The Philippine Commission on Elections has banned Smartmatic Philippines Inc. from the nation’s elections, ending 13 years of the company being the main provider of election technology to the nation.
The decision revolved around allegations of bribery that claim commission chairman Andres Bautista was paid off to ensure Smartmatic won the contract for the 2016 elections, according to the Philippine edition of CNN. Bautista has denied the allegations.
Although Smartmatic argued it has followed the rules, noting that there are nothing but allegations against it, the commission was unmoved.
“Although these allegations, stemming from incidents potentially spanning at least three election cycles, have not been conclusively proven, their gravity and potential to damage public trust warrant the Commission (En banc’s) proactive measures to safeguard the integrity of elections and democratic institutions,” the commission said in a published decision.
According to the Manila Times, a U.S. government request for information that could be linked to possible violation of American laws was a factor in the decision. The Times report said charges being investigated included violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.
“It is noteworthy that Bautista, who served as the Chairman of the Commission, was