Comelec says it will appeal SC ruling on Smartmatic ban

Comelec says it will appeal SC ruling on Smartmatic ban

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:52 AM April 19, 2024

Comelec says it will appeal SC ruling on Smartmatic ban

John Rex Laudiangco

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will appeal the Supreme Court’s ruling that the poll body erred when it disqualified Smartmatic from participating in the procurement processes for the automated election system to be used in the 2025 midterm polls.

“We will file a motion for reconsideration after we get a copy of the honorable Supreme Court’s decision, at least on the issue of grave abuse of discretion and the defining of the powers of the Comelec prior to procurement,” Comelec Chair George Erwin Garcia told reporters on Thursday.


He said they would consult their legal representative, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on the matter.


READ: SC reverses Comelec ruling that barred Smartmatic from bidding

“We’re ready to face any kind of case, including impeachment. What’s important is that we did it for the country, for the interest of the Filipino nation,” Garcia said.

Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco, in a separate statement, said the disqualification of Smartmatic was “a significant step taken with a view [to] safeguarding the integrity of the country’s elections, shielding and isolating all phases of the electoral processes—from the starting point of planning and procurement to the endpoint of [a] random manual audit—from any and all issues [that] might tarnish the bedrock of democracy in our country.”

Bautista case

In the US government’s investigation of former Comelec Chair Andres Bautista for alleged involvement in money laundering and other charges, Garcia said he and other Comelec officials met with investigators from the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice three weeks ago as part of the two countries’ mutual legal assistance treaty.

He added that the American investigators revealed new information and updates on the case against Bautista. They also requested documents and took down the testimonies of three Comelec employees.

READ: Smartmatic PH banned from ‘all Comelec procurement’


According to Garcia, the poll body was provided with documents that it will use in its own investigation. He said the Comelec referred the American investigators’ initial findings to the OSG, which decided to exclude the Bautista investigation for now in its pleadings before the Supreme Court.

“But we were guaranteed [by the Americans] that within this year, something big will happen and that hopefully, by next year, the case can proceed,” Garcia said.

Bautista’s alleged acceptance of bribes in exchange for awarding a contract for election machines to Smartmatic was one of the reasons the poll body disqualified it from joining in the bidding.

As for former Congressman Edgar Erice’s petition questioning Comelec’s decision to award the contract for the automated voting system for the 2025 polls to South Korean firm Miru, Garcia said the poll body was ready to defend itself.

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“We can defend what we did because what we observed in our procurement process was transparent, public and consistent and pursuant to the law,” he added.

TAGS: Comelec, Smartmatic

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