Monday, October 2, 2006

Ombudsman Junks Supreme Court Decision

ABSCBN 10:00 News reports that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has cleared Chairman Ben Abalos and the rest of the Commission on Elections of all liability in the matter addressed by the following January, 2004 Supreme Court Decision, which she has in effect JUNKED (along with their own previous Resolution):
D E C I S I O N: ITF vs. Comelec (January 13, 2004)

PANGANIBAN, J.:

There is grave abuse of discretion (1) when an act is done contrary to the Constitution, the law or jurisprudence;[1] or (2) when it is executed whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily out of malice, ill will or personal bias.[2] In the present case, the Commission on Elections approved the assailed Resolution and awarded the subject Contract not only in clear violation of law and jurisprudence, but also in reckless disregard of its own bidding rules and procedure. For the automation of the counting and canvassing of the ballots in the 2004 elections, Comelec awarded the Contract to “Mega Pacific Consortium” an entity that had not participated in the bidding. Despite this grant, the poll body signed the actual automation Contract with “Mega Pacific eSolutions, Inc.,” a company that joined the bidding but had not met the eligibility requirements.

Comelec awarded this billion-peso undertaking with inexplicable haste, without adequately checking and observing mandatory financial, technical and legal requirements. It also accepted the proferred computer hardware and software even if, at the time of the award, they had undeniably failed to pass eight critical requirements designed to safeguard the integrity of elections, especially the following three items:

· They failed to achieve the accuracy rating criteria of 99.9995 percent set-up by the Comelec itself

· They were not able to detect previously downloaded results at various canvassing or consolidation levels and to prevent these from being inputted again

· They were unable to print the statutorily required audit trails of the count/canvass at different levels without any loss of data


Because of the foregoing violations of law and the glaring grave abuse of discretion committed by Comelec, the Court has no choice but to exercise its solemn “constitutional duty”[3] to void the assailed Resolution and the subject Contract. The illegal, imprudent and hasty actions of the Commission have not only desecrated legal and jurisprudential norms, but have also cast serious doubts upon the poll body’s ability and capacity to conduct automated elections. Truly, the pith and soul of democracy -- credible, orderly, and peaceful elections -- has been put in jeopardy by the illegal and gravely abusive acts of Comelec.

From the sounds of the Ombudsman's 52 page decision, she's now lawyering for the very people the Supreme Court condemned in the above -- by repeating the very arguments rejected by the Court in its original decision. How can it be that the Supreme Court has voided a contract for the nation's automated elections system, charging the Comelec with grave abuse of discretion and other crimes and misdemeanors, and yet the Ombudsman declines to prosecute any of the principal accused?

All I can say is...We must withdraw consent to be so misgoverned, or bear our chains in abashed silence!

4 comments:

ricelander said...

This is fun! Now what's next? "SC declares the ombudsman in contempt"? Or "SC says Ombudsman ignorant of law"? What a mess!

Lord Dracula said...

Hurrah for the rule of law! Hurrah!

Jon Mariano said...

I suggest we spare a few pesos for postage stamps in sending our letters of protest to the ombudsman. Let's make them hear what we have to say!

For this administration, the strategy has been like this many times already. They do something and dare those agaist it to go to court or protest in other forum but they already know that nothing's going to come out either way! This is terrible.

john marzan said...

From the sounds of the Ombudsman's 52 page decision, she's now lawyering for the very people the Supreme Court condemned in the above -- by repeating the very arguments rejected by the Court in its original decision. How can it be that the Supreme Court has voided a contract for the nation's automated elections system, charging the Comelec with grave abuse of discretion and other crimes and misdemeanors, and yet the Ombudsman declines to prosecute any of the principal accused?

All I can say is...We must withdraw consent to be so misgoverned, or bear our chains in abashed silence!


But the US seems to like what it sees in Arroyo's Ombudsman that it even provided millions of dollars in financial aid (thru the MCA) just recently to help Arroyo "fight corruption" daw.

Merceditas gutierrez going after the corrupt big fish within the administration? What a laugh.

You might as well give that money to Raul Gonzalez's DOJ, Ms Kenney and pray to god it doesn't get "Bolante'd" in their anti-opposition este... anti-corruption campaign.