Home Top News MIRU’s track record: A concern for the US

MIRU’s track record: A concern for the US

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By Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, SAGIP Party-List

An investigative piece by the US-based journal Politico has cast a spotlight on Miru Systems, questioning the deployment of their voting technology in Iraq and Congo — nations supported by US election funding but plagued by technical glitches. More than focusing on technological snafu, the article calls the attention of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to reassess the wisdom of supporting countries using Miru technology.

Even more grimly, the Politico investigative report cited sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department on the president of the Congo Election Commission for corruption — stating how he padded a contract for Miru’s machines by up to US $100 million which was then deposited into a company he controlled.

This scrutiny gains local significance as Miru bagged a sole-bidder contract with Comelec to supply voting equipment for the Philippines’ 2025 elections. Despite calls for vigilance from election watchdogs and lawmakers, Comelec’s lackluster response was: “The winners in Congo and Iraq are happy and satisfied with Miru’s performance.” Really?

Amplifying these concerns is the dubious connection between Miru and Russian elections. Miru is openly affiliated with Bauman Moscow State Technical University, a relationship instrumental in the development of election scanners used in Russia’s contentious 2018 presidential election and subsequently in Iraq, yet another authoritarian regime. Who knows—it might be the scanning technology we will use come 2025.

Miru’s involvement in Russia reportedly began around 2009 and extended to their recent 2024 presidential elections. It may be recalled that during the March 19 Senate hearing, the company representative boasted on the supply of technology in that Russian elections—which was marked by Putin’s sweeping victory for a fifth term. Such ties, ignored by Comelec amid the global pushback against Russian electoral practices, could cast a cloud of doubt over the transparency of the Philippines’ electoral venture.

Filipinos’ trust in Western-led democratic principles versus their skepticism of Russian and Chinese aggression, as revealed by Pulse Asia surveys, underscores the potential geopolitical conflict in Comelec’s choice. A recent survey by Pulse Asia confirmed this, with 80% of Filipinos expressing a desire for the Philippines to work with the United States to counter China’s increasing belligerence in the West Philippine Sea. Another survey revealed that 61% of Filipinos distrust China, while 58% distrust Russia. Comelec should seriously weigh the wisdom of being associated with a company doing business in Russia even as the administration labors to bolster our ties with the US and western democracies.

These unsettling revelations beg one question: Did Comelec even realize that the optical scanners it purchased might have originated from Russia, where elections are reportedly a farce? Proper due diligence should have alerted Comelec to these shady connections that could result to shady elections. The outcome of such due diligence, or lack of it, might not just impact on the credibility of our own elections, but also the nation’s international repute as a regional beacon of democracy caught in a tense geopolitical landscape.

That said, something smells fishy with Comelec’s choice. And the smell reportedly reeks from the Philippines all the way to the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, North America, China, and Singapore.

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