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SC Spokesperson Theodore Te says the Comelec failed to justify the extended contract without public bidding.
He adds, the order is immediately executory.
Election watchdog Automated Election System Watch or AES Watch asked the SC last February to nullify the contract between Comelec and Smartmatic for “having been adopted in grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or an excess of jurisdiction.”
AES Watch said Resolution 9922 approved a P300-million deal for the first stage of Smartmatic’s extended warranty proposal. But the contract, which did not go through competitive bidding, was said to be tailor-fitted for Smartmatic.
Meanwhile, the Comelec says it will look into other possible options to avoid a “no-election scenario” in 2016 including a possible return to manual elections or the use of precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines in a modified central count optical scan or CCOS system.
JAMES JIMENEZ, COMELEC SPOKESMAN: There would be many issues… operational, legal issues, as well, but in the end, that’s better than having no elections.
Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Arturo Brion, and Francis Jardeleza inhibit from the controversial case of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
SC Spokesperson Theodore Te says the three justices did not provide their reasons for inhibition.
Apart from the three, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta already inhibited from the case and did not participate in the first round of oral arguments held last April 14. This leaves 11 justices voting on Binay’s case.
Binay argued the Ombudsman issued his suspension with grave abuse of discretion.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales petitioned to stop the Court of Appeals from implementing the temporary restraining order on Binay’s suspension.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio suggest revisiting the condonation doctrine acquitting re-electionists of misdeeds in a previous term which Binay cites in criticizing the suspension order.
The annual Balikatan exercises between the Philippines and United States began on Monday where they simulate worst-case scenarios.
In Zambales the Americans demonstrate how they will come to the Philippines’ rescue. One particular scenario involves the rescue of a captured Philippine island.
Only a few hundred kilometers from the Balikatan exercises is Scarborough Shoal which China occupied after a tense standoff in 2012. In other parts of the South China Sea, China continues to reclaim reefs and turns them into artificial islands.
Military chief Gregorio Catapang says troops should take calculated risks in facing China.
GREGORIO CATAPANG, AFP CHIEF OF STAFF: If they reclaim the Mischief Reef, we will be cut off. We have a series of islands going down south and going up north. It will challenge the Ayungin Shoal that we are claiming. There are soldiers there and if this happens, they are very near each other. I hope there will be no miscalculations or aggressiveness on both sides.
China criticizes Southeast Asian countries planning to bring up the South China Sea dispute in an upcoming regional summit.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says the dispute is “not an issue" between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN.
Hong adds, China is against damaging their relationship with ASEAN by making use of the South China Sea issue.
China's statement comes after the Philippines said it plans to raise the issue in the summit.
Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach says the Filipino boxing icon should rely on his strengths as a fighter if he wants to get the job done against Floyd Mayweather.
Roach tells cable network HBO Manny’s footwork and speed are two of his most important weapons in his career.
FREDDIE ROACH, BOXING COACH: The key to winning the fight is to take Floyd out of his comfort zone.
In the other camp, Mayweather believes he is better than two all-time greats.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER, JR, BOXER: No one can ever brainwash me to make me believe that Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali was better than me
Despite his belief, Mayweather says respects both Ali and Robinson.
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