SC voids Smartmatic deal



    BAGUIO CITY: If you can’t beat them, join them.

    Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Presbiterio Velasco, whom sources of The Manila Times earlier identified as fighting tooth and nail to convince their colleagues to green-light a “midnight deal” between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM, made a turnaround and joined the majority of the Supreme Court in declaring the P300-million agreement void.

    The decision was “immediately executory.”

    Sereno and Velasco earlier voted against issuance of a temporary restraining order to stop the Comelec from enforcing its contract with Smartmatic.

    Voting 15-0, the High Court granted petitions filed by the Automated Elections System (AES) Watch and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) questioning the diagnostics and repair contract of about 80,000 voting machines, popularly known as PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines, which would be used in the 2016 elections.

    “The petitions are granted. Comelec Resolution 9922 and the Extended Warranty Contract Program 1 are declared null and void,” the tribunal’s spokesman Theodore Te told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

    Quoting the ruling penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Te said the Comelec “failed to justify its resort to direct contracting.”

    Comelec Resolution 9922 gave approval to the P300-million “Extended Warranty Proposal (Program 1)” through direct contracting.

    Justifying its move, the poll body said it decided to do away with public bidding and directly negotiate the service contract with Smartmatic because of a “tight time schedule” in preparing for the elections.

    The agreement was labeled a “midnight deal” because it was consummated three days before the retirement of then-Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. last February 2.

    The AES Watch petitioners led by Bishop Broderick Pabillo and former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman questioned the deal and haled the poll body to court, accusing its commissioners of committing grave abuse of discretion when it issued Resolution 9922.

    The petitioners argued that the Comelec resolution violated the Government Procurement Reform Act and Commonwealth Act 128.

    The IBP, meanwhile, said bypassing the bidding requirement is contrary to public policy hence, the contract is “void and inexistent” under Article 1409 of the Philippine Civil Code.


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    1. PCOS, you come to me, with naught save lies
      you hold my head and lift my eyes above
      a wide new world of nasty ploys I see
      PCOS you come to me!

      PCOS, Brillantes speaks in accent sweet
      I find the roses waking ’round my feet
      And I am led through tears and joy to thee
      PCOS, you speak to me!

      PCOS, Sixto made thee mine I’ll cherish thee
      Through lies, and countless sleepless nights for me
      and pray my buddy Mar will win this time
      Because here comes Binay!

    2. Mr. Brillantes was really not a brilliant comelec chairman, he was just the man assigned to manipulate the whole system in the comelec with full support from the administration that placed him there. It was all win-win, smart automatic machines, controlled results, less election complaints due to no basis, over priced pcos machines, machine maintenance and storage plus possible fat kickbacks. The man is already brilliantly retired so I don’t care about his opinion. Thanks for being a comelec stooge all the way. Keep it all in the pocket for keeps.

    3. It mean nothing to Sixto Brillantes who has already collected his loot on the deal from Smartmatic. At least nakabawi tayo ng kaunti sa mga kinita ng Smartmatic. These PCOS which are upgraded version of a fax machine cost less than 10,000 pesos that Comelec rented for 45,000 pesos in 2010 and bought them in 2013 for 40,000 pesos each. I praise the Supreme Court for putting them to stop. At least the plan to cheat of the Liberal Party next year will have to change because in manual tabulation of votes the opposing parties will have a copy of the votes counted plus they will see what is written in the ballot.

    4. The SC decision should not only stop at declaring null and void the Brillantes-Smartmatic midnight deal but should also prosecute and convict Brillantes for graft and corrupt practices.

    5. If there are still superlatives of “very good” then that are the words I can describe SC’s decision. Keep it up SUPREMO!

    6. It looks like the Supreme Court can be counted on to uphold the law. Thanks.

      We have one piece of government doing its job correctly.

    7. I think it’s a very wise move on there part . Since many complain has been made before against smartmatic .

    8. Eddie de Leon on

      Thank God. Again I pray that CJ Sereno become truly a youg vice of wisdom for or Republic, our people and society. She should forget for the sake of the common good that she owes to de facto President Aquino her being in her important position and be truly wise, patriotic Chief Justice until 20 or more years from now.

    9. Alejo Rosete on

      Salamat sa Diyos.

      Serino at Velasco ay takot sa reaction ng publico
      kung hindi silang susunod sa kagustuhan ng MAJORITY