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Mr Guingona, honorary chairman of Automated Election System (AES) Watch, filed last April a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the purchase of more than 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines which the Comelec would use for the midterm elections next year.
The AES Watch petition said that the purchase is not valid as it was executed after the December 31, 2010 cut-off exercise date, making it illegal as no public competitive bidding was conducted.
Similar petitions were also filed during the same period with the Supreme Court by Davao City Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Solidarity for Sovereignty and Tanggulang Demokrasya on behalf of their respective groups.
The Supreme Court last June 13 issued a decision declaring valid the option to purchase for a reported Php 1.8 billion from Smartmatic-TIM, supplier of the controversial PCOS machines and software used during the 2010 national elections.
The decision effectively thumbed down other similar petitions.
The SC decision declared that (a) the period of the option to purchase has not expired, (b) there was no substantial amendment to the contract, and (c) the amendment is advantageous to the public.
In a 28-page motion for reconsideration, AES Watch asserts that the Supreme Court made an error in its decision.
“The period of the option to purchase under the AES Contract is on or before December 31, 2010. The option is dead after December 31, 2010, when COMELEC did not exercise the same. No amount of legal contortion can change that fact.
“If COMELEC desires to procure PCOS machines and items like those under the void Deed of Sale, it should now conduct public bidding.”
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. last April was quoted as saying that if a temporary restraining order would be issued, then Comelec would stop everything and conduct a new bidding.
Until such time the Supreme Court acts on the motion for reconsideration, advocacy groups anticipate it would be full steam for the Comelec to proceed with the purchase.
Global Filipino Nation, a member organisation of Tanggulang Demokrasya, yesterday issued an email broadcast enjoining other civil society groups to “enjoin the Supreme Court to reconsider its erroneous and misplaced decision on the PCOS machines.”