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SC orders Comelec, Miru to answer plea

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The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Joint Venture of Miru Systems Co., Ltd. of South Korea to comment on the petition seeking to void the P17.9-billion contract for the 2025 automated national and local elections.

Comelec and Miru Systems were also directed to answer the plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that could immediately stop the implementation of the contract that was awarded through Comelec Resolution No. 24-0114.

The answer or comment on both the petition and the plea for TRO should be filed within 10 days from receipt of the SC resolution.  

Former Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar R. Erice filed the petition against the contract, arguing that Comelec had abused its discretion by awarding the contract for the Automated Elections Systems (AES) in 2025 to Miru Systems while disqualifying Smartmatic-TIM Corporation.

Erice debunked Comelec’s assertion that the vote counting machines (VCMs) of Smartmatic-TIM were unserviceable for “lack of part parts.” He pointed out that under the contract with Smartmatic, the firm was bound to fix the VCMs and provide spare parts until 2025.

The petitioner also claimed that Miru Systems would use prototype machines, which are unreliable for being untested. He likened this to a “robbery in progress.”

The contract with Miru Systems was signed on March 11. Under the contract, Miru Systems will provide the systems and software, ballot printing, and technical support of the AES.  

Under Comelec’s Terms of Reference (TOR), whoever will be providing the machine will also provide the papers that will be used, the stamp, as well as the other collaterals needed including the software for the AES except for transmission.

Earlier, the SC had ruled that the Comelec “committed grave abuse of discretion” when the poll body disqualified Smartmatic-TIM Corporation in the bidding for the P17.9 billion AES contract in a decision written by Associate Justice Jose Midas P. Marquez.

However, the High Court through spokesperson Atty. Camille Sue Mae L. Ting had clarified that the validity of Miru’s contract with Comelec was not the issue presented in the case resolved by the SC based on the petition filed by Smartmatic-TIM.

Ting said the SC ruling is not tantamount to upholding Comelec’s contract with Miru Systems since it was not the issue resolved by the justices.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline SC orders Comelec, Miru to answer petition vs P17.9-B contract


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