The Court of Appeals has reversed the temporary relief earlier issued by a court in Manila enjoining the implementation of a resolution by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which favored the bid of Smartmatic-TIM Corporation in connection with the lease of election machines.
Smartmatic-TIM provided the more than 92,000 vote counting machines used in last month’s elections.
Agan Montenegro Malagasa and Company (AMMC), one of the prospective bidders in the Comelec project, filed a case before the Manila Regional Trial Court questioning the Comelec’s resolution declaring Smartmatic-TIM as the winning bidder.
Subsequently, the Manila RTC thru Judge Cicero Jurado of Branch 11 issued a temporary restraining order on July 16, 2015 enjoining the Comelec from implementing its assailed resolution.
The poll body questioned the lower court’s order before the Appellate court through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) arguing that Cicero gravely abused his discretion in issuing the TRO.
The decision of the 9th Division, dated May 6, 2016, but was released just recently, was penned by Associate Justice Melchor Sadang and was concurred by Associate Justices Celia Librea-Leagogo and Amy Lazaro-Javier.
The appellate court said that the Manila RTC erred when it failed to direct AMMC to implead Smartmatic-TIM as party defendant considering that it is an “indispensable party” and that it’s inclusion in the case is a “mandatory requirement” for the court to acquire jurisdiction over the case.
It pointed out that since AMMC was “merely a prospective bidder” and does not claim to be a losing or failed bidder, it has “no personality to challenge the decision.”
“The damage that AMMC would allegedly suffer if the assailed decision is implemented is the amount of P75,000 that it paid to secure bid documents. Such damage can hardly be considered irreparable,” it pointed out.