Press Release
July 1, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today hailed a decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to take legal action against the culprits behind the flawed P1.3 billion election computerization contract awarded to MegaPacific but stressed that all elections commissioners who approved the deal should be criminally liable for the irregularity.

Pimentel said Commissioner Resurreccion Borra should not be penalized alone as he warned that any attempt to spare other officials of the Commission on Elections who were involved in the deal would be unjustified and unacceptable to the people.

My faith in the Ombudsman is partially vindicated by the partial ruling it has rendered that lays the basis for the filing of impeachment charges against Comelec Commissioner Borra and anti-graft charges against members of the Comelec-Bidding and Awards Committee (BAC) that led to the anomalous awarding of the electoral modernization to MegaPacific, he said.

Borra, however, should not be penalized alone. Neither should the members of the Comelec-BAC be singled out for dismissal or punishment. The other commissioners who approved the tainted contract ought to be sanctioned also.

Moreover, Pimentel said the Comelec commissioners should be prosecuted directly by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan.

It is my position that the Comelec commissioners (and employees) who participated in awarding the electoral modernization contract to MegaPacific may be validly charged before the Sandiganbayan, he said.

However, Pimentel said if the Ombudsman decides to be a little conservative in her approach, she may charge criminally before the Sandiganbayan the Comelec commissioners who are already retired but who had approved the contract while they were members of the poll body.

It is important to send a message to all public officials that their resignation or retirement from office does not exonerate them from the consequences of their wrongdoing while in public service, Pimentel said.

To escape criminal liability, the minor employees who have been recommended for dismissal may volunteer to act as state witnesses to establish the culpability of the commissioners and other high officials concerned, the senator said.

It was Pimentel who first requested the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Comelec officials and private individuals who had a hand in the approval of MegaPacific after it was voided by the Supreme Court on Jan. 12, 2004.

The P1.3 billion election automation contract was declared null and void by the high tribunal after it was found out that Comelec violated its won bidding rules to enable MegaPacific to corner a sweetheart deal, resulting in gross disadvantage and injury to the government.

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