Comelec, Miru ordered to comment on petition vs deal

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
Comelec, Miru ordered to comment on petition vs deal
This photo shows a picture of PCOS Machines.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and South Korean company Miru Systems to comment on the petition seeking to declare null and void their P17.9-billion contract for the conduct of the 2025 midterm elections for allegedly violating the law on automated elections.

The SC directed the Comelec and the firm to file their comment within 10 days from notice on the petition filed by former congressman Edgar Erice, according to the high tribunal’s public information office.

The SC has not yet acted on the petition as it wants to get the side of the respondents first, which is part of the procedure.

Last April 18, Erice filed a petition for certiorari before the SC, which also sought a restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the Comelec from
 implementing en banc Minute Resolution 24-0114, which awarded the project to Miru.

Named respondents were the Comelec en banc and the joint venture of Miru Systems.

Erice earlier said the contract between the Comelec and Miru violated Republic Act 7369 or the Automated Election Law and claimed that the South Korean firm cannot be trusted as it has many “red flags,” adding that the firm is “only used to authoritarian governments.”

“Highly anomalous, it’s a robbery in progress,” the former lawmaker said.

The petition was filed days after the SC ruled that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it disqualified service provider Smartmatic from participating in all of its procurements before it could submit any bid.

In its ruling, the SC did not nullify the public bidding or award of contract granted to Miru Systems, which won the public bidding.

The high court cited considerations of equity, justice and practicality as well as the doctrine of operative fact to hold that its findings will not affect the 2025 polls.

Comelec welcomes SC decision

The Comelec yesterday welcomed the SC decision not to issue any injunction against the procurement of vote counting machines worth P17.9 billion to be used in next year’s midterm elections.

“Thus, our preparations for the automated 2025 (polls) will proceed as scheduled in view of a very tight timeline that we have,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia said in reaction to the SC order to answer the petition seeking to nullify the poll body’s contract with Miru Systems.

Garcia added that the Comelec would file the comment as ordered by the high court. — Mayen Jaymalin

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