Jun 102013
The Commission on Elections has finally gotten a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court.

In an en banc resolution on Monday, the high court junked a petition seeking the inhibition of the Comelec from deciding on electoral protests.

In its resolution, the high court junked the petition filed by an election watchdog seeking to enjoin the Comelec from participating in electoral protests stemming from the May 13 automated midterm elections.

In its 26-page petition filed last May 10, Kontra Daya accused the Comelec of engaging in a “grand scale mass deception that can be used as basis for the impeachment (of Comelec officials).”

The petitioner said the Comelec should inhibit from deciding on poll-related cases “until the lapse of a grace period of three months within which political parties, candidates and citizens’ arms shall finally be able for the first time to exercise their right to review the source code.”

But in its ruling, the high court dismissed Kontra Daya’s petition because such failed to show “any judicial controversy,” according to Public Information Office chief Theodore Te.

The SC said the petition was “clearly premature, highly speculative and does not warrant the relief prayed for.”

A source code is the set of instructions to be followed by the computerized voting machine, and is written by computer programmers in a readable symbolic language.

A few weeks before the polls, Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body already had the source code to be used for the May 13 polls, but will not be made available to political parties and other interested groups for their own review.

Still, Brillantes said that the codes have been properly reviewed by a third-party information technology firm, SLI Global Solutions, though its certification papers have yet to be released by the code’s owner, Dominion Voting Systems.

Dominion is asking Smartmatic to pay it $10 million for the latter’s alleged use of the former’s technology.

When the negotiations started, the chance of getting the source code was 50 percent, later rising to 96 and 97 percent early this month when a draft agreement was sent to the owners of Smartmatic and Dominion abroad.

But after former Senator Richard Gordon filed a separate petition asking the high court to compel the poll body to allow political groups to open and review the source code, the Comelec decided to finally bare the codes.

Earlier, Brillantes had said he was giving up on getting the source code for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

Comelec ‘setbacks’

In recent months, the Supreme Court had successively issued a number of unfavorable rulings to the Comelec, including a temporary restraining order against Comelec rulings that placed a cap on the TV and radio airtime of political advertisements and another against a Comelec order on the tearing down of several allegedly partisan campaign posters.

The SC also favored party-list groups that contested their disqualification by the Comelec, remanding their cases back to the poll body for further hearings. Mark Merueñas/RSJ, GMA News

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