Press Release
Privilege speech of Sen. Joker Arroyo
October 4, 2006


The Supreme Court ruled that the Mega-Pacific Comelec automation contract was null and void. The Senate likewise found the contract null and void. The Ombudsman, in its Resolution, agreed that it was null and void.

Despite the unanimity that the contract was null and void, why did the Ombudsman deviate sharply in respect to the remedy urged by the Supreme Court and the Senate? A capsule review of the Supreme Court and Senate findings will shed light

The Supreme Court declared that

as a necessary consequence of such nullity and illegality x x x all payments made therefor, have no basis whatsoever in law. The public funds expended pursuant to the void Resolution and contract must therefore be recovered from the payees and/or from persons who made possible the illegal disbursements, without prejudice to possible criminal prosecution against them and decreed furthermore [that] Comelec and its officials concerned must bear full responsibility for the failed bidding and award, and held accountable for the electoral mess brought by the grave abuse of discretion in the performance of their functions.

The High Court intoned that

Comelec is further ORDERED to refrain from implementing any other contract or agreement entered into regard to this project.

The Blue Ribbon Committee Report as adopted by the Senate states that

It is serendipitous that the Findings of the Committees own independent inquiry coincide with the highest Courts conclusions.

x x x x

The remedy is for the Commissioners in the COMELEC who participated in the anomalous bidding and procurement, as well as the officials in the BAC involved therein, to vacate their positions so that their replacements can be appointed and thereby pave the way for renewed and earnest efforts to implement the law on automated elections.

x x x x

The country faces the next elections in May 2007 and if the attempt to amend the Constitution prospers, a plebiscite may be held in 2006.

x x x x

In other words, since the COMELEC cannot conduct a clean and honest bidding and procurement, how can it be expected to conduct clean and honest elections?

x x x x

If the COMELEC officials involved do not voluntarily relinquish their positions, then the most feasible way to remove them rests with the Ombudsman, which is in the concluding stages of its own investigation of the same public officials, and with the Solicitor General pursuant to the Supreme Court Decision.

x x x x

The Supreme Court felt that those who participated in the illegal contract involving public funds should be punished and directed the Ombudsman to look into it and the Solicitor General to recover the P1.2 billion paid to Mega Pacific.

On the other hand, the Senate looked at what would happen to future elections run by a tainted and damaged Comelec and asked the Ombudsman to likewise look into it and asked the involved Commissioners to resign.

What did the Ombudsgirl do? She dubiously looked for ways to exonerate the Comelec Commissioners and officials of wrongdoing despite the nullity of the contract and fashioned a curious resolution of a crime committed without perpetrators.

The Ombudsgirl has a lot of explaining to do. This office is charged with investigating graft and corruption. It may well be asked: Is it being used to conceal corruption?

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