SC: Can’t bar poll execs from hearing protest cases
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court dismissed on Monday, June 10, the petition of a several groups to inhibit the Commission on Election (Comelec) and vote counting machines supplier Smartmatic from electoral cases arising from the recently concluded midterm polls.
In a resolution, the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the petition for prohibition filed by poll watchers led by groups Source Code and Kontra Daya.
SC spokesman Theodore Te said in a press briefing the court the petition “has been filed without any actual judicial controversy from which this Court may issue the writ of prohibition prayed for by petitioners.”
The groups had said that the Comelec would be biased in handling protest cases that cite as grounds cheating in the automated polls.
The petitioners had also asked the court to declare as a “grand scale mass deception” the failure of the Comelec and Smartmatic Total Information Management Corporation to reveal the source code used in precinct count optical count (PCOS) machines in the May 13 elections.
The groups said the act constitute a basis for the impeachment of the Comelec commissioners.
The high court, however, ruled that the petitioner’s prayer to declare alleged acts of public respondents as a “grand scale mass deception” tantamount to a culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust as “clearly premature.”
“It is not only based on conjectures and surmises, but is highly speculative and does not warrant the relief prayed for,” the court ruled.
Kontra Daya claimed that Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph were biased because of their blind loyalty to Smartmatic, the provider of the counting machines used in the automated polls.
“The public respondents have been incredibly stubborn and repugnantly quarrelsome in refusing to heed the multisectoral clamors [for review of the source code of the counting machines],” said Kontra Daya leader Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo.
Pabillo said earlier that it was possible that the source code "be not one and the same as the one actually used in the May 13 elections." This constitutes culpable violation of the Constitution for a "grand scale mass deception."
But Brillantes had earlier said that the local source code review is important only “for credibility purposes, not for the legality or legitimacy of the elections.”
Brillantes said what is important is a source code review by an international group, which he called “totally independent.” – Rappler.com