MANILA, Philippines?A member of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Advisory Council assailed administration critic Harry Roque on Wednesday for asking the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the poll automation project.
Ramon Casiple, who also chairs the election watchdog Consortium on Electoral Reforms, said Roque's actions were obviously meant to derail the implementation of the multibillion-peso project.
Casiple argued that the contents of Roque's petition at the high court were based on erroneous information and that the lawyer could have verified some facts with the Comelec before filing his case.
"Most of his questions were questions of fact. If he has doubts, he could have just gone to the Advisory Council or the Comelec and not to a third party like the SC," Casiple told the Philippine Daily Inquirer at the sideline of the forum dubbed "Come, Elect" in Pasig City.
"The end result of his petition will be to stop the automation, but his group wants to portray themselves to the public as supporters of the poll automation," he added.
Roque earlier sought the help of the high court in stopping the Comelec from paying close to P3 billion to winning bidder Smartmatic International and Total Information Management (TIM) even before delivering a single unit of the 82,000 election machines to be used in the 2010 electronic balloting.
The Supreme Court denied Roque's request for a temporary restraining order, but directed the Comelec to file its answer to Roque's petition.
Casiple described Roque's contentions against the election automation contract as "absurd."
"What the Comelec contracted here was the whole automation process for the election and not hardware or computers alone. It's just normal for the Comelec to pay Smartmatic for a certain part of the contract," he said.