MANILA (UPDATE 1) - The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed with finality the validity of the Commission on Elections' (COMELEC) P1.8 billion purchase of election systems provider Smartmatic-TIM's precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for next year’s mid-term elections.
Well-placed ABS-CBN News sources bared that with a vote of 8 out of 11 justices present in its Tuesday en banc session, the high court junked the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by the Automated Election Systems Watch (AES Watch), one of four petitioners that challenged the deal, thereby affirming its June 13 ruling.
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta wrote the decision, concurred in by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Jose Mendoza, and Bienvenido Reyes.
Associate Justices Arturo Brion and Estela Perlas-Bernabe joined Associate Justice Martin Villarama in the dissent.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Mariano Del Castillo and Jose Perez were on leave.
The sources bared that the high court affirmed its earlier ruling in favor of the validity of the contract for the purchase of the PCOS machines since it was forged when the earlier contract between Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM for the May 2010 polls was still valid.
The high court also noted that Smartmatic-TIM's P360-million performance security bond has yet to be returned to the firm in full.