SHOWDOWN AT THE HIGH COURT

Will Sereno go all out for Smartmatic?

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CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has reportedly pulled out all the stops in attempting to win over justices to green-light the P300-million “midnight deal” between the Smartmatic-Total Information Management (Smartmatic-TIM) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), a source told The Manila Times on Monday.

Majority of the justices, however, view the “extended warranty contract” as a violation of Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act when the Comelec negotiated the same with Smartmatic without the benefit of a public bidding.

The contract was tagged as a “midnight deal” because it was signed three days before Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. retired last February 2.

The SC justices are holding en banc sessions in Baguio City and they have reportedly calendared the Smartmatic case for deliberations on Tuesday.


The Times source said all eyes would be on Sereno when the High Court formally convenes to tackle the case.

During the March 23 deliberations, according to the source, Sereno was fighting tooth and nail for the Comelec-Smartmatic contract not to be stopped.

Sereno and Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco voted against issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the Smartmatic-Comelec deal while 12 justices approved petitions filed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Bishop Broderick Pabillo and former Comelec Commissioner Augusto Lagman.

“Sereno was all-out fighting for Smartmatic. Halos makipagpatayan siya sa loob para sa [She fought hard for] Smartmatic. We will wait now whether she will act and vote again in favor of Smartmatic,” The Manila Times source in the tribunal said.

Majority of the justices, however, remain convinced that that the deal should be declared “null and void.”

Another SC source said many of the justices are in favor of adopting the draft ponencia of Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

The TRO effectively stopped the Comelec from implementing a contract tapping Smartmatic for the repair and refurbishing of vote-counting machines to be used in the 2016 elections.

SC spokesman Theodore Te earlier said Sereno and Velasco dissented “because they were of the view that the issues should’ve been heard first on oral arguments before issuing a TRO.”

A petition has been filed with the High Court seeking to declare null and void both Comelec Resolution 9922 and the contract with Smartmatic for alleged violation of RA 9184.

Comelec Resolution 9922 approved Smartmatic’s P300-million “Extended Warranty Proposal [Program 1]” through direct contracting. The deal authorizes Smartmatic to examine the 80,000 machines for refurbishment, conduct full diagnostics of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and perform maintenance minor repairs.

The Comelec said the TRO would affect 81,000 PCOS machines “that are central to the automation of the 2016 elections.”

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10 Comments

  1. Greg Mariano,Jr. on

    Let us do everything to have an accountable and transparent election process in 2016 and beyond; let us join the advocates for this process and encourage the media to promote and support it.

  2. Let us wait and see. I am expecting an action from cj sereno to tell her sponsor that she tried but “wala syang magawa” because almost all the other justices are against it. win-win situation for her…

  3. To much money involved here, I just hope justices will follow the constitution the way it should be and not because of to much under the table deal.

  4. jesus nazario on

    Why does NOT the perpetually “awake” corruption buster Sen Trillanes have this investigated by the Blue Ribbon subcommittee ?

  5. If the ruling party who controls the comelec insisting to use again the PCOS machine for the next presidential elections, no candidate with his mind for free,honest, never mind orderly elections, because the PCOS machines will be orderly, should ever consider running UNLESS a candidate is anointed by the machine run by the powers that be.The insistence of going ahead with this midnight deal is a part and parcel of using this PCOS machine to insure an electoral victory come 2016. Electoral dominance used to be a regional prerogative where political warlords in every region determines who could be the winner, but NOW it has been centralized with the use of the PCOS machine.

  6. Anima A. Agrava on

    I admire the Chief Justice. She proved herself to be independent of Smartmatic-PCOS machine-produced President BS Aquino who appointed her in being with the other justices in declaring Mr. Aquino’s moves on DAP unconstitutional.
    But if she is supporting the illegal Smartmatic-Brillantes midnight deal then she has show her true colors.
    What a pity!
    JOIN the call of the Manila Times for citizens to OCCUPY COMELEC to help ensure that the commissioners decide to rid our country of this Smartmatic-PCOS machine curse which will perpetuate Aquino and his LP and allies in power forever. The PCOS machine does this by erasing, writing over the VOICE of the people in our ballots inside the PCOS machines and transmitting wrong election results from the precincts or even NOT transmitting any results to the canvassing and consolidation centers at all.

  7. Sino ang nag appoint kay Sereno? Aaaahh. That’s why she’s in favor of Smartmatic. Marami and na daya dyan sa PCOS machine. Roxas must be ecstatic that Sereno is fighting to pass this midnight deal. Stop the crooked automation.
    Go back to manual.

  8. nako, mahirap na madeclare na no-election this 2016. haaaay. ayoko na ma-extend si pnoy

  9. Stop the midnight deal

    Let us go back to Manual voting.
    TRANSPARENCY SHOULD NOT BE SACRIFICED
    FOR THE FILIPINO PEOPLE.

    IF CJ SERENO INSIST – LET HER GO TO HELL.