Probe of poll execs sought

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A poll watchdog has asked the Ombudsman to investigate three commissioners of the Commission on Elections led by its chairman, Sixto Brillantes Jr., for culpability in the “serious glitches” that marred the recent elections.

In its complaint, Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) pointed to the unexplained failure of 18,000 precinct optical scan (PCOS) machines.  It also demanded that the PCOS supplier, Smartmatic, be made to refund at least P3 billion to the government for the nonperforming machines.

AES lawyer Harry Roque said the refund would represent 23 percent of the amount paid by Comelec to Smartmatic for the lease (P7 billion) and purchase (P1.3 billion) of the PCOS machines.

Aside from Brillantes, AES named Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph in its complaint, as well as adviser Jose Tolentino Jr. and Smartmatic’s Cesar Flores.

The “joint supplemental request for investigation and complaint-affidavit,” was submitted by the group led by former Vice President Teofisto T. Guingona Jr.

The AES accused Brillantes and the others of “supreme betrayal of the public trust” by conspiring with Smartmatic in the purchase of 80,000 highly problematic PCOS machines.—Gil C. Cabacungan

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