Press Release
August 7, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today maintained that top officials of the Commission on Elections should be held liable for their role in the approval and implementation of the P1.3 billion election modernization contract awarded to MegaPacific which was voided by the Supreme Court for being tainted with anomalies.

Pimentel was responding to the criticisms by lawyers of the Comelec executives that he allegedly preempted the ongoing investigation of the case by the Office of the Ombudsman for his remark that the election officials should be held accountable for their action.

The high tribunal nullified the contract after finding out that Comelec bidding rules were violated when the contract was awarded to MegaPacific.

One of the complainants in the case, Pimentel said the Supreme Court referred the case to the Office of the Ombudsman precisely to determine any possible criminal liability of the Comelec officials, as well as private individuals involved in the deal.

The Supreme Court found that the Comelec had violated the laws on public bidding. If the bidding laws were violated, logic demands that deals born out of the violated bidding rules are illegal. Therefore, the MegaPacific-Comelec contract for the acquisition of the vote counting machines is likewise illegal. And the proposed use of the machines must necessarily be illegal, he said.

He said what is binding and more important is that the Supreme Court held that the Comelec-MegaPacific contract was anomalous and ordered the Ombudsman to investigate the liabilities of the elections commissioners in the matter.

If the contract was aboveboard, the Supreme Court would not have ordered the Ombudsman to investigate the mess surrounding the contract. Neither would it have ordered the Solicitor General to recover the payments already given by the Comelec to the MegaPacific, Pimentel said.

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