BIZ BUZZ: Comelec contract conundrum | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Comelec contract conundrum

/ 02:15 AM November 29, 2023

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been keeping the public in suspense for some weeks now about the fate of its deal with automated election systems provider Smartmatic.

Smartmatic, meanwhile, is squirming under the threat of disqualification from the future contract during this period, Biz Buzz hears.

But is there something more to this delay than the usual reasons of needing more time to deliberate on this important issue?


Word on the street is that some Comelec officials are determined to see Smartmatic go for one reason or another. The problem, however, is that it may be difficult to justify any decision to remove Smartmatic from the picture if it’s based solely on current protests filed by private individuals against the firm.


More importantly, Comelec —being the sole administrator of the country’s elections —cannot possibly admit any wrongdoing by siding with the private complainants (and thus undermining the legitimacy of all previous elections that were conducted with Smartmatic’s automated systems).

Compounding the issue is the fact that Comelec has already publicly debunked the claims of election fraud being alleged by these private individuals.

Word on the street is that Smartmatic’s critics are latching onto a company statement saying that it has never been indicted in the United States or in any other country. But the company is standing firm on this assertion.

How determined are some of these Comelec officials to disqualify a vendor based on a these claims? And why the urgency to make this decision just before the bidding process? We suspect this issue will become clearer in the coming days. Abangan! —Daxim L. Lucas

AIA Philippines chief retires

Not a few at AIA Philippines were saddened by the announcement that its chief executive officer Kelvin Ang is retiring, following a 26-year career that spanned multiple geographies, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and the Philippines.

But then again Ang has certainly earned the right to sail into the sunset after a stint that included steering the company through the turbulent years of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.


“It has been quite a journey for me working these past five years alongside our people and partners at AIA Philippines, through the challenges of a worldwide pandemic and back to regaining our footing thereafter,” shared Ang.

AIA has appointed Melita Teo, who brings with her 21 years of experience with the company, as AIA Philippines’ incoming CEO. Most recently Chief Customer and Digital Officer of AIA Singapore, Teo has held various leadership positions in Strategy and Planning, Business Development, Corporate Solutions and Operations, since joining the company in 2001.

“I’m excited to be joining the AIA Philippines team. These are exciting times for our business. Powered by the legacy of our 76 years in the market and the strength of the AIA Group, we are well positioned to bring Filipinos the best AIA has to offer,” she said.

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Teo will assume her new role as AIA Philippines CEO on Jan. 1, 2024, subject to regulatory approvals, with Ang staying on as adviser to the CEO until Feb. 29, 2024, giving him more time to take the proverbial victory lap in the Philippines. —Tina Arceo-Dumlao INQ

TAGS: Biz Buzz, Comelec, Smartmatic

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