkered shirt also seen in the YouTube video.
Mr. F.F. Cruz did not identify who the third male in the video is and who had filmed the video clip.
This writer has been trying to get through to representatives of the Gilat-FF Cruz group but has been unable to as of this posting.