Press Release
October 4, 2006


Sen. Panfilo Lacson today called on Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to come home immediately and save her office from losing its integrity, and the Filipino people from losing P1.3 billion to Mega Pacific and conniving Comelec officials who made a windfall out of the automation deal.

Its not too late for Mercy. She can still save the situation by reviewing and reversing the findings of her overall deputy Ombudsman. Mercy, have mercy on us, Sen. Lacson said.

He appealed to Gutierrez to cut short her working trip in Switzerland and help clear the mess caused by her offices ruling that cleared Commission on Elections officials allegedly involved in the anomalous computerization deal.

Lacson called on Gutierrez to put primordial concern on the integrity of the Office of the Ombudsman, a constitutionally independent body, and the hard-earned money of taxpayers lost in the alleged fraudulent transaction.

He noted that this was not the first time the Comelec had been involved in multimillion-peso deals, citing the hasty and unprogrammed payment of some P46 million to a defunct printer earlier this year, purportedly for services rendered 22 years ago.

Lacson said Comelec officials have yet to satisfactorily explain how the payment to Win San Trading was facilitated in a matter of days without any investigation conducted to ascertain if Comelec indeed has a long-standing payable account with Win San.

He said the payment was covered by a Department of Budget and Management Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and a Notice of Cash Allocation which were interestingly dated on the same day, Dec. 28, 2005.

The following day, the Comelec issued a check signed by Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos and countersigned by Comelec finance director Eduardo Mejos, payable to Win San.

Yet, Lacson said the Commission on Audit (COA) reported that the negotiated check corresponding to the SARO was not submitted to the Office of the Auditor.

Why did the Comelec wait 22 years before paying up? Did someone make money out of it? he asked.

Lacson said the Ombudsmans decision absolving Comelec officials from liability in the Mega Pacific deal would be tantamount to abetting the Comelecs growing reputation as a lavish and whimsical spender of taxpayers money.

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