SC asked to junk Comelec reso on leasing optical mark readers
CHURCH leaders, former government officials and a lawyer asked the Supreme Court to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from leasing 93,977 optical mark readers (OMR) worth over P12-billion.
Petitioners urged the high court to nullify Comelec en banc’s Resolution No. 15-044, which allows the realignment for the capital outlay requirement of the 2016 National and Local Elections (NLE) and Cancellation of the Voter Registration System (VVS) project.
The resolution, according to petitioners, will not only realign the capital outlay requirement for the 2016 NLE but will also juggle several budgetary items including funds for the Sangguniang Kabataang elections, voter verification system project to meet the funding requirements for the lease of the new OMR units.
Petitioners – which include Archbishops Rolando Tria Tirona, Romulo De La Cruz, Fernando Capalla, Ramon Arguelles, Bishops Filomeno Bactol, Juan De Dios Pueblos, and Ramon Villena, Rev. Arthur Corpuz, former Senator Francisco Tatad, former Manila Councilor Antonious Beda Belgica and Atty. Glenn Chong, – said the resolution is “constitutionally infirm” for violating both the Constitution, the 2015 General Appropriations Act and the high court’s decision against realignment of funds.
“Another reason why such experiment has no legal anchor is that the Capital Outlay Allotment of the Comelec’s FY2016 NLE preparatory activities is only Pll,436,000,000.00, and procuring new OMR units (Lot 1 -23,000; Lot 2 – 70,977) – which are not even authorized under the 2016 General Appropriations Act and costing a total of P12,641,000,000 .. 00 – will exceed the legally authorized expenditure level for that purpose by over a billion pesos. And this is not only illegal, but downright unconstitutional,” the petitioners said.
“Suffice it to stress that if permitted, the Commission will be permitted not only to undermine Congress’ spending power but more importantly, to wreak havoc to the budget, the system, as well as desecrate the Fundamental Law of the land,” the petition further stated..
Petitioners added that the Comelec move is tantamount to grave abuse of discretion thus a restraining order should be issued by the high court.
“Despite the innumerable technical glitches, failures or problems experienced during the 2010 and 2013 elections, the Comelec appears poised to do away with the refurbishment of the old PCOS, preferring instead to lease 93,977 new OMRs for a whopping P12,641,000,000 in taxpayers’ money – to be used in the 2016 national, local, and ARMM regional elections,” they added.
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