SC tells Comelec to comment on Gordon’s contempt petition

The ex-senator wants the poll chief held in indirect contempt of court for not allowing his political party to join in the review of the PCOS machine source code

File photo by Josh Albelda

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court directed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its chairperson, Sixto Brillantes Jr, on Tuesday, July 16, to comment within 10 days on the petition of former Senator Richard Gordon to hold Brillantes in indirect contempt of court.

In a press briefing, Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te explained that Gordon’s petition came after Brillantes allegedly failed to comply with the commitment he made in an open session on May 6 that would have allowed Gordon to join the review of the source code used in the vote counting machines in the recent elections.

The source code contains instructions for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines on counting and canvassing of votes.

Under sections 3(b) and (d) Rule 71 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, disobedience of an order of a court or any improper conduct tending to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice are punishable as indirect contempt.

On May 3, Gordon filed through his lawyers a Petition for Mandamus before the High Court to allow political parties to examine and review the source code.

During the SC oral arguments on the source code review days before the May elections, Gordon asked the High Court to mandate Comelec to “follow the law.”

Gordon claimed that not having the review would raise doubts on the credibility of the elections. “We cannot inflict our people an election that is flawed,” he said.

The Comelec eventually opened the PCOS source code for review by local groups on May 9, less than a week before the midterm elections. However, Gordon’s Bagumbayan was not allowed to join the review because it was not registered for the 2013 polls.

READ: Finally, Comelec bares PCOS source code

The review was aimed at ending apprehensions over the automated polls. It was supposed to determine if the PCOS contains “malicious” codes, which could pre-program the results of the elections. – 

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