ELECTION LAW Reading Homework #2 FIELD OFFICES (refer to Field Offices PDF file) READINGS: 1. PURISIMA V.

SALONGA Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC DECISION December 31, 1965 G.R. No. L-22335 AMANTE P. PURISIMA, petitioner, vs. HON. ANGELINO C. SALANGA, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur. THE PROVINCIAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS, THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and GREGORIO CORDERO, respondents. Jose W. Diokno for petitioner. Provincial Fiscal Juvenal K. Guerrero for respondent Provincial Board of Canvassers , J.: In the election of November 12, 1963, Amante Purisima and Gregorio Cordero were among the candidates for any of the three offices of Provincial Board Member of Ilocos Sur. After the election or on November 25, 1963 the provincial board of canvassers met and started canvassing the returns for said office. Purisima noted during the canvass that the returns from some precincts, forty-one (41) in all, showed on their face that the words and figures for Cordero’s votes had been “obviously and manifestly erased” and superimposed with other words and figures. For purposes of comparison, the Nacionalista Party copies of the returns for the aforesaid precincts were submitted to the board. A discrepancy of 5,042 votes in favor of Cordero was thereby found, thus: Provincial Treasurer’s copy: 7,277 votes for Cordero Nacionalista Party’s copy 2,235 votes for Cordero A request for suspension of the canvass was thereupon made by Purisima. The board of canvassers denied said request upon the ground that it was not yet ascertainable if the discrepancies would materially affect the result. Canvass proceeded. After the returns had all been read, the result for the office of third (and last) member of the Provincial Board was the following: Cordero 41,229 votes Purisima 39,372 votes. Difference 1,857 votes Purisima again called attention to the erasures and discrepancies and asked for suspension of canvass – for him to have recourse to judicial remedy. Denying said request, the board of canvassers finished the canvass and proclaimed Cordero the winner, on November 28. On November 29, Purisima filed a petition in the Commission on Elections to annul the canvass and proclamation above-mentioned. The Commission on Elections issued a resolution on November 30, annulling the canvass and proclamation, as regards Cordero and Purisima. Purisima, on December 10, filed in the Court of First Instance a petition for recount under Section 163 of the Revised Election Code. Subsequently, motions to dismiss the same were filed by the board of canvassers and by Cordero. In his motion to dismiss, Cordero admitted the erasures and discrepancies on the face of the returns from 41 precincts, but denied that said erasures were due to tampering or falsification. After a preliminary hearing on the motions to dismiss, the Court of First Instance, on December 27, dismissed the petition for recount. And on December 28, Cordero filed in the Commission on Elections a motion for resumption of the canvass. Purisima, on January 2, 1964, moved for reconsideration of the Court of First Instance’s order of dismissal. In the same case, he also filed, on January 8, a petition for preliminary injunction to restrain the holding of another canvass. Annexed to said petition were certified photostatic copies of the Co melec’s copies of the returns from the 41 precincts in question. Furthermore, Purisima filed with the Commission on Elections, on January 11, an opposition to the resumption of the canvass. Alleging that the Commission on Elections was about to order the canvass resumed, Purisima came to this Court, on January 17, 1964, by petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction. Petitioner asked that the lower court’s order

dismissing his petition for recount be set aside and that the Commission on Elections be enjoined from ordering resumption of the canvass until after the judicial recount. On January 22, 1964 we ordered respondents to answer, and allowed preliminary injunction to be issued as prayed for upon the posting of a bond of P500.00. After respondents filed their answer the case was heard and submitted for decision. The requisites for judicial recount are set forth in Section 163 of the Revised Election Code: When statements of precinct are contradictory. – In case it appears to the provincial board of canvassers that another copy or other authentic copies of the statement from an election precinct submitted to the board give to a candidate a different number of votes and the difference affects the result of the election, the Court of First Instance of the province, upon motion of the board or of any candidate affected, may proceed to recount the votes cast in the precinct for the sole purpose of determining which is the true statement or which is the true result of the count of the votes cast in said precinct for the office in question. Notice of such proceeding shall be given to all candidates affected. In dismissing the petition for recount, respondent Judge stated that some of the requisites were not present, namely: first, that it appears to the provincial board of canvassers that a discrepancy exists; second, that said discrepancy is between the copy submitted to the board and another authentic copy thereof; third, that said authentic copy must also be submitted to the board. First of all, it is not disputed that a candidate affected can file the petition for recount, even if he does so alone, without the concurrence of the provincial board of canvassers (Cawa v. Del Rosario, L-16837-40, May 30,1960). From the fact, therefore, that the provincial board of canvassers has not petitioned for a recount it cannot be inferred that they were not convinced a discrepancy existed. In fact, when Purisima first called attention to the discrepancy between the Nacionalista Party copies and the Provincial Treasurer’s copies, the board of canvassers admitted the discrepancy but stated that it was not yet ascertainable whether the discrepancy would amount to enough votes as to affect the result. There is no more question now that the number of votes involved in said discrepancy is more than enough to alter the result. Finally, in the motion to dismiss filed by the board of canvassers, the existence of the discrepancy is not disputed, and the board merely raises the defense that the recount is up to the court and not to said board (Annex D, Petition). Passing on to the next point, the basis of the petition for recount was not merely a discrepancy between the Nacionalista Party copies and the Provincial Treasurer’s copies of the returns. Paragraph 8 of said petition shows that, in addition, the Commission on Elections’ copies were relied upon: That as a result of the aforesaid erasures, tampering and apparent falsifications, there exist discrepancies between the Provincial Treasurer’s copies (the basis of the canvass) of the election returns in the precincts in question, on one hand, and the copies pertaining to the Nacionalista Party and those pertaining to the Commission on Elections, on the other, and that said discrepancies materially affect the result of the election as between herein petitioner and respondent Gregorio Cordero; Accordingly, even assuming for the nonce – a point we do not here decide – that the Nacionalista Party copies are not copies that may be the basis of a petition for recount, the fact remains that t he Commission on Elections’ copies were said to reflect the same discrepancy with the Provincial Treasurer’s copies. It is settled that the Commission on Elections’ copies are authentic copies within the meaning of Section 163 of the Revised Election Code (Laws in v. Escalona, L-22540, July 31, 1964; Matanog v. Alejandro, L-22502-08, June 30, 1964.) The trial court. however, ruled that the Commission on Elections’ copies had no application to the petition for recount because they were not submitted to the board of canvassers. The record definitely shows that the reason why Purisima was not able to submit to the board said Commission on Elections’ copies was because the board declined to suspend the canvass and proclamation. It is the duty of the board of canvassers to suspend the canvass in case of patent irregularity in the election returns. In the present case, there were patent erasures and superimpositions, in words and figures on the face of the election returns submitted to the board of canvassers. It was therefore imperative for the board to stop the canvass so as to allow time for verification of authentic copies and recourse to the courts (Javier v. Commission on Elections, L-22248, January 30, 1965). A canvass or proclamation made notwithstanding such patent defects, without awaiting proper remedies, is null and void (Ibid.). In fact, as stated, the Commission on Elections declared the canvass and proclamation, made by respondent provincial board of canvassers, null and void. Since the board of canvassers prevented Purisima from securing the Commission on Elections’ copies of the returns to establish a discrepancy between them and the Provincial Treasurer’s copies, the failure to submit the Commission on Elections’ copies to said board should not prejudice Purisima’s right to petition for recount before the court. It was therefore grave abuse of discretion for respondent court to refuse to consider the Commission on Elections’ copies, regardless of the patent and admitted irregularities on the face of t he Provincial Treasurer’s copies and the alleged discrepancy amounting to thousands of votes sufficient to affect the results. Interpretation of election laws should give effect to the expressed will of the electorate. Patent erasures and superimpositions in words and figures of the votes stated in the election returns strike at the reliability of said returns as basis for canvass and proclamation. A comparison with the other copies, and, in case of discrepancy, a recount, is the only way to remove grave doubts as to the correctness of said returns as well as of ascertaining that they reflect the will of the people.

WHEREFORE, the dismissal of the petition for recount is set aside, respondent Judge is ordered to proceed with the petition for recount, and respondents Commission on Elections and Provincial Board of Canvassers are enjoined, until after the termination of proceedings in the petition for recount, from ordering or holding another canvass and proclamation as between petitioner Purisima and respondent Cordero. Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal and Zaldivar, JJ., concur. 2. CAUTON V. COMELEC Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-25467 April 27, 1967 LUCAS V. CAUTON, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and PABLO SANIDAD, respondents. Antonio Barredo for petitioner. Ramon Barrios for respondent Commission on Elections. Pablo C. Sanidad and F. D. Villanueva and Associates for respondent Sanidad. ZALDIVAR, J.: In the national elections held on November 9, 1965, petitioner Lucas V. Cauton and respondent Pablo Sanidad, along with Godofredo S. Reyes, were candidates for the office of Representative in the second congressional district of Ilocos Sur. During the canvass by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Ilocos Sur of the votes cast for the candidates for Representative in the second congressional district of Ilocos Sur, and particularly after the Board had opened the envelopes containing the copies of the election returns from each of the election precincts in the municipalities of Candon, Santiago and Sta. Cruz that were presented by the Provincial Treasurer of Ilocos Sur to the Board, respondent Sanidad brought to the attention of the Board the fact that the entries of votes for the candidates for Representative in those copies of the election returns that came from the envelopes presented by the provincial treasurer differed from the entries appearing in the copies of the returns from the same election precincts that were in the possession of the Liberal Party.1äwphï1.ñët Respondent Sanidad filed a petition with the Commission on Elections praying for the opening of the ballot boxes in all the precincts of Candon, Santiago and Sta. Cruz, in order to retrieve the election returns deposited therein so that those election returns might be used in the canvass of the votes for the candidates for Representative in the second district of Ilocos Sur, and that in the meantime the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Ilocos Sur be ordered to refrain from proclaiming the winning candidate for the office of Representative in said district. The Commission on Elections issued the restraining order prayed for by respondent Sanidad and set his petition for hearing. After hearing, the Commission on Elections found "that it had been clearly established that the copies of the election returns for the Municipal Treasurer, for the Commission on Elections and for the Provincial Treasurer for the municipality of Santa Cruz have uniform alterations in the entries of the votes cast for representative showing different number of votes compared with the Liberal Party copies, while the copies of the election returns for the Commission on Elections and the Provincial Treasurer for the municipalities of Candon and Santiago have likewise 1 uniform alterations and showing different numbers compared with the Liberal Party copies ...." The copies of the election returns that were furnished the municipal treasurers of Candon and Santiago were never verified because the municipal treasurers of those two municipalities did not comply with the subpoena duces tecum issued by the Commission on Elections directing them to bring to the Commission the copies of the election returns of the precincts in their respective municipalities that were in their possession. On December 22, 1965, respondent Commission on Elections issued an order providing, among others, that ... to enable the aggrieved party to establish discrepancy between copies of the election returns provided by law in the aforementioned precincts for the purpose of obtaining judicial remedy under the provisions of Section 163 of the Revised Election Code, the Commission Resolved ... to direct immediately the opening of the ballot boxes of the municipalities of Candon, Sta. Cruz and Santiago which are now impounded and under the custody of the Zone Commander of the 1st PC Zone in Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga solely for the purpose of retrieving therefrom the corresponding election returns, copies for the ballot box, in all the precincts of said municipalities. Pursuant to the instructions of respondent Commission, contained in the resolution of December 22, 1965, the ballot boxes from all the precincts in the municipalities of Candon, Sta. Cruz and Santiago were opened by the Chief of the Law Enforcement Division of the Commission, Atty. Fernando Gorospe, Jr., in the presence of witnesses, and the envelopes containing the election returns found inside the ballot boxes were taken and brought to Manila on December 23, 1965. On the same date, December 23, 1965, herein petitioner, Lucas V. Cauton, filed before this Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction, praying that the resolution of the respondent Commission on Elections dated December 22, 1965 ordering the opening of the ballot boxes used in all the precincts of Candon, Sta.

Cruz and Santiago in the elections of November 9, 1965 be annulled and set aside. The petition further prays that the Commission on Elections be restrained from opening, the envelopes containing the election returns found in the afore-mentioned ballot boxes and be ordered to return the said envelopes to the corresponding ballot boxes. In his petition, petitioner alleges that the respondent Commission on Elections acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in issuing the resolution of December 22, 1965. This Court gave due course to the petition, but did not issue the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for. This petition is now the case before Us. Upon instructions by respondent Commission on Elections, on December 28, 1966, the envelopes that were taken from the ballot boxes were opened and the election returns were taken out and their contents examined and recorded by a committee appointed by the Commission. This was done in a formal hearing with notice to the parties concerned. Respondent Pablo C. Sanidad filed his answer to instant petition on January 5, 1966, admitting some of the allegations and denying others, and maintaining that the Commission on Elections had acted well within the bounds of its authority in issuing the order of December 22, 1965. Respondent Commission on Elections also filed its answer on January 5, 1966, maintaining that it has authority under the law to order the opening of the ballot boxes as stated in its resolution of December 22, 1965. In the meantime, on the basis of the discrepancies in the entries of the votes for the candidates for Representative, between the election returns taken out of the ballot boxes that were opened by order of the Commission of Elections and the election returns submitted by the Provincial Treasurer of Ilocos Sur to the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Ilocos Sur, respondent Pablo C. Sanidad filed a petition with the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur, docketed as Election Case No. 16-N, for a recount of the votes in all the precincts of Candon, Sta. Cruz and Santiago, pursuant to the provisions of Section 163 of the Revised Election Code. On February 14, 1966, petitioner filed before this Court in urgent motion, in this case, praying for the issuance of an order enjoining the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur (Branch II-Narvacan) from further proceeding with Election Case No. 16-N, abovementioned, pending final decision of the instance case, upon the ground that the recount of the ballots in that case in the court below would render the instant case moot and academic. This motion was denied by this Court in a resolution dated February 17, 1966. The principal issue in the present case revolves on the of the resolution of the respondent Commission of Elections, dated December 22, 1965, which orders the opening of the ballot boxes used in all the precincts in the municipalities of Candon, Sta. Cruz and Santiago, Ilocos Sur, during the elections of November 9, 1965 for the purpose of retrieving therefrom the corresponding election returns, copies for the ballot box, "to enable the aggrieved party to establish discrepancy between copies of the election returns provided by law in the aforementioned precincts for the purpose of obtaining judicial remedy under the provisions of Section 163 of the Revised Election Code." It is the stand of the petitioner that respondent Commission on Elections is without jurisdiction to issue, or has acted in excess of jurisdiction in issuing, the resolution in question, so that said resolution is null and void and should not be given legal force and effect. The petitioner contends that under Section 157 of the Revised Election Code the Commission on Elections has authority to order the opening of the ballot boxes "only in connection with an investigation conducted for the purpose of helping the prosecution of any violation of the election laws or for the purely administrative purpose but not when the sole purpose is, as in this case, to assist a party in trying to win the election ...." The petitioner further, contends that "the mere fact that the copies of the returns in the precincts in question in the possession of the Liberal Party do not tally with the returns involving the same precincts in the possession of the Provincial Treasurer, the Commission of Elections and the Nacionalista Party as well does not 2 legally support the validity of the resolution of the respondent Commission in question ...." We cannot sustain the stand of the petitioner. We believe that in issuing the resolution in question the Commission on Elections simply performed a function as authorized by the Constitution, that is, to "have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections and ... exercise all other functions which may be conferred upon it by law." The Commission has the power to decide all administrative questions 3 affecting elections, except the question involving the right to vote. This Court in a line of decisions has ruled that the Commission on Election has the power to investigate and act on the propriety or legality of the canvass of election returns made by the board of canvassers. In the case of Albano vs. Arranz, L-19260, January 31, 1962, this Court, through Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, held as follows: The suspension of the proclamation of the winning candidate pending an inquiry into irregularities brought to the attention of the Commission on Elections was well within its administrative jurisdiction, in view of the exclusive authority conferred upon it by the Constitution (Art. X ) for the administration and enforcement of all laws relative to elections. The Commission certainly had the right to inquire whether or not discrepancies existed between the various copies of election returns for the precincts in question, and suspend the canvass all the meantime so the parties could ask for a recount in case of variance ....' What the respondent Commission on Elections did in the case now before Us is just what is contemplated in the abovequoted ruling of this Court. The power of the Commission on Elections in this respect is simply administrative and supervisory — intended to secure the proclamation of the winning candidate based on the true count of the votes cast. When the Commission on Elections exercises this power the purpose is not for the Commission to help a candidate win the election but to bring about the canvass of the true results of the elections as certified by the boards of election inspectors in every precinct. The object of the canvass is to determine the result of the elections based on

in the face of this finding by the Commission on Elections. then it becomes evident that all the three copies of the election returns outside the ballot box do not constitute a reliable basis for a canvass. and all the other copies outside the ballot boxes have also been shown to have been tampered or falsified. and thus open the way for the summary recount of the votes. in appropriate proceedings. then the Commission should afford the candidate adversely affected by the tampering an opportunity to show that there exist authentic copies of the same election returns which are not tampered. one to be sent to the provincial treasurer. it is found by the Commission on Elections that no other copies can be had except those deposited in the ballot boxes. genuine. the Commission on Elections has thereby made available the proper and reliable basis for the canvass of the votes that will lead to the proclamation by the board of canvassers of the true winner in the elections. Certainly. for the purposes only of the canvass of the votes and the proclamation of the candidate found to have obtained the highest number of votes. In the case of the canvass of the election returns for candidates for provincial or national offices. while the copies of the election returns for the Commission of Elections and the Provincial Treasurer for the municipalities of Candon and Santiago have 5 likewise uniform alterations and showing different numbers compared with the Liberal Party copies . that the copies in the hands of the Commission on Elections and of the municipal treasurer are similarly tampered as the copies in the hands of the provincial treasurer." Indeed. The Commission on Elections may do this on its own initiative. nay its duty. and (2) afforded the party aggrieved by the alteration of the election returns outside the ballot box a basis for a judicial recount of the votes as provided for in Section 163 of the Revised Election Code. are the ones inside the ballot boxes. in the exercise of its power to administer and enforce the laws relative to the conduct of elections. authentic and untampered election returns. corresponding to each precinct. An order to this effect does not affect the right to vote or the validity of any vote cast. the Commission on Elections. the election returns received by the provincial treasurer from the boards of inspectors are used. which indicates a clear violation of the election law. If it is shown. for the Commission on Elections and for the Provincial Treasurer for the municipality of Sta. by seeing to it that the canvass is based on the election returns as actually certified by the members of the board of inspectors.. Once the Commission on Elections is convinced that the elections returns in the hands of the board of canvassers do not constitute the proper basis in ascertaining the true result of the elections. correct. The Commission on Elections has a duty to enforce this law and it has the duty to see to it that the election returns to be used for canvassing must be genuine and authentic. and which indicates an attempt to procure the proclamation of the winner in the elections for Representative in the second congressional district of Ilocos Sur by the use of tampered election returns. The provincial board of canvassers is enjoined by law to canvass all 7 the votes cast for Representatives on the basis of the election returns produced by the provincial treasurer. it is certainly within the power of the Commission on Elections to issue such order as would ascertain the existence of the genuine. the Commission on Elections issued the questioned resolution "after hearing the arguments of the petitioner and the opposition thereto and considering that it has been clearly established that the copies of the election returns for the Municipal Treasurer. Where the election returns produced by the provincial treasurer have been shown to have been tampered. A recourse may be had to the copies received by the Commission on Elections and to the copies received by the municipal treasurer. Hence. If the Commission on Elections is duly informed and it so finds. the necessity for the Commission to order the retrieving of the copies of the election returns from the ballot boxes. it should be its concern. as we have said. namely: (1) secured a basis for the prosecution for the violation of the laws relative to elections.the official election returns. so that it is perfectly within the power of the Commission on Elections to issue such an order in the exercise of its exclusive power to administer and enforce the laws relative to the conduct of . one to be delivered to the municipal treasurer. Cruz have uniform alteration in the entries of the votes cast for representative showing different number of votes compared with the Liberal Party copies. It is in this proceedings that the Commission on Elections exercises its supervisory and administrative power in the enforcement of laws relative to the conduct of elections. had performed its constitutional duty of administering and enforcing the laws relative to the conduct of elections with a view to promoting clean and honest elections — the very purpose for which the Commission on Elections was created by constitutional mandate. election returns. The only copies left to be checked. It is the duty of the provincial treasurer to turn over to the provincial board of canvassers the election returns received by him from the boards of inspectors. whether they are also tampered or not. or upon petition by the proper party. can the Commission on Elections be remiss in the performance of its duties as a constitutional body committed with the exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections? The Revised Election Code gives to the Commission on Elections the direct and immediate supervision over provincial. The election law requires the board of inspectors to prepare four copies of the election return in each precinct — one to be deposited in the ballot box. In order that the result of the canvass would reflect the true expression of the people's will in the choice of their elective officials. In the case now before Us. not falsified or tampered with.. municipal and city officials designated by law to perform duties relative to the conduct of elections — and included among these officials are 6 members of the provincial board of canvassers. the canvass must be based on true. and one to be sent to the Commission on Elections. that the election returns in the hands of the provincial treasurer are tampered. In the case now before Us. may order the opening of the ballot boxes to ascertain whether the copy inside each ballot box is also tampered like the three copies outside the ballot box. nay untampered. to order the taking of such steps as may be necessary in order that the proper basis for the canvass is obtained or made available. Once it is found that the copy of the election return inside the ballot box is untampered. In so doing the Commission on Elections. in accordance with law. the Commission on Elections would then have accomplished two things. Thus.

To sustain the petitioner in the present case is to deny the Commission on Elections the power to retrieve the copies of the election returns from the ballot boxes in order that the true number of votes cast for a candidate may be known and thus permit a canvass on the basis of election returns that are patently falsified. BUTUYAN. Cruz. Technicalities. C. JR. orderly. ROMEL R. COMELEC (see separate concurring opinion of CJ Puno) Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC H. Moreover. The Commission on Elections. LARDIZABAL. authorizes the opening of the ballot box whenever it is the subject of an official investigation. It would indeed be absurd to say that the Commission on Elections has a legal duty to perform and at the same time it is denied the necessary means to perform said duty. by constitutional mandate. 3. Makalintal. sanction the stand of petitioner. The purity of the elections is one of the most fundamental requisites 9 of popular government. JOEL R. Of all the copies prepared by the board of inspectors the copy least susceptible to being tampered with is the one deposited in the ballot box. MERCADO. unless they are the subject of an official investigation. Section 157 of the Revised Election Code. Wherefore. They may also be opened even if there is no election contest when their contents have to be used as evidence in the prosecution of election 12 frauds. It is within the power of the Commission to order the investigation of that apparent anomaly that has connection with the conduct of elections. Inasmuch as the Commission on Elections has the right to determine whether said discrepancies exist. the petition for certiorari and prohibition in the present case is dismissed. Where the three copies outside the ballot boxes appear to have been uniformly altered. IMMACULADA D. 188456 Present: . in all the precincts in the municipalities of Candon. Reyes. Regala. being questioned by the petitioner in the present case.. Santiago and Sta. there is no plausible reason why the copy deposited in the ballot box may not be used to determine whether discrepancies exist in the various copies. they may be opened when they are the subject of any official investigation which may be ordered 13 by a competent court or other competent authority. The choice of means taken by the Commission on Elections. GILBERT T. HARRY L. Dizon. which cannot be done unless the ballot boxes are opened.. and honest elections. be prayed for by a candidate who is prejudiced by the apparent falsification of the election returns outside the ballot boxes. In the performance of its duties.L. It is noteworthy that the Revised Election Code does not provide that it is the courts that have the power to order the opening of the ballot box in a situation like this. ANDRES. and We must not. FRANCISCO A. MA. but on the contrary may defeat the will of the sovereign people as expressed in their votes. and in ordering the opening of the ballot boxes the purpose of the Commission is not to help a particular candidate win an election but to properly administer and enforce the laws relative to the conduct of elections. which are not conducive to free. The purpose of the Revised Election Code is to protect the integrity of elections and to suppress all evils that may 8 violate its purity and defeat the will of the voters. on which petitioner herein relies in support of his stand in the present case. ROQUE. The "competent authority" must include the Commission on Elections which is charged with the administration and enforcement of the laws relative to the conduct of elections. Sanchez and Castro. No. G. was perfectly within the power of the Commission on Elections to issue.B. As We have adverted to. Concepcion. JJ. have been tampered with. with costs against the petitioner. ALCUAZ. Under this section the ballot boxes may be opened in case there is an election contest. should not be 10 interfered with. therefore. ERLINDA T. concur. orderly and honest elections. ALLAN JONES F. BAGARES. ROQUE V. the Commission on Elections has the power to inquire whether there exist discrepancies 11 among the various copies of the election returns. the Commission must be given a considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created — to promote free. should not be allowed to hamper the Commission on Elections in the performance of its duties. The investigation may be in connection with the prosecution for the violations of the election laws and at the same time to ascertain the condition of the election returns inside the ballot boxes as compared with the election returns outside the ballot boxes. unless they are clearly illegal or constitute grave abuse of discretion. or the competent authority shall order their preservation for a longer time in connection with any pending contest or investigation. J.elections. The opening of the ballot boxes may. It provides: The municipal treasurer shall keep the boxes unopened in his possession in a secure place and under his responsibility for three months. GARCIA. 1965. From what has been said We hold that the order of December 22. or a component court or tribunal shall demand them sooner. We cannot.J.. It is so ordered. for the same precincts.R.. In the instant case the Commission on Elections found that it has been clearly established that the election returns outside the ballot boxes. must do everything in its power to secure a fair and honest canvass of the votes cast in the elections. it must also have the right to consult said returns.

Jr. CARPIO MORALES. and ABAD. Harry L. It is thus the interest of the state to insure honest. TIM and Smartmatic from signing and/or implementing the corresponding contract-award. has been viewed as a significant step towards clean and credible elections. is perceived to be a real possibility. The Commission on Elections (Comelec). prohibition and mandamus with prayer for a restraining order and/or preliminary injunction. then the insidious seeds of doubt are sown and the ideal of a peaceful and smooth transition of power is placed in jeopardy. YNARES-SANTIAGO. unfettered by the travails of the long wait and cheating that have marked many of our electoral exercises. DEL CASTILLO. thus breaking away from a manual system of election. and ALVIN A. Petitioner-in-Intervention. In this petition for certiorari. Corollarily. choosing through the ballots the men and women who are to govern the country is perhaps the highest exercise of democracy. Movant-Intervenor.. Roque. Promulgated: September 10. CORONA. Represented by HON.. JUAN PONCE ENRILE. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO.. MACEDA.AZUCENA P. BRION. SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES. . NACHURA. where the will of the electorate is not frustrated or undermined. private respondents. represented by HON. versus COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. C. For when the popular will itself is subverted by election irregularities. CHICO-NAZARIO. JR.: In a democratic system of government. CHAIRMAN JOSE MELO. the automated election system and the untested technology Comelec has chosen and set in motion are pregnant with risks and could lead to a disastrous failure of elections. seek to nullify respondent Comelec’s award of the 2010 Elections Automation Project (automation project) to the joint venture of [1] Total Information Management Corporation (TIM) and Smartmatic International Corporation (Smartmatic) and to permanently prohibit the Comelec. JJ. petitioners H. which is quite understandable. credible and peaceful elections. BERSAMIN.. et al. however. Petitioners. Respondents. CARPIO. To them. VELASCO. Comelec. the people’s voice is sovereign. would not be up to the challenge.. PERALTA. COMELEC SPECIAL BIDS and AWARDS COMMITTEE. PUNO. FERDINAND RAFANAN. represented by its CHAIRMAN HON. DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET and MANAGEMENT. but this time facilitated by a machine. TOTAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CORPORATION and SMARTMATIC INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION.J. * QUISUMBING. represented by its President. they allege. where the sanctity of the votes and the secrecy of the ballots are safeguarded. ROLANDO ANDAYA. PETE QUIRINO-QUADRA. JR. To automate. suing as taxpayers and concerned citizens. 2009 x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION VELASCO. the National Computer Center and other computer wizards are confident that nationwide automated elections can be successfully implemented. Petitioners and some skeptics in the information technology (IT) industry have. their reservations. J. PETERS. Cheating on a massive scale.

albeit clashing. is operating properly and accurately based on defined and [8] documented standards. Election Management System (EMS). Consolidation/Canvassing System (CCS). Component 2: Provision for Electronic Transmission of Election Results using Public Telecommunications Network. 1-A. the amendatory RA 9369 was passed authorizing anew the Comelec to use an AES. as funds were not appropriated for that purpose by Congress and due to time constraints. 2009. On July 29. CAC is to recommend. 2007. In August 2008. as follows: Component 1: Paper-Based AES. consolidation and canvassing of votes for the May 10. From the petition. earlier constituted purposely for the aforesaid project. respectively. In [3] another resolution. and other pleadings. by categorically stating that the AES. came and went but purely manual elections were still the order of the day. 1997. On [4] January 23. In a Resolution of August 25. 2009. 2009. in early March 2009. however. among other [6] functions. caused the publication in different newspapers of the Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to [19] [15] [5] [2] . as amended––each defining Comelec’s specific mandates insofar as automated elections are concern ed. Before any of the comments could actually be filed. to prepare for a nationwide computerized run for the 2010 national/local polls. in the rest of [12] ARMM. 5 and 8. or theBid Envelope itself. with the many lessons learned from the ARMM experience influencing. Pete Quirino-Quadra sought leave to intervene. Under the two-envelope system designed under the RFP. the Court heard the principal parties in oral arguments which was followed by the submission of their and the resource persons’ instructive. each participating bidder shall submit. through the Senate President. Of particular relevance are Sections 6 and 10 of RA 9369 ––originally Secs. also known as Terms of Reference(TOR). inclusive of its hardware and software components. the Court admitted the Senate’s comment-in-intervention. 2000 elections. To be created by [7] Comelec too is the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) which is tasked to certify. Atty. and the [11] optical markreader/recording (OMR) system. National Computer Center (NCC) and Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (Infotech. in turn. as part of its bid. the second envelope. according to the NCC. 2001. 2009. What is referred to also in the RFP and other contract documents as the 2010 Elections Automation Project (Automation Project) consists of three elaborate components. 1998 national and local elections and onwards. Accordingly. the RFP required interested bidders to submit. The AES was not utilized in the May 10. among [17] [18] other things: a continuity plan and a back-up plan. for the nationwide automation of the voting. On the other hand. Subsequently. the Court allowed the intervention and admitted the corresponding petition-in-intervention. transmission. the Comelec released the Request for Proposal (RFP). and 2004 national and local polls. applicable and cost-effective technology to be applied to the AES. The 1998. counting. and Component 3: Overall Project Management And obviously to address the possibility of systems failure. Comelec managed to automate the regional polls in the Autonomous Region of Muslim [9] [10] Mindanao (ARMM). Congress enacted Republic Act No. the Court directed the respondents as well as the University of the Philippines (UP) Computer Center. particularly the Central Count Optical Scan (CCOS). RA 9369 calls for the creation of the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC). [20] anEligibility Envelope that should inter alia establish the bidder’s eligibility to bid. respectively of RA 8436. (RA) 8436 authorizing the adoption of an automated election system (AES) in the May 11. 2010 Synchronized National and Local Elections. through an established international certification committee. would later join the fray viaa Motion for Leave to Intervene.By Resolution of July 14. 1-B Precinct-Count Optic [16] Scan (PCOS) System and 1-C. shall contain the technical proposal and [21] the financial proposal. the technology selection for [14] the 2010 automated elections. with their respective annexes. with [13] some prodding from senators. shall contain two envelopes that. What scores hailed as successful automated ARMM 2008 elections paved the way for Comelec. memoranda. as well as from admissions during the oral arguments. the most appropriate. The Senate. not later than three months before the elections. the separate comments thereon. using direct recording electronics (DRE) technology in the province of Maguindanao. the Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC). the Court gathers the following facts: On December 22. hereinafter) to submit their collective or separate comments to the petition on or before July 24.

2009. and received by. the former incorporated under the Corporation Code of the Philippines. and its PCOS prototype machines––the Smarmatic Auditable Electronic System (SAES) [30] 1800––to undergo end-to-end testing to determine compliance with the pre-set criteria. the SBAC Technical Working Group (TWG) stated that it was undertaking a 4-day (May 27 to May 30. Its conclusion: “The demo systems presented PASSED all tests as required in the 26-item criteria [31] specified in the [RFP]” with 100% accuracy rating. subject to well-defined conditions. Comelec and Smartmatic TIM Corporation. TIM wrote Comelec expressing its desire to quit the JV partnership.) 8608 authorizing the SBAC to issue. Soon after. caused the incorporation of a joint venture corporation (JVC) that would enter into a contract with the Comelec. 2009. and technical and financial qualifications of the TIM-Smartmatic joint venture. on the Subject: Systems Evaluation Consolidated Report and Status Report on the Post-Qualification Evaluation Procedures. After declaring TIM-Smartmatic as the best complying bidder. per its Res. declared the above-stated bid of the JV of TIM-Smartmatic as the single complying calculated bid. however.48. on the other hand. issued [32] Resolution No. a Notice to Proceed was sent to. only seven (7) submitted sealed [24] applications for eligibility and bids which. petitioners pray that respondents be permanently enjoined from implementing the automation project on the submission that: PUBLIC RESPONDENTS COMELEC AND COMELEC-SBAC COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN AWARDING THE 2010 ELECTIONS AUTOMATION PROJECT TO PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TIM AND SMARTMATIC FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: x x x COMELEC DID NOT CONDUCT ANY PILOT TESTING OF THE x x x PCOS MACHINES OFFERED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS SMARTMATIC AND TIM. Smartmatic TIM Corporation. petitioners interposed the instant recourse which.3 billion as supplemental budget for the May 10. impugns the validity and seeks to nullify the July 10.Bid for the procurement of goods and services to be used in the automation project. The TWG also validated the eligibility. the CAC and other stakeholders. Comelec. For a stated amount. upon the recommendation of its SBAC. suppliers and/or distributors forming themselves into a joint venture. Under the RFP. 2009. executed a [34] contract for the lease of goods and services under the contract for the contract amount of PhP 7. pursuant to the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA). among those eligible to participate in the bidding are manufacturers. In its Memorandum of June 01.-2009. the SBAC. What followed was that TIM and Smartmatic. 2009) test evaluation of TIM and Smartmatic’s proposed PCOS project machines. or on July 10. Smartmatic. After the conclusion of the eligibility evaluation process. As required by the RFP. payable as the “Goods and Services are delivered and/or progress is made in accordance [with pre -set] Schedule of [35] [36] Payments. in case of a systems breakdown or any such eventuality which shall result in the delay. On July 8. In time. were to be opened on a pre-set date. the SBAC then directed the joint venture to undertake post-qualification screening. following the opening of the passing bidders’ Bid Envelope and evaluating the technical and financial proposals therein contained. On June 9. obstruction or nonperformance of the electoral process. suppliers and/or distributors that intend to be jointly and severally responsible or [25] liable for a particular contract. following the convening of the pre-bid conference. Two days after. 2009. 2010 automated national and local elections. Among the submitted bids was that of the joint venture (JV) of TIM and Smartmatic. 24. as provider.739.484.191. the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a certificate of incorporation in favor of Smartmatic TIM Corporation. was organized under the laws [26] of Barbados. only three [27] consortia were found and thus declared as eligible. the bid envelope contained an outline of the joint venture’s back -up and continuity or [29] contingency plans. said JV proposed to undertake the whole automation project. Among others. [28] s. (Res. for all intents and purposes. per Bid Bulletin No. IN VIOLATION OF [RA] 8436 (AS AMENDED BY [RA] 9369) [33] [22] [23] .” On the same date. Meanwhile. the notice of award and notice to proceed in favor of the winning joint venture. A joint venture is defined as a group of two or more manufacturers. 2009 Comelec-Smartmatic-TIM Corporation automation contract adverted to. Further on. or on July 9. inclusive of the delivery of 82. Of the ten (10) invitation-responding consortia which obtained the bid documents. No.200 PCOS machines. Congress enacted RA 9525 appropriating some PhP 11. the parties were able to patch up what TIM earlier described as irreconcilable differences between partners. Meanwhile. 2009. 09-001.

it may be relaxed. . vs. is in favor of a foreign corporation that will be providing the hardware and software requirements. 58 of RA 9184. THERE WAS NO VALID JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENT [JVA] BETWEEN RESPONDENTS SMARTMATIC AND TIM DURING THE BIDDING. owing in part to the sheer length of the ballot. 2004). 55 in relation to Sec. according to the petitioners. Sec. either or both public and private respondents question the legal standing or locus standi of petitioners. No. DOES NOT SATISFY THE SUPREME COURT’S DEFINITION OF A “JOINT VENTURE” IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. petitioners having failed to avail themselves of the otherwise mandatory built-in grievance mechanism under Sec. there is no necessity to show that the suitor has experienced or is in actual danger of suffering direct and personal injury as the requisite injury is assumed. one must. Jan. [43] the PCOS would not comply with Art. As [40] we wrote in Chavez v. where issues of public importance are presented. Petitioners’ counsel. noting in this regard that the petition did not even raise an issue of transcendental importance.” Petitioners also depicted the covering automation contract as constituting an abdication by the Comelec of its election-related mandate under the Constitution. the abdication. with its anti-dummy [42] dimension. Hence. 2 of the Constitution prescribing secrecy of voting and sanctity of the [44] ballot. PCGG. such as when the [39] matter is of transcendental importance. respondents also urge the dismissal of the petition on the ground of prematurity. when queried. and that the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action. COMPOSITION. 13. that to have standing. Worse still. AND SCOPE OF THEIR JOINT VENTURE. PRIVATE OF THE OF THE COPY OF THE ALLEGED JOINT VENTURE COMPOSED OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS SMARTMATIC AND TIM. as postulated. as the Court has often relaxed the rule for nontraditional plaintiffs. And when pressed further. V. IN VIOLATION OF THE SUPREME COURT’S HOLDING IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES. COMELEC x x x WHICH “REQUIRES A COMMUNITY OF INTEREST IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SUBJECT MATTER.THE [PCOS] MACHINES [THUS] OFFERED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS x x x DO NOT SATISFY THE MINIMUM SYSTEM CAPABILITIES SET BY [RA] NO. like ordinary citizens and taxpayers. 159139. 8436 (AS AMENDED BY [RA] 9369). the petition understandably did not implead Smartmatic TIM Corporation. [37] doubtless an indispensable party to these proceedings. although he was heard to say that “our objection to the system is anchored on the Constitution itself a violation [sic] of secrecy of voting and the [41] sanctity of the ballot. or of paramount public interest. is a matter of procedure. of overarching significance to society. PRIVATE RESPONDENTS x x x DID NOT SUBMIT THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS DURING THE BIDDING PROCESS THAT SHOULD ESTABLISH THE DUE EXISTENCE. COMELEC x x x WHICH REQUIRES A JOINT VENTURE TO INCLUDE A ITS [JVA] DURING THE BIDDING. The prescription on standing. as shall be discussed shortly.R. IN VIOLATION SUPREME COURT’S HOLDING IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION PHILIPPINES vs. let alone a constitutional question. hedged on what specific constitutional proscriptions or concepts had been infringed by the award of the subject automation project to Smartmatic TIM Corporation. Locus Standi and Prematurity It is true. As an additional point. when the public interest so requires. establish having suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the alleged illegal government conduct. which is to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections. COMELEC (G. As a preliminary counterpoint. also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act. an incident that did not escape Comelec’s notice. petitioners came out with the observation that. that the injury is fairly traceable to the [38] challenged action. PROCEDURAL GROUNDS The Court is not disposed to dismiss the petition on procedural grounds advanced by respondents.” Filed as it was before contract signing. as a rule. however.

For indeed the Court has full discretionary power to take cognizance and assume jurisdiction [48] of special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus filed directly with it for exceptionally compelling reasons or if [49] warranted by the nature of the issues clearly and specifically raised in the petition. The petition-in-intervention confined itself to certain features of the PCOS machines. i. Respondents contend that petitioners should have availed themselves of the otherwise mandatory protest mechanism set forth in Sections 55 and 58 of the procurement law (RA 9184) and the counterpart provisions found in its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR)-A before seeking judicial remedy. 55 shall have been completed. The policy on the hierarchy of courts. the requirement to comply with the protest mechanism. only a bidder is entitled to receive a notice of the protested BAC action. as demonstrated by their counsel’s practically cavalier discussion thereof during the oral argument. When reminded. the succeeding Sec. technicalities and procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand in the way. which discourages direct resort to the Court if the desired redress is within the competence of lower courts to grant.e. The exceptions that justify a deviation from the policy on hierarchy appear to obtain under the premises. This postulate on procedural technicalities applies to matters of locus standi and the presently invoked principle of hierarchy of courts. petitioners’ counsel responded as follows: “ We knew your honor that there was. Petitioners except. and ergo would have the personality to challenge. via a “verified position paper. Put a bit differently. about the compelling significance and the transcending public importance of the one issue underpinning this petition: the success ––and the far-reaching grim implications of the failure ––of the nationwide automation project that will be implemented via the challenged automation contract. Hierarchy of Courts At this stage. rules of procedure are merely [46] tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. revolved around two concerns. which petitioners indeed failed to observe. at [51] best pro forma because it did not contain all the required stipulations in order to evidence unity of interest x x x. As argued. On the other hand. As a matter of common sense. 2009. contrary to what may have [50] been suggested in Infotech. b) The office address of the bidder x x x. SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES We now turn to the central issues tendered in the petition which. Accordingly.” . of private respondents’ insistence on having in fact submitted their JVA dated April 23. in fact. Only a losing bidder would be aggrieved by.There is no doubt in our mind. Petitioners veritably introduced another issue during the oral arguments. The doctrinal formulation may vary. as repairing to the records would readily provide a satisfactory answer. as amplified in their memorandum. viz: (1) the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) of Smartmatic and TIM. such action. Sec. because of the belated discovery that [there] were irreconcilable differences. first and foremost. however. 55 of RA 9184 provides that decisions of the bids and awards committee (BAC) in all stages of procurement may be protested. However. in terms of subject matter. we then made a view that this joint venture agreement was a sham. We note in fact that the petitioners do not appear to be earnestly pressing the said issue anymore.2. we shall dispose of another peripheral issue before plunging into the core substantive issues tendered in this petition. 58 states that court action may be resorted to only after the protest contemplated in Sec. a joint venture agreement filed. is not an iron-clad rule. for instance. Insofar as relevant. to provide an orderly dispensation of justice. This conclusion finds adequate support from the ensuing provisions of the aforesaid IRR-A: 55. and (2) the PCOS machines to be used. The Court will for the nonce thus turn a blind eye to the judicial structure intended.” to the head of the procuring agency. is imposed on the bidders. The Joint Venture Agreement: Its Existence and Submission The issue respecting the existence and submission of the TIM-Smartmatic JVA does not require an extended disquisition. Petitioners’ position is correct. if the ends of justice would not be subserved by a rigid adherence to the rules of [47] procedure. the constitutionality and statutory flaw of the automation contract itself. but the bottom line is that the Court may except a particular case from the [45] operations of its rules when the demands of justice so require. The verified position paper shall contain the following documents: a) The name of bidder.

and the 60-40 [54] [55] capital structure of the aggroupment. that the TIM-Smartmatic joint venture remained an unincorporated aggroupment during the bid-opening and evaluation stages. the full identity of which the poll body knew nothing about. Artemio Panganiban. in case of joint venture – Documents [52] verified compliance. arguing in relation thereto that the partnership of Smartmatic and TIM does not meet the Court’s definition of a joint venture which requires “community of interest in the performance of the subject matter. Extant records. let alone its composition. do not show the formation of such joint venture. to be sure. of three IT providers. and 2GO Transportation System Corporation (2GO).” (Emphasis ours. Taking a cue from this holding. the winning bid pertained to the consortium of Mega Pacific.) Petitioners. the duly notarized JVA.Indeed. Albeit Infotech and this case are both about modernizing the election process and bidding joint ventures. as joint venture partners. In Infotech. Dominion Voting Systems (Domino). the composition. . Article 3 of the JVA delineates the respective participations and responsibilities of the joint venture partners in the automation project. For the bidding ground rules. if called for by the bidding results. the Court chastised the Comelec for dealing with an entity. scope. petitioners tag the TIM-Smartmatic JVA as flawed and as one that would leave the Comelec “hanging” for the non -inclusion. the relevant parallelism ends there. It may be. the existence in this case of the bidding joint venture of Smarmatic and TIM is properly documented and spread all over the bid documents. as members of the joint venture. the inventor of said PCOS machines. determination of the required Filipino participation may be made by examining the terms and conditions of the [JVA] and other supporting financial documents submitted by the joint venture . one cannot plausibly set Infotech side with and contextually apply to this case the ratio of Infotech. Suffice it to delve on the most glaring of differences. have not shown that incorporation is part of the pass/fail criteria used in determining eligibility. did not include in their submitted eligibility envelope a copy of their JVA. that there be an incorporation of the bidding joint ventures or consortiums. (Jarltech). The SBA C’s Post Qualification Evaluation Report (Eligibility) on TIM-Smartmatic.” Contrary to what the petitioners posit. a JVC that shall be solidarily liable with them for any actionable breach of the automation contract. the Court is at a loss to understand how petitioners can assert that the SmartmaticTIM consortium has failed to prove its joint venture existence and/or to submit evidence as would enable the Comelec to know such items as who it is dealing with. they would have discovered that their challenge to and arguments against the joint venture and its JVA have really no factual basis. unequivocally agreed between themselves to perform their respective undertakings. for bidding purposes. It ought to be stressed. however. in its Bid Bulletin No. the SBAC. Had petitioners only bothered to undertake the usual due diligence that comes with good judgment and examined the eligibility envelope of the Smartmatic-TIM joint venture. as couched. does not require. the records belie petitioners’ initial posture that TIM and Smartmatic. Bid Bulletin Nos. The three referred to are Jarltech International. as petitioners observed. Given the foregoing perspective. explained the nature and the limited [53] purpose of the joint venture and expressly defined. And to stress. In response to a poser. the subcontractor responsible for the distribution of the PCOS machines throughout the country. however. among other things. the amount of investment to be contributed by each partner. that the fact of non-incorporation was without a vitiating effect on the validity of the tender offers. And over and beyond their commitments to each other. as spelled out primarily in the RFP and the clarificatory bid bulletins. they undertook to incorporate. The JVA also contains provisions on the management and division of [56] [57] profits. a purported joint venture. in their JVA. Comelec. Cast as they are against dissimilar factual milieu. a subsidiary of Smartmatic that manufactures the Smartmatic voting machines. TIM and Smartmatic. regarding the 60% Filipino ownership requirement in a joint venture arrangement. for example. Petitioners have made much of the Court’s ruling in Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines [Infotech] [58] v. the parties’ shares in the profits and like details. later Chief Justice. ” Petitioners’ invocation of Infotech is utterly misplaced. shows the following entry: “ Valid Joint Venture Agreement. Unlike the purported Mega Pacific consortium in Infotech. that the members are jointly and severally liable for the whole obligation. on page 10. In Infotech. which between the partners has control over the decision-making process.” There was in fine no evidence to show that the alleged joint venture partners agreed to constitute themselves into a single entity solidarily responsible for the entirety of the automation contract. stated: “ In an unincorporated joint venture. consortium agreement [or] memorandum agreement x x [59] x executed among the members of the purported consortium. In fact. 22. stating among things. Inc. “there is no sign whatsoever of any [JVA]. 19 and 20 recognize the existence and the acceptability of proposals of unincorporated joint ventures. To borrow from the ponencia of then Justice.

the system procured must have been piloted in at least 12 areas referred to in Sec.To carry out the above stated-policy. which it can hold solidary liable under the automation contract. they would thrust on the Court the notion of an invalid joint venture due to the non-inclusion of more companies in the existing TIM-Smartmatic joint venture. as amended by RA 9369. . (Emphasis and underscoring added. At its most basic. 6 of RA 8436 is the pilot-testing provision that Comelec failed to observe. the PCOS in this case. Following their line. evidently due to the mix of time and funding constraints. awarding the automation project in violation of RA 8436. hence. the contract award to Smartmatic-TIM with their untested PCOS machines violated RA 8436. First off. We are not persuaded. Secondly. the [60] Instruction to Bidders––as petitioners themselves admit ––allows the bidder to subcontract portions of the goods or [61] services under the automation project. the AES shall be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. as amended. 6 of RA 8436. the AES shall be implemented. the Comelec knows the very entities whom they are dealing with. that for the regular national and local elections. Authority to use an Automated Election System. the petition ascribes grave abuse of discretion to the Comelec for. as amended. as the law is worded. The Senate’s position and its supporting arguments match those of private respondents. The term local government unit as used in this provision shall refer to a highly urbanized city or province. which envisages an AES. Provided. In succeeding regular national or local elections. The Court takes judicial notice that the May 2007 elections did not deploy AES. during which time the AES shall. Failing to gain traction for their indefensible posture. the underscored portion of the aforequoted Sec. should there be contract violation. To digress a bit. which mandates that with respect to the May 2010 elections and onwards. The “regular national and local elections” referred to after the “effectivity of this Act” can be no other than the May 2007 regular elections. that the prevailing bidder’s automation system. Comelec echoes its co-respondents’ stance on pilot testing. 2007 elections shall not be chosen. with the [62] added observation that nowhere in the statutory provision relied upon are the words “pilot testing” used. the Comelec cannot conduct a nationwide automation of the 2010 polls using the machines thus offered. that all the suppliers. as a pre-requisite for the 2010 election automation project award. Visayas and Mindanao. counting and canvassing of votes. Pilot Testing Not Necessary Disagreeing. reading as follows: Sec. as to be expected. which shall be held immediately after theeffectivity of this Act. took effect in the second week [63] of February 2007 or thereabout. or the RFP. private respondents’ PCOS machines do not satisfy the minimum system capabilities set by the same law envisaged to ensure transparent and credible voting. The irony is not lost on the Court. 5. The respondents’ thesis on pilot testing and the logic holding it together are well taken.. further. be subjected to pilot testing. That local government units whose officials have been the subject of administrative charges within sixteen (16) month prior to the May 14. There can be no ar gument about the phrase “pilot test” not being found in the law. That no area shall be chosen without the consent of the Sanggunian of the local government unit concerned. Hence. petitioners assert. be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and provinces in Luzon. and Mindanao to be chosen by the [Comelec]: Provided. whether paper-based or a direct recording electronic election system as it may deem appropriate and practical for the process of voting. finally. petitioners have insisted on the non-existence of a bona fide JVA between TIM and Smarmatic. But does it necessarily follow that a pilot test is absolutely not contemplated in the law? We repair to the statutory provision petitioners cited as requiring a pilot run. 6 of RA 8436. On the contrary.) RA 9369.Petitioners’ beef against the TIM-Smartmatic JVA is untenable. petitioners would subsequently add the abdication angle in their bid to nullify the automation contract. there is no requirement under either RA 8436. as amended. be it paper-based or direct-recording electronic. manufacturers or distributors involved in the transaction should be part of the joint venture. x x x is hereby authorized to use an automated election system or systems in the same election in different provinces. counting of votes and canvassing/consolidation and transmittal of results of electoral exercises: Provided. referring to Sec. What is more. This brings us to the twin technical issues tendered herein bearing on the PCOS machines of Smartmatic. And as earlier narrated. Visayas. as amended by RA 9369. no pilot test of the PCOS technology Smartmatic-TIM offered has been undertaken. private respondents maintain that there is nothing in the applicable law requiring. among other things. To the petitioners. the [Comelec].

rent or other forms of acquisition. an authority for the proposition that the pilot testing of the PCOS in the 2007 national elections in the areas thus specified is an absolute must for the machines’ use in the 2010 national/local elections. as a matter of mandatory arrangement. the Commission is authorized to procure. phrased sansreference to the May 2007 elections. xxx. says so. 2(a) of RA 8436. implying in turn that the automated election system or technology that the Comelec shall adopt in future elections need not. 6 of RA 8436 may be broken into three essential parts. and such full automation is not conditioned on “pilot testing” in the May 2007 ele ctions. by purchase. to be more precise. the country would theoretically be barred forever from having full automation. commands thus: “[I]n succeeding regular national or local elections. in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. or a prerequisite for. if there was no political exercise in May 2007. from local or foreign sources xxx. the full automation of the May 2010 elections. an AES is not synonymous to and ought not to be confused with the PCOS.From the practical viewpoint. Procurement of Equipment and Materials . Congress merely gave COMELEC the flexibility to partially use the AES in some parts of the country for the [64] May 2007 elections. And as expressly declared by the provision. as couched. We reproduce with approval the following excerpts from the comment of the Senate itself: The plain wordings of RA 9369 (that amended RA 8436) commands that the 2010 elections shall be fully automated. lease. facilities. materials. however. with respect to the May 2007 elections. counting. For. as expressed in the provision itself. the [automated election system] shall be implemented. The Court can concede that said proviso. A construal making pilot testing of the AES a prerequisite or condition sine qua non to putting the system in operation in the 2010 elections is tantamount to reading into said section something beyond the clear intention of Congress. On the other hand. supplies. Visayas. Sec. the last part is indicative of the legislative intent for the May 2010 electoral exercise to be fully automated. however. in a limited area or. regardless of whether or not pilot testing was run in the 2007 polls. 6 of RA 8436 is not. the Court is inclined to agree with private respondents’ interpretation of the underscored portion in question: “The provision clearly conveys that the [AES] to be used in the 2010 elections need not have . SEC 12. and Mindanao to be chosen by the Comelec. as amended. Participation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall not be conclusive of the system’s fitness. The ensuing Section 8 of RA 8436. With respect to the May 10. Comelec shall use the AES. scheduled electoral exercise under harsh conditions would have been the ideal norm in computerized system implementation. Sec. To argue that pilot testing is a condition precedent to a full automation in 2010 would doubtless undermine the purpose of RA 9369. (Emphasis supplied). as aptly observed during the oral arguments. the system procured must have demonstrated capability and been successfully used in prior electoral exercise here or abroad. the first partaking of the nature of a general policy declaration: that Comelec is authorized to automate the entire elections. regardless of the technology to be selected. In this regard. and other services. unmistakably conveys the idea of unconditional full automation in the 2010 elections. therefore. consolidating. as amended.” what it really exacts is that. participation in the 2007 electoral exercise is not a guarantee nor is it conclusive of the system’s fitness. what may be taken as mandatory prerequisite for the full automation of the 2010 regular national/ local elections is that the system to be procured for that exercise be a technology tested either here or abroad. to undertake automation. equipment. be it viewed in the concept of a pilot test or not. defines an AES as “a system using appropriate technology which has been demonstrated in the voting.” Taken in its proper context. counting or canvassing technologies coming within the term AES. PCOS refers to a technology wherein an optical ballot scanner. Sec. But the bottom line is that the required 2007 automation. the PCOS or any AES to be procured must have demonstrated its capability and success in either a local or a foreign electoral exercise. into which optical scan paper ballots [65] marked by hand by the voter are inserted to be counted.” On the other hand. the last part. with an option. In perspective. for the automation of the May 2010 and subsequent elections. canvassing and transmission of election results. software.– To achieve the purpose of this Act. commands the Comelec to automate in at least 12 defined areas of the country. 6 of the amended RA 8436. The underscored proviso of Sec. The second part states that for the regular national and local elections that shall be held in May 2007. 2010 elections and succeeding electoral exercises. and other electoral processes . the pilot testing of the technology in question in an actual. Lest it be overlooked. While the underscored portion makes reference to a “2007 pilot exercise. be piloted in the adverted two highly urbanized cities and provinces. What may reasonably be deduced from these definitions is that PCOS is merely one of several automated voting. As may be noted. is not a mandatory requirement for the choice of system in.

said that “the system has been tried and tested in the ARMM elections last year. USA. the author of the law. orderly. the ballot boxes were brought to the counting centers where they were scanned. the conflicting views of the NCC and ITFP on the matter. Suffice it to state at this juncture [72] that the system used in the 2008 ARMM election exercise bears. a similarity with the PCOS. 9369 and other election laws incorporated in said Act as to ensure the conduct of a free. The commentin-intervention of the Senate says as much.301 billion to automate the 2010 elections. so we have to proceed with the total [69] implementation of the law. 2. The enactment of RA 9525 is to us a compelling indication that it was never Congress’ intent to make the pilot testing of a particular automated election system in the 2007 elections a condition precedent to its use or award of the 2010 Automation Project. a system which uses the Optical Mark Reader (OMR). xxx Under the PCOS. RA 9369 does not call for the winning bidder of the 2010 automation project and the deploying entity/provider in the foreign electoral exercise to be one and the same entity. subject to compliance with the transparency and accuracy requirements in selecting the relevant technology of the machines. Canada. The following. PCOS Meets Minimum Capabilities Standards As another ground for the nullification of the automation contract.” We note. it has been proposed that a partial automation be implemented for the May 2010 elections in accordance with Section 5 of RA 8436. and that the demonstration of its capability need not be in a previous Philippine election.– x x x Provided. is to us a fair description of how the two systems (PCOS and CCOS) work and where the difference lies: xxx the elections in the [ARMM] utilized the Counting Center Optical Scan (CCOS). the voters cast their votes by shading or marking the circles in the paper ballots which corresponded to the names of their chosen candidates [like in PCOS]. does not allow for partial automation. clean. the same technology as the PCOS. such as Ontario.been used in the 2007 elections. Under the CCOS. thus: Sec. petitioners posit the view that the PCOS machines do not satisfy the minimum system capabilities prescribed by RA 8436. and New York. The election results at the precincts are then electronically transmitted to the next level. Thereafter.” As determined by the Comelec. (Emphasis added. though. But then. [70] [71] Moreover. the PCOS system had been successfully deployed in previous [67] electoral exercises in foreign countries. in which Congress appropriated PhP 11. as petitioners to an extent grudgingly admit. To a specific point. they suggest that the PCOS system offered and accepted lacks the features that would assure accuracy in the .) It may safely be assumed that Congress approved the bill that eventually became RA 9525. three conflict-ridden island provinces––may be treated as substantial compliance with the “pilot test” requirement must be answered in the affirmative. and so on. albeit Smartmatic was not necessarily the system provider. Gordon himself. honest and credible election and shall adopt such measures that will guaranty transparency and accuracyin the selection of the relevant technology of the machines to be used on May 10. the counting. fully aware that the system using the PCOS machines were not piloted in the 2007 electoral exercise. Section 5. Demonstration of the success and capability of the PCOS may be in an electoral exercise in a foreign [66] jurisdiction. however. xxx PCOS dispenses with the physical transportation of ballot boxes from the precincts to the [73] counting centers. the highly charged issue of whether or not the 2008 ARMM elections ––covering. any lingering doubt on the issue of whether or not full automation of the 2010 regular elections can validly proceed without a pilot run of the AES should be put to rest with the enactment in March 2009 of RA [68] 9525. the provisions of [RA] No. At any event. In fact. Use of Funds. as NCC observed. No less than Senator Richard J. Further. The Court cannot agree as such proposition has no basis in law.” It behooves this Court to follow the letter and intent of the law for full automation in the May 2010 elections. Section 5 [74] clearly states that “the AES shall be implemented nationwide. Neither does the law incidentally require that the system be first used in an archipelagic country or with a topography or a voting population similar to or approximating that of the Philippines. That disbursement of the amounts herein appropriated or any part thereof shall be authorized only in strict compliance with the Constitution. as amended by RA 9369 instead of full automation. 2010 automated national and local elections. as worded. consolidation and canvassing of the votes are done at the precinct level. as amended. counted and canvassed. lifted from the Comelec’s comment.

based on Smartmatic’s website. 8608. reads: SEC. as well as in the tabulation.The automated election functional capabilities: system must at least have the following (a) Adequate security against unauthorized access.000 images files contained the images of the front . The evaluation system shall be developed with the assistance of an advisory council.99% [76] accuracy in the counting of votes. (j) Accurate ballot counters. A 30-inch ballot was used in this test. consolidation/canvassing. (f) System auditability which provides supporting documentation for verifying the correctness of reported election results.75 inches per second? Is the system able to capture and store in an encrypted format the digital images of the ballot for at least 2. the Court is fairly satisfied that the Comelec has adopted a rigid technical evaluation mechanism. 2009.000 ballots in encrypted format. (k) Data retention provision. Scanning the 30-inch ballot took 2. consolidation/canvassing. (b) Accuracy in recording and reading of votes as well as in the tabulation. as amended. 7 of RA 8436. as approved by Comelec Res. (e) Provision for voter verified paper audit trail.11inches per second.000 ballot sides (1. (a) Provide the voter a system of verification to find out whether or not the machine has registered his choice. to ensure compliance with the above minimum systems capabilities. 6. Sec. In the procurement of this system. categorically stated that the SBAC-TWG submitted its report that TIM/Smartmatic’s proposed systems and machines PASSED all the end -to-end demo tests using the aforementioned 26-item criteria. and (o) Configure access control for sensitive system data and function. a set of 26-item/check list criteria.7 seconds. and storage of results. The proposed PCOS machine accepted the test ballots which were manually fed one at a time.recording and reading of votes. As appearing in the SBAC-TWG report. 7 of RA 8436. the corresponding answers/remarks to each of the 26 individual items are as [79] herein indicated: [77] [78] ITEM REQUIREMENT REMARK/DESCRIPTION 1 Does the system allow manual feeding of a ballot into the PCOS machine? Does the system scan a ballot sheet at the speed of at least 2. (g) An election management system for preparing ballots and programs for use in the casting and counting of votes and to consolidate. referendum or plebiscite. (h) Accessibility to illiterates and disabled voters.000 2 3 Yes. The minimum system capabilities provision cited is Sec. From the records before us. In full. (i) Vote tabulating program for election. Minimum System Capabilities. (c) Error recovery in case of non-catastrophic failure of device. Yes. the PCOS has a margin of error of from 2% to 10%. way beyond that of the required 99. (d) System integrity which ensures physical stability and functioning of the vote recording and counting process. The SBAC Memorandum of June 03. and the missing features referred to by petitioners are pars. electronic transmission. Yes the system captured the images of the 1. report and display election result in the shortest time possible. Each of the 1. electronic transmission. as will be enumerated shortly. [75] storage results and accurate ballot counting. storing and archiving of physical or paper resource used in the election process. . (b) and (j). the Commission shall develop and adopt an evaluation system to ascertain that the above minimum system capabilities are met. which translated to 11. inclusive of the accuracy rating test of at least 99. (l) Provide for the safekeeping. petitioners allege that. In this particular regard. as amended. (m) Utilize or generate official ballots as herein defined.955%.

exceeding the required 4-bit/16 levels of gray as specified in the Bid Bulletin No. 625 ballots with 32 marks each were used for this test. Yes. The sample image showed 200 dpi. · on other instructions and information to the voter/operator. if a ballot is being processed. Yes. or when there was a ballot jam error. Yes. The proposed PCOS is a fully integrated single device. File properties of the decrypted image file also revealed 200 dpi. 20 of which were required. Yes. with only one (1) allowable reading error. Yes. The PCOS showed error messages on its screen whenever a ballot is rejected by the machine and gives instructions to the voter on what to do next. The same were found to be digitized representations of the ballots cast. but not limited to. totaling to 2. including. the use of error prompts and other related instructions? Does the system count the voter’s vote as marked on the ballot with an accuracy rating of at least 99. decrypted copies of the encrypted files were also provided. Yes. The system required the use of a security key with different sets of passwords/PINs for Administrator and Operator users.000 marks were required to complete this test. which also yielded 100% accuracy. During the comparison of the PCOSgenerated results with the manually prepared/predetermined results. This test made use of one (1) photocopied ballot and one (1) “re-created” ballot. The PCOS machine makes use of an LCD display to show information: if a ballot may be inserted into the machine.000 ballot side. Yes. 30 shades of gray were scanned in the test PCOS machine.000-mark was not met thereby requiring the test to be repeated. 20. To verify the captured ballot images. such as. To prepare for other possible missed out marks. 4 of Component 1-B? Does the system have a scanning resolution of at least 200 dpi? 5 6 Does the system scan in grayscale? 7 8 Does the system require authorization and authentication of all operators.800 marks) were used for the next round of test. the 20. Both were 4 Is the system a fully integrated single device as described in item no. usernames and passwords. it was found out that there were seven (7) marks which were inadvertently missed out during ballot preparation by the TWG. Yes. Although the PCOSgenerated results turned out to be 100% accurate. with built-in printer and built-in data communications ports (Ethernet and USB). 19. The two rounds of tests were conducted for this test using only valid marks/shades on the ballots. but not limited to. and previously scanned ballots? . if a ballot is being rejected.650 ballots with (20. A portion of a filled up marked oval was blown up using image editor software to reveal the number of dots per inch. with multiple user access levels? Does the system have an electronic display? 9 Does the system employ error handling procedures.995%? 10 11 Does the system detect and reject fake or spurious.ballots. with back to back printing)? and back sides of the ballot.

The other showed 609 pre-printed candidate names. Arial Narrow. bottom half shade. 11). upside down or right side up). 10). The system was able to recognize if the security features on the ballot are “missing”. Yes. was used for this test. 11 was not able to replicate the UV ink pattern on top portion of the ballot causing the rejection of the ballot. The first showed 108 pre-printed candidate names for the fourteen (14) contests/positions. Four (4) test ballots were used with one (1) mark each per ballot showing the following pencil marks: top half shade. in addition to other mandatory information required by law? 16 17 Does the system recognize full shade marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? Does the system recognize partial shade marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? 18 Does the system recognize check (ü)marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? . The ballots used for the accuracy test (Item No. Yes. Yes. left half shade. Four (4) ballots with valid marks were fed into the PCOS machine in the four (4) portrait orientations specified in Bid Bulletin No. three (3) test ballots with tampered bar codes and timing marks were used and were all rejected by the PCOS machine. One (1) test ballot with one check (ü) mark. to be provided on the ballot. Yes. This type of test ballot was also used for test voting by the public. 2. were also used in this test and were accurately recognized by the PCOS machine. color shifting ink. 4 (either back or front. and right half shade These partial shade marks were all recognized by the PCOS machine Yes. The 30-inch ballot. which made use of full shade marks. Yes.5 inches wide. was used in the printing of the candidate names. The Two sample test ballots of different lengths were provided: one (1) was 14 inches long while the other was 30 inches long. including members of the media. the use of bar codes. holograms. also for fourteen (14) positions including three (3) survey questions. 14 Are the names of the candidates pre-printed on the ballot? 15 Does each side of the ballot sheet accommodate at least 300 names of candidates with a minimum font size of 10.12 Does the system scan both sides of a ballot and in any orientation in one pass? 13 Does the system have necessary safeguards to determine the authenticity of a ballot. and all were accurately captured. such as. but not limited to. The total pre-printed names on the ballot totaled 609. Yes. contained 309 names for the national positions and 300 names for local positions. micro printing. Both were 8. using a pencil. The photocopied ballot in the test for Item No. which was used to test Item No. and a plebiscite question. Aside from the test on the fake or spurious ballots (Item No. font size 10. including two (2) survey questions on gender and age group. which can be recognized by the system? rejected by the PCOS.

does the system have error recovery features? 22 Does the system have transmission and consolidation/canvassing capabilities? Does the system generate a backup copy of the generated reports. A separate ballot with one (1) pencil mark was also tested. likening the situation to incorrect wiring of a car battery. Yes. voting counting. 4. The following day. The rd “hanging” 3 ballot was returned to the operator and was able to be re-fed into the PCOS machine. One (1) test ballot with one x mark. 10) were marked using the proposed marking pen by the bidder. An end-to-end demonstration of all proposed systems was presented covering: importing of election data into the EMS. consolidation/canvassing and transmission? Yes. was used for this test. 18 and 19 were made using pencil marks on the ballots. The power cord was pulled from the PCOS while the rd 3 ballot was in the middle of the scanning procedure. This was explained by TIM-Smartmatic to be caused by non-compatible wiring of the battery to the PCOS. The marks on all five (5) were all accurately recognized. 2. using a pencil. the tests for Items No. Yes. A 12 bolt 18AH battery lead acid was used in this test. Two (2) COMELEC electricians were called to confirm TIM-Smartmatic’s explanation. Yes. creation of election configuration data for the PCOS and . The PCOS was able to transmit to the CCS during the end-to-end demonstration using GLOBE prepaid Internet kit. The ER. The PCOS prints reports via its built-in printer which includes: 1. Initialization Report. ballot images. as generated by the PCOS was compared with predetermined result. PCOS Statistical Report. 17. 20 21 In a simulation of a system shut down.19 Does the system recognize x marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? Does the system recognize both pencil and ink marks on the ballot? The mark was recognized successfully. The PCOS saves a backup copy of the ERs. Yes. which will enable it to fully operate for at least 12 hours? 23 24 25 Is the system capable of generating and printing reports? 26 Did the bidder successfully demonstrateEMS. Election Returns (ER). Yes. The initial test had to be repeated due to a short circuit. the PCOS machine was able to restart successfully with notification to the operator that there were two (2) ballots already cast in the machine. Audit Log. After resumption of regular power supply. showed 100% accuracy. in a removable data storage device? Does the system have alternative power sources. A smaller wire than what is required was inadvertently used. Yes. The 1000 ballots used in the accuracy test (Item No. The PCOS machine was connected to regular power and started successfully. The mark was recognized successfully. Yes. after seven (7) hours from start-up without ballot scanning. such that it was left “hanging” in the ballot reader. Five (5) ballots were used in this test. 3. Moreover. the “re test” was completed in 12 hours and 40 minutes xxx 984 ballots were fed into the machine. This mark was also recognized by the PCOS machine. statistical report and audit log into a Compact Flash (CF) Card.

were done literally in the Palacio del Governador building. 3. a careful scrutiny of the old webpage of Smarmatic reveals that the 2% to 10% failure rate applied to “optical scanners” and not to SAES. etc. is no longer current. according to the petitioners. it may suffice to point out that PCOS. takes the demo-testing thus conducted by SBAC-TWG as a reflection of the capability [80] of the PCOS machines. generation of reports and backup using the PCOS. Art. more specifically are you saying that the main course of this lost of control is the fact that SMARTMATIC holds the public and private keys to the sanctity of this system? ATTY. the adjoining room a city. [2] by the provincial CCS from the city/municipal CCS. CHIEF JUSTICE: Well. the final test and sealing procedure of all PCOS and CCS units using the [81] actual Election Day machine configuration. Given the foregoing and absent empirical evidence to the contrary. On top of this perceived aberration. electronic transmission of results to the: [1] from the PCOS to city/municipal CCS and the central server. one that can be programmed or configured to display to the voter his votes as read [84] by the machine. as may be deduced from the ensuing exchanges. showing a 2% to 10% failing rate. if need be. lastly.” Moreover. the Court. supervision and control of the system to be used for the automated elections. they [83] would have readily seen that the advertised accuracy rating is over “99.the CCS using EMS. the mechanism of the PCOS machines would infringe the constitutional right of the people to the secrecy of the ballot which. creation of ballot faces using EMS. in violation of the Constitution. Perusing the RFP. the lab test. presuming regularity in the performance of regular duties. Yet the same page discloses that the SAES has “100%” accuracy. Moreover. petitioners would have the Comelec-Smartmatic-TIM Corporation automation contract nullified since. although the tests. it constitutes a wholesale abdication of the poll body’s constitutional mandate for election law enforcement. namely. receipt of the transmittal results by the central server from the PCOS. And how did petitioners come to their conclusion about their abdication theory? By acceding to Art. transmission test and. where a room therein simulated a town. [85] 2. being a paper-based technology. so petitioners claim.3 of the automation contract. No Abdication of Comelec’s Mandate and Responsibilty As a final main point. CHIEF JUSTICE: You are saying that SMARTMATIC and not its partner TIM who hold these public and private keys? [86] . to verify if the machine had scanned. arose from the fact that Comelec would not be holding possession of what in IT jargon are the public and private keys pair. Intervenor Cuadra’s concern relates to the auditability of the election results. ROQUE: Yes. initialization.99999%. To a more specific point. In this regard. recorded and counted his vote properly. operation. Clearly. V of the Constitution. [2] from the city/municipal CCS to the provincial CCS. orderly and honest electoral exercise. Apropos the counting-accuracy feature of the PCOS machines. the alleged 2% to 10% failing rate is n ow irrelevant and the Court need not belabor this and the equally irrelevant estoppel principle petitioners impose on us. the loss of control. as Comelec admits. Comelec relinquished. The first function of the Comelec under the Constitution ––and the Omnibus Election Code for that matter–– relates to the enforcement and administration of all laws and regulations relating to the conduct of elections to public office to ensure a free. configuring the PCOS and the CCS using the EMS-generated election configuration file. [3] from the provincial CCS to the national CCS. [3] by the national CCS from the provincial CCS. mock election test. field test. as well as the fact that they control the program embedded in the key cost that will read their votes by which the electorate may verify that their votes were counted. receipt and canvass of transmitted results: [1] by the city/municipal CCS from the PCOS. And if they bothered to examine the current website of Smartmatic specifically dealing with its SAES 1800. the PCOS system it offered. Your Honor. is provided in Sec. it should also be noted that the PCOS machine contains an LCD screen. The above contention is not well taken. however. the real worth of the PCOS system and the machines will of course come after they shall have been subjected to the gamut of acceptance tests expressly specified in the RFP. affords audit since the voter would be able. petitioners no less impliedly admit that the web page [82] they appended to their petition.

Insofar as pertinent. the court has to ferret out the real intent of the parties. as amended. to stress. It bears to stress that the aforesaid designation of Smartmatic was not plucked from thin air. xxxx (e) The JV member with a greater track record in automated elections. The petitioners. Part 5. as it was in fact an eligibility requirement imposed.” Complementing this RFP advisory as to control of the election process is Art. to support the simplistic conclusion of abdication of control pressed on the Court. In not so many words during the oral arguments and in their respective Memoranda. completion and final results according to specifications and within the specified periods shall be the shared responsibility of COMELEC and the PROVIDER. including transmission configuration and system integration And lest it be overlooked.7 of the automation contract. many of whom are already gainfully employed [89] [90] [91] abroad?” The Comelec. whence the second paragraph of aforequoted Art.3 came from. 3 and Sec. Your Honor. none really knows the real intention of the parties. consolidation and canvassing of votes shall be conducted by COMELEC’s personnel and officials.3 of the automation contract. 6. public respondent COMELEC shall partner with DOST and other agencies and instrumentalities of the government. the entire processes of voting. As case law tells us. transmission. The Court is not convinced. without more. public and private respondents categorically rejected outright allegations of abdication by the Comelec of its constitutional duty. in the implementation of the automated project. which forms an integral part of the automation contract. should the bidder be a joint venture. Not one participated in the bidding conference or the bidding proper or even perhaps examined the bidding documents and. are strangers to the automation contract. even if read separately from other stipulations and the provisions of the bid documents and the Constitution itself. It is a study of outsiders appearing to know more than the parties do. par. citing Sec. including transmission configuration and system integration.3 reads: 3. What is fairly clear in this case. aptly answered this poser in the following wise: x x x [P]ublic respondent COMELEC.) The proviso designating Smartmatic as the joint venture partner in charge of the technical aspect of the counting and canvassing wares does not to us translate. is that petitioners who are not even privy to the bidding process foist upon the Court their own view on the stipulations of the automation contract and present to the Court what they think are the parties’ true intention.4 A JV of two or more firms as partners shall comply with the following requirements. 3. as the joint venture partner with the greater track record in automated elections. (Emphasis added. Art 3.ATTY. The following is self-explanatory: [87] . to ensure effective and successful implementation of the [88] [automation] Project. Public respondent COMELEC will partner with Smartmatic TIM Corporation for the training and hiring of the IT personnel as well as for the massive voter-education campaign. SMARTMATIC. the RFP. reads: 5. has put all prospective bidders on notice of Comelec’s intent to automate and to accept bids that would meet several needs. 5 of RA 8436.counting. among which is “a complete solutions provider… which can provide… effective overall nationwide project management service… under COMELEC supervision and control.) But not one to let an opportunity to score points pass by. There is in fact a budget allocation x x x for these undertakings.7 Subject to the provisions of the General Instructions to be issued by the Commission En Banc. shall be in-charge of the technical aspects of the counting and canvassing software and hardware. however. x x x As regards the requirement of RA 9369 that IT-capable personnel shall be deputized as a member of the BEI and that another IT-capable person shall assist the BOC.3 The PROVIDER shall be liable for all its obligations under this Project and the performance of portions thereof by other persons or entities not parties to this Contract shall not relieve the PROVIDER of said obligations and concomitant liabilities. SMARTMATIC shall also be primarily responsible for preventing and troubleshooting technical problems that may arise during the elections. 5. therefore. (Emphasis added. will forge partnerships with various entities in different fields to bring about the success of the 2010 automated elections. providing: 6. ROQUE: Yes. There is to us nothing in Art 3.4 (e) of the Instruction to Bidders on the subject Eligible Bidders. petitioners rhetorically ask: “Where does Public Respondent Comelec intend to get this large number of professionals. but actually speculating what the parties intended. shall be in charge of the technical aspects of the counting and canvassing software and hardware. and their performance. to ceding control of the electoral process to Smartmatic.

appearing to hew as it does to what appear on the records. With the view we take of the automation contract. his answers had a qualifying tone: JUSTICE NACHURA: And can COMELEC under the contract not demand that it have access. your Honor. of the electoral process. Consider: Petitioners’ counsel was at the start cocksure about Smartmatic’s control of [93] these keys and. to be sure. such as but not limited to the PCOS machines. x x x Your Honor. with its control. ROQUE: I do not know if COMELEC will be in a position to generate these keys. the role of Smartmatic TIM Corporation is basically to supply the goods necessary for the automation project. the speculative nature of petitioners’ position as to who would h ave possession and control of the keys became apparent. CHIEF JUSTICE: Yes.T. ROQUE: That is true. and the technical services pertaining to . Nowhere in the RFP/TOR was it indicated that COMELEC would delegate to the winning bidder the full discretion.ROQUE: We have not had occasion to do so. but did you check with the COMELEC who will be holding these two keys x x x did you check with COMELEC whether this system is correct? ATTY. it was left to the discretion of the bidder to propose an acceptable manner of utilization for approval/acceptance of the Comelec. did you talk with the Chairman and Commissioners of COMELEC that they failed to perform this duty. does it have a monopoly of knowledge? The Court. both hardware and software. However. ROQUE: Your Honor. including the digital signatures. xxxx CHIEF JUSTICE: Why do you make that poor conclusion against the COMELEC x x x May not the COMELEC hire the services of experts in order for the institution to be able to discharge its constitutional functions? ATTY. The NCC wrote: The RFP/TOR used in the recent bidding for the AES to be used in the 2010 elections specifically mandated the use of public key cryptography. Just as they do on the issue of control over the electoral process. petitioners also anchor on speculative reasoning their claim that Smartmatic has possession and control over the public and private keys pair that will operate the PCOS machines. experts in the country before it made the bidding rules before it conducted the bidding and make the other policy judgments? ATTY. Your Honor. [94] And subsequently. xxx. I based it on the fact that it was the COMELEC in fact that entered into this contract …. Several questions later.CHIEF JUSTICE: Why did you say that it did not. PCs. The NCC comment on the matter deserves mention. CHIEF JUSTICE : Yes.T. supervision and control over the manner of PKI [Public Key Infrastructure] utilization. ROQUE : We did not confront. [95] CHIEF JUSTICE: But is that foundation the only expert. but x x x there is too much reliance on individuals who do not have the same kind of accountability as public officers x x x CHIEF JUSTICE: Are you saying that the COMELEC did not consult with available I. but my question is – did you confront the COMELEC officials that they forfeited their power of control in over our election process? [92] ATTY. what I am sure is that they did not confer with the I. they did not exercise this power of control? ATTY. We impugned their acts. that it be given access to and in fact generate its own keys independently with SMARTMATIC so that it would be COMELEC and not SMARTMATIC that would have full control of the technology insofar as the keys are concerned xxx? ATTY. electronic transmission devices and related equipment. Foundation x x x. ROQUE : Your Honor. recognizes the importance of the vote-security issue revolving around the issuance of the public and private keys pair to the Board of Election Inspectors.

should really be the least concern of the Comelec.) The Anti-Dummy Law has been enacted to limit the enjoyment of certain economic activities to Filipino citizens or corporations. Unlawful use. any decision on the part or on behalf of Smartmatic will not be binding on Comelec. the voter would be confronted with a “three feet” long ballot. materials. or association which. by purchase. the corporation and its operators would provide assistance with respect to the machines to be used by the Comelec which. The Anti-Dummy Law [97] pertinently states: Section 1. any citizen of the Philippines or of any other specific country who allows his name or citizenship to be used for the purpose of evading such provision. In all cases in which any constitutional or legal provision requires Philippine or any other specific citizenship as a requisite for the exercise or enjoyment of a right. the exercise or enjoyment of which is expressly reserved by the Constitution or the laws to citizens of the Philippines or of any other specific country. or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens . Accordingly. transfers or conveys said right. TIMSmartmatic joint venture. Any person. will always devise a way to do so. privilege. Exploitation or Enjoyment. goods and commodities to government-owned or controlled corporation. at the end of the day. And as demonstrated during the oral arguments. has Smartmatic. the contention that the PCOS would infringe on the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot because. franchise. As lessees of the goods and the back-up equipment. agency or municipal [98] . it must be established that there is a law limiting or reserving the enjoyment or exercise of a right. franchise or privilege. inclusive of the veto vote that one may have power over the other. or association not possessing the requisites prescribed by the Constitution or the laws of the Philippines. a right. a foreign corporation. the Commission is authorized to procure. SECTION 2. the joint venture partnership. As a necessary corollary. corporation. facilities. permits or allows the use. On the other hand. property or business to a person. the winning bidder. first. xxx SECTION 2-A. and any alien or foreigner profiting thereby. In the case at bench. privilege. (EO) 584. as amended. software. vests the Comelec with specific authority to acquire AES from foreign sources. shall be punished by imprisonment xxx and by a fine xxx. Sec. having in its name or under its control. xxx. given the RFP requirement of a joint venture bidder to be at least be 60% Filipino. Simulation of minimum capital stock – In all cases in which a constitutional or legal provision requires that a corporation or association may exercise or enjoy a right.– To achieve the purpose of this Act. if so minded to preserve the secrecy of his ballot. During the oral arguments. For liability for violation of the law to attach. Penalty. as [96] petitioners would put it. per the JVA of TIM and Smartmatic and the Articles of Incorporation of Smartmatic TIM Corporation. 8 of RA 8436. corporation. does not commend itself for concurrence. the notion of a possible violation of the Anti-Dummy Law cropped up. Series of 2006. thus: SEC 12. the Court is not aware of any constitutional or statutory provision classifying as a nationalized activity the lease or provision of goods and technical services for the automation of an election. By the same token. not less than a certain per centum of its capital must be owned by citizens of the Philippines or any other specific country. company. and other services. or leases.their operation. the board room voting arrangement that Smartmatic and TIM may have agreed upon as joint venture partners. privilege. or in any other way. purportedly limiting “contracts for the supply of materials. franchise. corporation or association not otherwise qualified under the Constitution xxx shall be punished by imprisonment xxx (Emphasis added. the voter himself will personally feed the ballot into the machine. franchise. and then in Smartmatic TIM Corporation. owning 40% of the equity in. will be conducting the election thru its personnel and whoever it deputizes.) Petitioners cite Executive Order No. equipment. Surely. property or business. it shall be unlawful to falsely simulate the existence of such minimum stock or capital as owned by such citizen for the purpose of evading such provision . or business to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations at least 60 per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens. exploitation or enjoyment thereof by a person. And if only to emphasize a point. (Emphasis added. A voter. Comelec’s contract is with Smartmatic TIM Corporation of which Smartmatic is a 40% minority owner. franchise or privilege. supplies. lease. Procurement of Equipment and Materials . rent or other forms of acquisition. Parenthetically. In fact. the Comelec can put up such infrastructure as to insure that the voter can write his preference in relative privacy. one with least regard for secrecy will likewise have a way to make his vote known. from local orforeign sources xxx.

Instead the votes cast appeared to have been stored in a memory card that was brought to a counting center at the end of the day. in fine. In the event item #2 occurs where the PCOS machines fail to print ERs. We do not quite see the governing relevance of EO 584. not the most appropriate technology for Philippine elections. And the worst fear exp ressed is that disaster is just waiting to happen. but fails to print election returns (ERs). if not available.000 PCOS machines. shall be used. The first relates to the Source [99] Code. a super computer would be required. In the event item #1 occurs. the paper ballots would still be there for the hand counting of the votes. enjoys primacy over the executive issuance. defined in RA 9369 as “human readable instructions that define what the computer equipment will do. if available. let alone ends up perfectly the first time around. manual tabulation and transmission of the ERs. Should all the PCOS machines in the entire municipality/city fail. candidates and the [100] citizens’ arms or their representatives. [101] after observing certain defined requirements. The PCOS machines are only online when they transmit the results. The continuity and back-up plans seek to address the following eventualities: (1) The PCOS fails to scan ballots. and/or (3) The PCOS prints but fails to transmit the ERs. A view has been advanced regarding the susceptibility of the AES to hacking. the Source Code was alleged to have been kept secret by the machine manufacture company.” even. USA in the Gore-Bush presidential contests. And should eventuality #3 transpire.000 units assigned to an equal number precincts throughout the country. Manual count tabulation and transmission. an analysis of post-election reports on the voting system thus used in the US during the period material and the AES to be utilized in the 2010 automation project seems to suggest stark differences between the two systems. The worst case scenario of course would be the wholesale breakdown of the 82. that PCOS would not work on election day. Noteworthy also is the fact that the memory card to be used during the elections is encrypted and read-only––meaning no illicit program can be executed or introduced into the memory card. thus keeping the American public in the dark as to how exactly the machines counted their votes. PCOS being a paper-ballot technology. will be brought in or. manual counting of the paper ballots and the manual accomplishment of ERs shall be [102] resorted to in accordance with Comelec promulgated rules on appreciation of automated ballots. However. the PCOS of another precinct (PCOS 2 for clarity). the PCOS machines found in the precincts will also be the same device that would tabulate and canvass the votes. whereas in the US precincts aforementioned. an agency or a municipal corporation contemplated in the executive order. Additionally. inserting transmission cable of functioning transmission line to PCOS-1 and transmitting stored data from PCOS-1 using functioning transmission facility. and “easily hackable. can be done. The first step is always difficult. Failure of elections consequent to voting machines failure would. a subsequent enactment and. be a very remote possibility. . This over-all fall-back strategy includes the provisions for 2. even in this most extreme case. he will in all likelihood find a glitch in any new system. For let alone the fact that RA 9369 is. may be availed of: bringing PCOS-1 to the nearest precinct or polling center which has a functioning transmission facility. If the machine fails for whatever reason. as earlier stated. the following back-up options. the machines in the precincts did not count the votes. the Comelec does fall under the category of a government-owned and controlled corporation. the use of spare PCOS and the transfer of PCOS-2 shall be effected. Nonetheless. with the AES. just like the voting machines used in certain precincts in Florida. The disruption of the election process due to machine breakdown or malfunction may be limited to a precinct only or could affect an entire municipal/city.000 spare PCOS machines on top of the 80. Manual counting of ERs shall be resorted to also if all PCOS fails in the entire municipality. (2) The PCOS scans the ballots. the hacking and cheating may have possibly occurred at the counting center.” The Source Code for the 2010 AES shall be available and opened for review by political parties. Therefore. the possibility of system hacking is very slim. And as indicated earlier. if one looks hard enough. among others. A final consideration. a spare PCOS. therefore. in relation to EO 584. in the AES. the joint venture provider has formulated and put in place a continuity and back-up plans that would address the understandable apprehension of a failure of elections in case the machines falter during the actual election. even though the AES has its flaws. It is no wonder some IT specialists and practitioners have considered the PCOS as unsafe. which would only take around one to two minutes. Hardly anything works. failure of all the machines would not necessarily translate into failure of elections. As has often been said.corporation” to corporations that are 60% Filipino. whereas in the US. Comelec and Smartmatic have seen to it that the system is wellprotected with sufficient security measures in order to ensure honest elections. As a result. And secondly. In order to hack the system during this tiny span of vulnerability.

The Comelec is an independent constitutional body with a distinct and pivotal role in our scheme of government. if not ambitious. Thus. a highly transparent public bidding exercise. the Court has steered away from interfering with the Co melec’s exercise of its power which. after its machine hurdled the end-to-end demonstration test. was eventually awarded the contract to undertake the automation project. violence. 2010. Time and experience are necessary to evolve patterns that will serve the ends of good government. This independent constitutional commission. and like irregularities would be the order of the moment on May 10. it should not be stymied with restrictions that would perhaps be justified in the [103] case of an organization of lesser responsibility. And after a hotly contested and. It would accordingly need the help of all advocates of orderly and honest elections. will not indulge in the presumption that nothing would go wrong. the instant petition is hereby DENIED. credibly. be used sparingly. consultations with CAC. the joint venture of a Filipino and foreign corporation won and. with a list of voluminous annexes embodying in specific detail the bidding rules and expectations from the bidders. Neither will it guarantee. therefore. possesses extraordinary powers and enjoys a considerable latitude in the discharge of its functions. first step. administrator and lead implementor of laws relative to the conduct of elections. RA 8436. as amended by RA 9369. the Court should refrain from utilizing the corrective hand ofcertiorari to review. this court should not interfere. is lifted from. but firmly in appropriate cases. but unless these are clearly illegal or constitute gross abuse of discretion. as it cannot guarantee. towards successful 2010 automation elections would certainly be rough and bumpy. as part of its mandate to ensure clean and peaceful elections.Congress has chosen the May 2010 elections to be the maiden run for full automation. That task belongs at the first instance to Comelec. while not on all fours with. VELASCO. honest and peaceful elections. and lessons learned from the ARMM 2008 automated elections. the enabling automation law. however. but the product of honest-to-goodness studies. Due regard to the independent character of the Commission x x x requires that the power of this court to review the acts of that [104] body should. x x x xxxx There are no ready-made formulas for solving public problems. the Court’s holding in an old but oft-cited case: x x x We may not agree fully with [the Comelec’s] choice of means. a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion on Comelec’s part. Like anyone else. This gem. to smoothen the way and assist Comelec personnel address the fears expressed about the integrity of the system. It started with the preparation of the RFP/TOR. And surely. The Comelec is laboring under very tight timelines. SO ORDERED. x x x we must not by any excessive zeal take away from the [Comelec] the initiative which by constitutional and legal mandates properly belongs to it. let alone nullify. and the terms and conditions of the corresponding automation contract in question to be valid. which petitioners invoked as an afterthought. and political questions must be dealt with realistically––not from the standpoint of pure theory [or speculation]. therefore. too often. WHEREFORE. as here. Assayed against the provisions of the Constitution. of all men and women of goodwill. the acts of that body. the winning joint venture should not be faulted for having a foreign company as partner. With the backing of Congress by way of budgetary support. the choice of PCOS by Comelec was not a spur-ofmoment affair. however. the Court would like and wish automated elections to succeed. JR. can be laid on the doorsteps of respondent Comelec. In the discharge of its awesome functions as overseer of fair elections. at least not before the courts. Comelec has to make decisions under difficult conditions to address unforeseen events to preserve the integrity of the election and in the process the voice of the people. the poll body has taken this historic. orderly. the Court finds the project award to have complied with legal prescriptions. In the matter of the administration of the laws relative to the conduct of elections. . that a successful automation election unmarred by fraud. Absent. the RFP and even the Anti-Dummy Law. the bona fides of the bidding procedures and the outcome of the bidding itself. xxx The Court. by most accounts. And judging from what the Court has heard and read in the course of these proceedings. it is true. The road. the effectiveness of the voting machines and the integrity of the counting and consolidation software embedded in them. PRESBITERO J. Not one of the losing or disqualified bidders questioned. by law and by the nature of its office properly pertain to it. No grave abuse of discretion. Politics is a practical matter. This is as it should be for. It should be afforded ample elbow room and enough wherewithal in devising means and initiatives that would enable it to accomplish the great objective for which it was created ––to promote free. in the past. as a general proposition.

. voter registration and validation system. and adopt new electoral forms and printing materials.... counting of votes and canvassing/consolidation and transmittal of results of electoral exercises. 2009 contract between public respondent COMELEC and private respondents for being contrary to the Constitution. Sulu. as provided in RA 8436. existence and eligibility of the alleged consortium as a bidder. amending RA 8436. it provided that with respect to the May 10.... Congress passed Republic Act No. On January 23. Vice President.. Congress passed Republic Act No.-x Separate concurring opinion of CJ Puno PUNO. the COMELEC adopted Resolution 02-0170. and established jurisprudence.: Prefatory Statement The broad power to determine whether there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess [1] of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government is exercised with full appreciation by the judiciary of the proper limits of its role in our tripartite form of government. 1995.. Prohibition and Mandamus to declare that public respondents Commission on Elections (COMELEC). petitioned this Court to declare null and void the award of the contract to the [3] MP Consortium... but neither do we permit the overarching use of judicial power as to amount to judicial tyranny. Since time immemorial. for the process of voting. 8436 (RA 8436).. senators and parties... We should take care that this expanded power is not used as a license for courts to intervene in cases involving matters of policy woven with constitutional and legal questions. C. courts have deferred to the wisdom or logic of legislative choices and technical determinations. devices and materials. Phase II. In Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines v.. It specified the modes of implementing the AES. It also mandated the poll body to acquire automated counting machines (ACMs).. Congress enacted Republic Act No. the system procured must have demonstrated capability and been [2] . committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it awarded the 2010 Automated Elections Project to private respondents Total Information Management..J. electronic transmission.. the AES shall be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and [4] two provinces each in Luzon.. this Court held that the contract was void for failure to establish the identity. computer equipment.... otherwise known as the “Election Modernization Act” authorizing COMELEC to use an AES for the process of voting. organizations or coalitions participating under the party-list system throughout the entire country.......... i. 8046 adopting an Automated Election System (AES) in the Philippines... the ACM’s failure to pass the tests of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). and Tawi-tawi due to lack of material time and funding. 2010 elections and succeeding electoral exercises. however. Petitioners ask the Court to strike down as null and void the July 10...Associate Justice x... 2002. But on October 29. The COMELEC awarded Phase II for the provision of the ACMs to the Mega Pacific Consortium (MP Consortium). 9369 (RA 9369). COMELEC .. which resolved to conduct biddings for the three phases of the AES: Phase I. It is as it should be. Maguindanao. we do not abdicate our fundamental responsibility in annulling an act of grave abuse of discretion in the guise of judicial restraint. Visayas and Mindanao... was not able to implement the AES for the positions of President. and Phase III. The COMELEC was not also able to implement an AES in the May 2001 elections due to time constraints... RA 8046 authorized COMELEC to conduct a nationwide demonstration of a computerized election system and allowed the poll body to pilot-test the system in the March 1996 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). On June 7. (Smartmatic)..e. The COMELEC. counting votes and canvassing or consolidating the results of the national and local elections. automated counting and canvassing system. A.. On December 22. Inc. Inc. 2007. In addition. statutes. The Case The petitioners brought this case for Certiorari... (TIM) and Smartmatic International. The Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP). and the COMELEC-Special Bids and Awards Committee (COMELEC-SBAC). It also provided that for the next election... 1997. and the ACM’s failure to meet the required accuracy rating as well as safeguards for the prevention of double counting of precinct results. By this paradigm. The automation was limited to the provinces of Lanao del Sur.. either paper-based or a direct recording electronic (DRE) system.. among others.

dated March 11. TIM and Smartmatic entered into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) to form the joint venture known as Smartmatic TIM Corporation. appropriating the sum of Eleven Billion Three Hundred One Million Seven Hundred Ninety Thousand Pesos (P11. the COMELEC-SBAC declared Indra Consortium and Smartmatic-TIM to have passed. technical support. 2010 elections. the AES was not implemented in the May 2007 elections due to lack of funds and time constraints. 2009. installation. The COMELEC-SBAC then proceeded with the opening of the financial proposals. 9525 (RA 9525) was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. with the following components: a. Upon motion for reconsideration of the suppliers. The COMELEC-SBAC noted that Smartmatic-TIM’s machines passed all the tests and systems evaluation with an accuracy rating of 100%. 2009. namely Indra Consortium. From March 13 to 16. the COMELEC issued the Terms of Reference/Request for Proposal for Solutions. 2010 Synchronized National and Local Elections (TOR/RFP). However.301. Republic Act No. where both DRE and the paper-based Central Count Optical Scan (CCOS) machines were used. as promulgated in COMELEC Resolution 8591. participation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall [5] not be conclusive of the system's fitness. 2009. the COMELEC published and posted an invitation for vendors to apply for eligibility and to bid for the procurement of counting machines. On March 5.484. Again. and financial requirements. 2009.790. On April 23. and to have passed all the eligibility. On March 23. seven suppliers submitted their formal bids. AMA-ESS and the Gilat Consortium. Election Management System (EMS) 1-B. 2009. Consolidated/Canvassing System (CCS) b. 2009. Precinct-Count Optical Scan (PCOS) System 1-C. the COMELEC-SBAC recommended to the COMELEC en banc the award of the Contract for the Provision of an Automated Election System for the May 10. pull-out.790. transmission and canvassing of votes for the May 10. three consortiums were reconsidered by the COMELEC-SBAC. The COMELEC-SBAC declared all the seven bidders ineligible for failure to comply with the pass/fail criteria of the COMELEC. Component 2: Provision for Electronic Transmission of Electronic Results using Public Telecommunications Networks Component 3: Overall Project Management [6] c. Terms & Conditions for the Automation of the May 10. technical. eleven prospective bidders obtained bid documents from the COMELEC for the automation of the 2010 elections. 2010 synchronized national and local elections. 2009. The Technical Working Group (TWG) evaluated and reviewed the financial proposals of Indra Consortium and Smartmatic-TIM. and overall project management to be used in the automation of the counting. transmission and canvassing of the votes for the May 10. warehousing.301. 2009. training. On May 4. 2010 Synchronized National and Local Elections (Automation Contract) to the joint venture of Smartmatic-TIM. Smartmatic-TIM was found to have the lowest calculated responsive bid (LCRB).00) for an AES to be used in the May 10.739. On March 27. The total bid of Smartmatic-TIM amounting to Seven Billion One Hundred Ninety-one Million Four Hundred Eighty-four Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty-nine and 48/100 Philippine pesos (P7. 2010 automated national and local elections. 2008 ARMM elections. But the AES was used in the August 11. Component 1: Paper-Based Automated Election System 1-A. RA 9525 was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appropriating P11. systems integration.48) was found by the COMELEC to be within the approved budget for the .191. After evaluation of their technical proposals. 2009. including the supply of ballot paper. SmartmaticTIM. the COMELEC conducted a Pre-Bid Conference for the automation of the counting. 2009. On March 19.000.000.successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad. deployment.00 as supplemental appropriation for an automated elections system and other purposes. On June 3. This finding was verified and validated in the post-qualification proceedings. On March 18. electronic transmission services using public telecommunications networks.

the COMELEC en banc promulgated Resolution No. It decided to put an end to the manual conduct of our elections that has frustrated the honest casting of votes by our sovereign people. the COMELEC awarded the contract to Smartmatic-TIM to supply 82. as amended. as amended by RA 9369. Whether RA 9525 has impliedly repealed the pilot testing requirement. On June 9. 2009. 4. the Smartmatic TIM Corporation entered into the Automation Contract with the COMELEC.00).618. counting of votes and [10] canvassing/consolidation of results of the national and local elections. The Advisory Council has the mandate to participate as non-voting members of the COMELEC-SBAC in the conduct of the bidding process for the AES. Smartmatic and TIM did not take place. . pursuant to the JVA. 2009. The petition at bar raises the following -B. Following a series of discussions.contract of Eleven Billion Two Hundred Twenty-three Million Six Hundred Eighteen Thousand Four Hundred and [7] 0/100 Philippine pesos (P11. 2009. and RA 9369. as amended.000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the 2010 elections. Smartmatic and TIM were able to settle their internal dispute. Discussion A touchstone of our Constitution is that critical public policy judgments belong to the legislative branch. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) representative likewise submitted a report. C. On June 8. which had previously created Task Force [9] “Poll Automation”. submitted its “Process Audit Observation Report.400. which concurred with the final report of the COMELEC-SBAC. confirming Smartmatic-TIM as the bidder with the LCRB and awarding the contract for the automation of the elections on May 10. and the Court must not unduly intrude into this exclusive domain. the COMELEC Advisory Council submitted its observations on the procurement proceedings of the SBAC. with the conclusion that these were transparent and in conformity with the law and the TOR/RFP. Smartmatic and TIM then caused the incorporation of their joint venture. 3. On June 10. On July 8.” The Ombudsman Task Force also found the above proceedings and systems to be consonant with the Constitution.739. Whether any nationality requirement is applicable. [8] 2. the Office of the Ombudsman.484. procurement laws. On July 10. Subsequently. 8608. 6.48. informed COMELEC Chairperson Jose Melo that TIM was withdrawing from the partnership with Smartmatic. 2009. 5. Issues 1. Whether RA 8436.223.191. 2009 of the Automation Contract between COMELEC. It noted that Smartmatic-TIM had a 100% accuracy rating. The contract price was P7. June 8. The scheduled signing on June 30. Whether Smartmatic and TIM entered into a valid joint venture agreement. the President of TIM. Jose Mari Antuñez. 1997. due to irreconcilable differences and loss of confidence. In enacting RA 8436 (Election Modernization Act) on December 22. 2009. the legislature has clearly chosen the policy that an AES shall be used by the COMELEC for the process of voting. On the same date. Whether the AES chosen by the COMELEC complies with the “prior successful use” qualification set forth in Section 12 of RA 8436. requires the conduct of a pilot exercise as a condition precedent to the full nationwide automation of the election. 2010 to the joint venture. 2009. Whether the PCOS machines offered by the Smartmatic-TIM Consortium satisfy the minimum system capabilities mandated by Section 6 of RA 8436. the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a Certificate of Incorporation to Smartmatic TIM Corporation.

they arrive at different conclusions. c. in which petitioners and respondents assign meaning to certain words as though they were deciphering images formed by inkblots. The words provided. It is the manner the COMELEC is implementing the AES that is assailed by the petitioners. A rational reading of the entire provision will show that the different parts isolated and then interpreted by the respondents are connected by the conjunctions provided. the petitioners interpret the word shall in the first proviso of Section 5. which states that “in succeeding regular national or local elections. Visayas and Mindanao refers only to the national and local elections immediately following the passage of RA 9369.1 The conduct of the pilot exercise of the AES is a condition precedent to its nationwide implementation Whether the conduct of the pilot exercise of the AES is a condition precedent to its nationwide implementation involves the correct interpretation of Section 5 of RA 8436. They argue that this was just an acknowledgment by Congress that there was not enough time or funds to conduct a full nationwide automation of the May 2007 election. thatand provided.e. is hereby authorized to use an automated election system or systems in the same election in different provinces. Visayas and Mindanao. Using the same word of the law. Part 3: That local government units whose officials have been the subject of administrative charges within sixteen (16) months prior to the May 14. These conjunctions signify that the clauses that follow the conjunction are a pre-requisite or a condition to the fulfillment of the previous clause.” “in order that. 2007 elections shall not be chosen: Provided finally. which shall be held immediately after the effectivity of this Act. the provision should be read and understood as follows: Part 1: To carry out the above-stated policy.” and submit that the pilot exercise of the AES is not a condition precedent. to be chosen by the Commission: Provided. the Commission on Elections. the respondents interpret the word shall in the last sentence of the provision. they contend that the use of the AES in at least two provinces and two highly urbanized cities each in Luzon. RA 8436. i.In the pursuit of its objective. further. further that and provided. Thus. is nothing less than a brain twister. The first issue is whether the conduct of an AES in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. That Part 2: for the regular national and local elections. [13] counting of votes and canvassing/consolidation and transmittal of results of electoral exercises: Provided. . the [automated election system] shall be implemented [12] nationwide. Visayas and Mindanao is a condition precedent to the nationwide implementation of the AES. The respondents’ reading of Section 5 disregards the tenor of the entire provision.. The interpretation of Section 5. Further. herein referred to as the Commission. The policy decision of Congress to adopt an AES is not under question. The proviso states that “the [automated election system] shall be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces [11] each in Luzon. the May 2007 national and local elections. whether paper-based or a direct recording electronic election system as it may deem appropriate and practical for the process of voting. RA 8436. to support their thesis that the pilot exercise of the AES is a condition precedent prior to its full implementation. Visayas and Mindanao. It further determined the minimum functional capabilities of the system and delegated to the COMELEC the development and adoption of a system of evaluation to ascertain that the minimum system capabilities would be met. that mean the same as “as long as. as amended. the AES shall be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. finally that.” Similarly.” and “if only. as amended. It appears like a Rorschach inkblot test. the legislature defined what it considered an AES and provided the standards for its implementation.” Thus.

Visayas and Mindanao is highlighted by the use of the word shall. equipment.Part 4: That no area shall be chosen without the consent of the Sanggunian of the local government unit concerned. Thus. In fine. (2) that local government units whose officials have been the subject of administrative charges within sixteen months prior to the May 14. the AES shall be implemented nationwide. after which. The section says in unadorned language that as long as the system procured – presumably for the May 2007 elections – has been shown to have demonstrated capability and has been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here in the Philippines or abroad. 12. the subject of the section is the fitness of the system procured for the May 2007 automated pilot exercise. software. With respect to the May 10. by purchase. as amended. the respondents rely on Section 12 of RA 8436. the word “pilot testing” may not have been used in the provision. lease. Part 5: In succeeding regular national or local elections. subject to accounting and auditing rules and regulations. 2010 elections and succeeding electoral exercises. since the system’s cap ability may have been used in an electoral exercise abroad. the AES shall be [14] implemented nationwide. The deliberations of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on [the] Automated Election System (Joint [15] Committee on AES) should further enlighten us on the purpose of the last sentence in Section 12 of RA 8436. as amended: that “[p]articipation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall not be conclusive of the system's fitness. materials.(Emphasis supplied) The respondents press the point that Section 12. The term local government unit as used in this provision shall refer to a highly urbanized city or province. With due respect. Likewise. nor is it a prerequisite for the full automation of the May 2010 elections. from local or foreign sources free from taxes and import duties. Section 5 expressly declares that the COMELEC's authority to use the AES on a nationwide scale is contingent on the prior conduct of partial automation in two provinces and two highly urbanized cities each in Luzon. – To achieve the purpose of this Act. supplies. the AES shall be implemented nationwide in succeeding regular national and local elections. The last sentence of the provision which provides that “[i]n succeeding regular national or local elections. which shall be held immediately after the effectivity of the Act. Visayas and Mindanao. the respondents have a murky understanding of the last sentence of Section 12. Visayas and Mindanao.” It does not say that participation of the procured system in the 2007 pilot exercise is not a condition precedent to the full nationwide implementation of the AES. and (3) that no area shall be chosen without the consent of the Sanggunian of the local government unit concerned. supra. The mandatory nature of the initial conduct of an automated election in two provinces and two highly urbanized cities each in Luzon. Respondents also contend that since participation in the 2007 pilot exercise is expressly declared as inconclusive of the system’s fitness. Section 5 should be interpreted to mean that the COMELEC is authorized to use an AES as long as the following requisites are complied with: (1) for the regular national and local elections. in accordance with existing laws. It merely states that “[p]articipation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall not be conclusive of the system's fitness. the system may also be used in the May 2010 and succeeding elections. then the non -use of the PCOS machines in the 2007 electoral exercise is not a bar to the implementation of a full nationwide automation in the 2010 elections. the AES shall be used in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. But this does not mean that it can be read in isolation and independently from the rest of the provision. that.” They reveal . Pushing to the limit their argument that pilot testing is not a condition precedent to the conduct of an AES. the system procured must have demonstrated capability and been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad. the Commission is authorized to procure. it has no relation to the issue of whether the pilot exercise is a condition precedent to the implementation of full nationwide automated elections. in the following regular national and local elections. but the intent to test the use of an AES is evident in its text. the COMELEC is authorized to use an AES. That this is a condition precedent before a full nationwide automated election can be used in the succeeding elections is buttressed by the use of the words provided. Visayas and Mindanao. facilities and other services. Procurement of Equipment and Materials. And. which provides thus: SEC. In this light. Participation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall not be conclusive of the system's fitness. the AES shall be implemented nationwide” may appear as not connected to the enumeration of requirements for the use of an AES. 2007 elections shall not be chosen. rent or other forms of acquisition. when the above conditions are complied with. indicates that pilot testing in the May 2007 elections is not a mandatory requirement for the choice of an AES to be used in the May 2010 elections. provided that the AES is first used in two provinces and two highly urbanized cities each in Luzon.

The amendment is as follows: Section 5. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. “Hey.” so that in case the AES to be used in the 2007 elections did not well perform as planned. of course. I think the purpose of this was any bidder who can prove and who has already carried out an electoral exercise. LOCSIN). I won the pilot therefore you have to give me the national election. Mr. This intent is reflected in the debate between Senator Richard J. the Commission on Elections. so as not to confuse those who are following the language. A company may have had many exercises in Latin America but for this particular exercise they may not be prepared to deploy the best then we just forget it. still. This was also to emphasize that those who participated in the pilot exercise were not to be preferred over those who were not able to participate in the pilot exercise.that the purpose is simply to avoid a situation in which the choices of machines and the kind of AES to be used in the 2010 elections would be limited to those that were piloted in the 2007 elections. Congress would decide whether the AES – as a mode of conducting elections – should still be used for the successive elections.) Representative Locsin elucidated that participation in the pilot-exercise was not conclusive of the system’s fitness.” so that after a “test” of the AES in the 2 007 elections. Gordon (Senator Gordon) and Senator Manuel A. Thus: THE CHAIRMAN (REP. Again. “Pilot-exercise” was used in the law instead of “pilot test” to avoid the notion that a test must first be passed in the 2007 elections in order to continue with the use of the AES as a mode of conducting the succeeding elections. Representative Teodoro Locsin concurred in the same view. Congress would know whether the implementation of the 2007 national and local AES was successful. this submission is not sustained by the deliberations of the Senate. Your (sic) have the discretion to decide whether or not they have the capability. (Emphasis supplied. if I may ‘no. The proposed amendment reads: . – To carry out the above-stated policy. President. proposed by the latter. Authority to Use an Automated Election System. This is clear from the following exchange of remarks between Senator Roxas and Senator Gordon: SENATOR ROXAS.sure. GORDON). everyone is entitled to put their bid. (capitalization in the original. I will deliberately not read the word “test” subject to whatever happens to that word in subsequent debate and dialogue. Thus. (Emphasis supplied. It was only meant to say our fear is that somebody may be so good in the pilot but then he’ll say. as I said earlier. Senator Roxas proposed to add the words “on a test basis” to refer to the use of an AES. The lawmakers wanted to avoid the use of the word “test. Although this is a detail. Thus: THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. I think you are just doing your best that you just read what it says. Roxas II (Senator Roxas) over an amendment to Section 5 of RA 8436. because pilots were easier to do than national exercises. Again. Precisely that was placed there so that you can get newly discovered machines or newly invented machines that can be utilized so that in the 2010 elections it would have been tried in an example here in our country. I think. even though it was not tested in the 2007 pilot exercise. the automation of the elections in the next elections would proceed.” that does not mean to exclude anyone who did not participate in 2007. Senator Richard Gordon explained that the purpose behind the statement that participation in the 2007 pilot exercises was not conclusive of the system’s fitness was to ensure that newly developed technology may still be considered for the 2010 elections. LOCSIN). herein referred to as the COMELEC is hereby authorized to use ON [18] A TEST BASIS AN automated election system x x x.) Senator Roxas wanted to use the word “test.” They claim that the use of the word “pilot exercise” instead of “pilot testing” is indicative of the intention to only initially use or employ the AES in the 2007 elections rather than make it a condition precedent.” That’s all it meant because pilots are always easier to do than national [17] exercises. In any event. Thereafter.) The respondents also have an erroneous reading of the use of the word “pilot exercise” instead of “pilot testing. he has a leg up of all other but that’s not conclusive which assumes that others who have not the same [16] experience will be allowed to also bid. I would like now to go to line 18 and read into the Record the proposed amendment. But when it says “participation in 2007 pilot exercise shall not be conclusive. It simply says that.

the Comelec which is the agency. we will now go back and decide whether we are still on an automated election mode and say we might be going back to manual. President. --“before the implementation of AES technology shall be decided upon by Congress. Mr. President. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Capiz. first. and I know he has already stated what word to use.” This very line suggests and clearly states that: “Hey. along with the oversight committee. But we should not say after the exercise. x x x We have debated on the automated. Maybe we are not in automation mode again. If Congress sees it fit. THROUGH A JOINT RESOLOUTION. we passed this on the past period of debate . we are practically saying: “Well. THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SHALL CONDUCT COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION PERFORMANCE OF SAID AES OR AES TECHNOLOGY DURING INITIAL IMPLEMENTATION OF RESULTS WITH MANUAL TABULATION. they can amend it. if we feel that we no longer want to have an automated election system. that has been mandated by the Constitution to run our elections simply goes on and says: “All right. President. if I may use a word I learned in school a long time ago.” What our bill provides is that we are already on this heuristic notion. FOR THIS PURPOSE. But if Congress sees it fit. Which means that after the Automated Election System. we may be changing our mind. I am concerned about “shall be decided upon by Congress through a joint resolution. It can amend the law if it chooses to do so. Mr. Congress cannot at anytime say: “No. IN CASE OF FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION AND THE INCREMENTAL COVERAGE BY ALL AES SHALL NOT BE MORE THAN TEN PERCENT (10%) OF THE TOTAL COVERAGE IN TERMS OF NUMBER OF DISTRICTS. we are no longer in that mode. after the election has been conducted. The mother bill that we are amending which is enacted in 1987 decided a policy that we are going to go on an automated election. Mr.” And. it is going to go back to Congress. because he speaks of a test. but I also would like to maintain that this is not a test. if we follow the logic here. But as far as I am concerned. the words to be used should be: The Automated Election System will be implemented in the province he has already spoken about. which is a trajectory that is headed towards a particular direction aimed at modernizing the election by way of AES. It can amend even without these lines. But. as I pointed out. xxxx SENATOR GORDON. President. There will be a series of advisory or a number of advisory and TAHEC bodies that will hopefully inform that decision. whether we like it or not. from a comprehensive perspective seeks to revert back to Congress the judgment whether the implementation of the AES in 2007 national and local elections was successful or not. which I think cannot even be done because Congress amends even without this suggestion. there is no need to go back to Congress. Mr. UPON RECOMMENDATION OF THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.” Mr. That is the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment. --before the implementation of an AES. we are leaving to the Comelec the decision to choose the appropriate technology that will be implemented. we will expand upon the recommendation of the AES. I know he tried to amend this with sincerity. As envisaged in the bill. in fact. I think the rule should be that we are on an automated election mode and we are on an automated election more and we should continue on with it.” Now. And we have put in the safeguards the minimum requirements and by so doing. In other words. I am removing the word “test”. that line speaks volumes. I think the rule should be that we are on an automated rule should be that we are on an automated election mode and we should not say continue on with it. we are not obviating that possibility. upon the other hand. if that is the case. As I pointed out. first and foremost.” referring to line 18.THE FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF AN AES OR AES TECHNOLOGY SHALL BE DECIDED UPON BY CONGRESS. IT SHALL THEN MAKE APPROPRIATE RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONGRESS ON WHETHER ANY FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION SHALL BE CONDUCTED OR OTHERWISE. But as far as I am concerned. President. parang lumalabas na test. through a joint resolution.

” The implementation of the system must be done in phases: first. The respondents also rely on the deliberations of the Senate and the House of Representatives to support their thesis. it must be piloted in parts of the Philippines. has been impliedly repealed by the enactment of a later [24] law. President. Mr.301. based on the Oversight Committee and based on the Congress itself. it is clear that an AES shall be conducted. which requires that a piloting of the AES be used in at least two provinces and two highly urbanized cities each in Luzon. Visayas and Mindanao. the sample is only two provinces and two cities. both from the words of RA 8436. it is within its prerogative anyway at any time. the enactment of RA 9525 has impliedly repealed the Pilot Exercise Requirement In a shift in stance. Visayas and Mindanao. x x x We trust the Comelec but we verify the system because we are hamstrung by the constitutional provision that the Comelec is the one that is principally in charge of running the elections. and despite this failure. By the enactment of the P11. [21] composed of our experts. They argue that when RA 9525 was enacted on March 5.) Senator Roxas’ amendment which contained the word “test. Congress was aware that there was no pilot exercise conducted in two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon. this is precisely why we are starting the automation in two provinces and two cities so that we do not take a big bite right away. Visayas and Mindanao will be the initial approach towards this effort. Congress still appropriated the entire amount of P11. xxxx Mr. provided that it is initially piloted in two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon.00 supplemental appropriation. [19] capitalization in the original. .301. so that we would [22] be able to get a gauge. President. And I accepted the amendment of the Minority Leader precisely because we want to make sure that the bite is sufficiently enough for us to be able to run the automation. it was because the use of the word “test” would have implied that Congress would still have to decide whether the conduct of the AES had passed its requirements.00 for the conduct of an AES in the May 10. (Emphasis supplied) xxxx Now.” the conduct of the elections should revert to manual. They proffer the view that RA 9525. Senator Gordon further made it clear that the reason why the AES should first be implemented in certain parts of the country – and not immediately throughout the entire country – was that “a big bite must not be taken right [20] away.” was rejected.00 for the full nationwide implementation of the AES in the May 2010 elections. The reason is not because the partial use of the AES in the 2007 election was not considered as a condition precedent to its full implementation in the 2010 elections.790. the two provinces and two cities for Luzon. but at the same time.790. is for the full implementation of automated elections in 2010.2 Be that as it may. and only then can it be implemented nationwide. it is argued by the respondents that RA 8436. or whether. whether an AES should still be continued in the succeeding elections. we have an Advisory Council. [23] (Emphasis supplied) In sum.790. to guide them. This is reflected in the following statement of Senator Gordon: SENATOR GORDON. 2010. if we want to amend it again. 2009.301. and that the COMELEC is authorized to implement the AES. RA 9525.000. based on the “test. obviously. appropriating P11. So that when we go and expand in the next elections in 2010. we can do so.000. as amended by RA 9369. x x x (Emphasis supplied) x x x So. the respondents claim that Congress conveyed the intention to proceed with full nationwide automation and do away with the requirement of conducting a pilot exercise.and we have already decided that we are continuing with the trajectory of automated election. Visayas and Mindanao before a full nationwide automation of the elections can be conducted. “We are changing his (sic) mind. (Emphasis supplied. c. Rather.000. and its legislative intent. I would not want to go back again to a situation where Congress will say. it is really an automated system that we advocate and.” Although.

9498. more or less.The amounts herein appropriated shall be used for the purposes indicated and subject to: (i) the relevant special and general provisions of Republic Act No. (Emphasis supplied. They further emphasize that Section 2 states that the disbursement of the amount appropriated or any part thereof shall be done only in strict compliance with the Constitution. RA 9525 is unclear whether Congress appropriated P11. And finally P1. The petitioners further argue that implied repeals are not favored. such that the provisions of RA 9525 must be interpreted and brought into accord with the old law. orderly. as reenacted. the Court should resort to the deliberations of the Senate and the House of Representatives. the Court must first determine whether it was the intent of Congress to push through with full nationwide automation of the elections in May 2010. the provisions of Republic Act No.) The petitioners stress that Section 2 provides that the amount appropriated shall be used for the implementation of the May 2010 automated elections. Seven Hundred Ninety Thousand Pesos as Supplemental Appropriations for an Automated Election System and for Other Purposes. viz. as amended. and (ii) the applicable provisions of Republic Act No. clean. I have the privilege of submitting the budget of the Commission on Elections for the automation of the 2010 national and local elections. 8436.: Section 2. Three Hundred One Million. That disbursement of the amounts herein appropriated or any part thereof shall be authorized only in strict compliance with the Constitution. and subsequent General Appropriations Acts. xxxx For your consideration. in the sponsorship speech of Representative Junie Cua of the Lone District of Quirino.: REP. Visayas and Mindanao. Thus. my dear esteemed colleagues. Providing Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes". the results will then be electronically transmitted to the public quicker than any quick count in our election history and for this. and the provisions of RA 9369 and other election laws. Once the ballots are so counted. They cite Section 2 of RA 9525.3B.On the other hand. the petitioners counter that there was no implied repeal of the requirement of pilot testing of the AES in two provinces and two highly urbanized cities each in Luzon.000. Out of the budget proposal of P11. entitled “An Act Appropriating the Sum of Eleven Billion. .00 for the conduct of full or partial automated elections. These devices will count hand-marked ballots that will be printed on ballot paper costing a total of P1B.2B for the lease of election automation equipment. as well as the hearings of the Joint Committee on AES. Thus. To clear this uncertainty. the COMELEC is proposing to spend about P8. Let us first look at the deliberations of the House of Representatives when it considered House Bill 5715 (HB 5715). or the FY 2008 General Appropriations Act. however. CUA. and two laws must be absolutely incompatible before an inference of implied repeal may be drawn.7B. as amended. (Emphasis supplied. 1998 National or Local Elections and in subsequent National and Local Electoral Exercises. honest and credible election and shall adopt such measures that will guaranty transparency and accuracy in the selection of the relevant technology of the machines to be used on May 10.000 Precinct Count Optical Scanners or PCOS that will be deployed throughout the country. viz. entitled: "An Act Authorizing the Commission on Elections to Use an Automated Election System in the May 11. Use of Funds. we need P400M.301. To resolve this issue of implied repeal. subject to the applicable provisions of RA 8436. 9369: Provided. will then be spent to ensure that everything goes smoothly through the strong project management and associated services that the COMELEC will put in [25] place. We will be spending about P78B on ballot boxes. the petitioners conclude that the mandatory requirement of pilot testing was not repealed but reiterated by Congress in said section. 9369 and other election laws incorporated in said Act so as to ensure the conduct of a free. the assumption of the members of the House of Representatives who engaged in the debate was that the appropriation was for a full nationwide implementation of the AES in the May 2010 elections. This will cover the cost of 80. From the deliberations. as amended by Republic Act No. or whether it intended the automated elections to be conducted nationwide or only in the pilot areas. he stated that the appropriation was for the full nationwide automation of the May 2010 elections.790.) . They contend that RA 9525 is not totally inconsistent with the requirement of pilot testing in Section 5 of RA 8436. 2010 automated national and local election.

Senator Edgardo Angara had an exchange withChairman Melo. Chairman. (Emphasis supplied. [26] Speaker. since this would be a national elections. SEN.) During the September 9. ANGARA. not just in one region of our country. CUA. Senator Loren Legarda asked the Chairperson of the COMELEC Advisory Council. Is that correct? (Emphasis supplied. Mr. they have increased this to 200 million. Mr. It was unmistakable from the exchange that not only did the Congress contemplate a full nationwide automation of the May 2010 elections. Mr. But after reevaluating the cost breakdown. as he asked the following question: REP. “Shouldn’t the amount be more in the vicinity of one or one -and-a-half billion pesos?” There is – part of the response was in the remarks column of the COMELEC. We have also examined the deliberations of the Senate which constituted itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider HB 5715. Chairman.3 billion was meant for the conduct of a full nationwide automation of the 2010 elections. Speaker. and one abstention. she assumed that the 2010 elections were to be full automated. Mr. Has the budget of the Comelec been heard in the House? . the cleansing of the voters list through the enactment of a new law and the funding from Congress is essential because it is a partner towards the [27] automation. yesterday the Finance Committee of the Senate started the budget hearing. by 2010. she also stated that the appropriation was for the conduct of the automated elections of the entire country and not merely a region therein. one voting in the negative. Speaker. Yes. Your Honor. in the process of doing so. In the same vein. I asked then. So. viz. in the Senate we are already beginning to do that. Now let me just ask before I say something more. And. complete automation. but also that the approval of a budget of P11. would be carried by public TELCOS. Mr. with 193 members of the House of Representatives voting in the affirmative.: REP. which is only equal to the operating expenses for the ARMM elections.xxxx As AKBAYAN Party-list Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel (Representative Hontiveros-Baraquel) was asking clarificatory questions to Representative Junie Cua. HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL. xxxx In the budget breakdown presented by the COMELEC in our committee hearing.) Representative Edcel Lagman held the same assumption. where they noted that some of the operating expenses. LEGARDA. the members of the Joint Committee on AES took it as a given that the May 2010 elections would be implemented throughout the entire country. The debates confirmed that the senators were also of the understanding that the appropriation of P11. Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III. if I understand correctly. Mr. how many machines and allied equipment do you need for [28] the nationwide implementation of the automation by 2010? (Emphasis supplied. and not a partial or a pilot of the AES in selected areas. Yes. LAGMAN.3 billion was for the full nationwide automation of the May 2010 elections. regarding the cleansing of the list of voters.) x x x xxxx REP. after consulting with the technical people of the commission. 2008 hearing of the Joint Committee on AES. xxxx So therefore. I understand that the Lady is correct that what was originally allocated for operating cost or transmission cost was 50 million. (Emphasis supplied) HB 5715 was approved on the third reading. 200 million. The September 1. the transmission costs. Thus: SEN. the amount for operating expenses was P50 million. 2008 hearing of the Joint Committee on AES took up the COMELEC evaluation report on the automated elections held in the ARMM.

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. [31] [30] (Emphasis supplied. dahil kung wala ibababa ho physically iyong balota mula duon sa presinto para dalhin o maglalagay kayo ng satellite. Sir. we can supplement it in the Senate but. DIZON. GORDON). Automation will not push through simply because it’s so expensive that there’ll be such a huge public outcry against it. DIZON. …DRE machines… MR. This is the figure that they submitted to us four years ago and we are really expecting a submission of a revised cost of computerization. Dizon that says that they can make it for 14 to P18 billion. Good! Good. The costing here would be the purchased (sic) price. wala pa ho tayo doon. Mr. hindi ko ho alam kung ano ang gagawin ninyo. TOLENTINO. the lease cost would be 70 percent of the total budget. “Is this enough for full automation?” Secretary Andaya was frank enough. ‘di ba? (Emphasis supplied. Yes. MELO. the members pointed out that full nationwide elections would be conducted on May 10. So I urge the representatives of the vendors to consider that very strongly even if they have to donate a [29] substantial portion of that cost for the sake of democracy. as you know.8B. THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. You’v e got to catch the House hearing on the budget because it’s better that your proposed budget for the elections of 2010 are incorporated in the House itself. billion (sic). Mr. right? MR. the Senate cannot tap the President ’s Budget. this will be one of their strongest selling points. Mr. Chairman. And if we base it on the rate that we sued for the ARMM elections. no. good. That’s approximately 37 million voters. Whereas. I don’t know if there’s any other country who has that number of voters using this particular technology. So. that I hope they won’t even cut a profit out of this transaction because if you are succe ssful. bear with us as your Oversight Committee attempts to sift through all of these various inputs and information and try to find some rhyme or reason into it and justify perhaps our action of the proposed full automation for the 2010 elections. Yes. please. 2010. also includes registration. ESCUDERO). we are talking here of 40. because that is your window of opportunity.) . The presentation yesterday by the Budget Secretary is you will have about 3. Yes.) Indeed. in terms of selling point. Yes. GORDON). THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. 2009 hearing: THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. SEN. “No. So it’s better that we negotiate it in the House. etcetera.MR.8B for 2010. x x x (Emphasis supplied. nearly 50 million voters and you are transmitting a vote located thousands of kilometers away in an area we are not even sure if there is signal. I think this will be one of the biggest use of their technology at 45 million or 35 million voters. several times during the hearings of the Joint Committee on AES. …for the entire country. ANGARA.: MR. I got thrown off because there is an allegation made by Mr. GORDON). Chairman. And the 3. Of course. viz. Well. That’s why I think it’s very important that you bargain hard and I hope that the suppliers will see also the public service element in this experiment. is that correct? MR. The only thing I am raising this (sic). And I would suggest very strongly that the advisory committee sit down with potential bidders and really go over every single figure in that costing because it’s going to be unfortunate that thi s will not push through. x x x So. etcetera so it does not exclusively…And when we asked. is without violating inter-chamber courtesies. Chairman.) In the March 4. Mr. Chairman. Not yet. DIZON.” This is why I think you must seize the opportunity. you and I know that this may be one good way to have clean elections and speedier results announced in our country.

ESCUDERO). Your Honor. OMR kayo. O. 2010 elections was not merely for a pilot test. and Section 2 of RA 9525 is apparent for Congress could not have maintained the requirement of a pilot exercise as a condition precedent to full automation when it had made it absolutely clear that it wanted to push through with a full nationwide AES this May 2010. And as final point. Hindi. the basis for this is really the ARMM election because we used similar structure. The irreconcilability between Section 5 of RA 8436. It was also a lease with an option to purchase and this is where we came up with the 70 percent price for the lease with the option to purchase.: MR. [33] . ROXAS-CHUA. as the cost structure for this next election. as amended. 2010 AES. there is unmistakable evidence of the legislative intent to implement a full nationwide automation of the May 2010 elections. as you proposed. that intention must be given effect. 2010. Oo. Maguindanao.xxxx THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. The rest we will use COS. THE CHAIRMAN. [34] localized. you will use DRE. and the implied repeal of a prior by a subsequent law [35] of that body must depend upon its intention and purpose in enacting the subsequent law. It categorically stated that the approval of the supplemental budget ofP11. Chair.) So it was during the February 2. I would like to make of record what we discussed.3 billion for the upcoming May 10. Laws of Congress have equal intrinsic dignity and effect. What is necessary is a manifest indication of a legislative purpose to repeal. Kindly also look into the possibility. kinocompartmentalized (compartmentalize) ninyo per province. Ito nationwide ito. but in addition to electronic transmission. Chairman. The Comment-in-Intervention of the Senate of the Philippines also affirmed the congressional intention to implement a full nationwide automation of the elections this May 10. viz.3 Billion for the May 10. That is the structure that we used and there was successful bidder so we used that as a basis. Repeal by implication proceeds from the premise that where a statute of a later date clearly reveals an intention on the part of the legislature to abrogate a prior act on the subject. Mr. fully automated tayo. 2009 hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance for the appropriation of P11. Siyempre doon sa ARMM. So. Your Honor. but for a full nationwide implementation of the AES. In the case at bar therefore. Mr. It is impossible to give effect to this intent and at the same time comply with the condition precedent of conducting pilot exercises in selected areas. can’t we have an OMR at the provincial level to count the ERs to be produced by our OMRs at the precinct or collapsed precinct level either OMR that can count ER or OMR that can count an encrypted CD from the PCOS located in the collapsed precinct so that you will have a hard copy of the ER at the provincial level [32] which you can easily adopt once you go to the site? x x x (Emphasis supplied.

. 4.” sign and thereafter submit their incorporation papers to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Instead. as amended. and a particular partnership may have for its object a specific undertaking. to ascertain merely whether it has gone beyond the limits prescribed by law. 60%-40% Filipinoforeign equity ceiling.) . et al.c. Even granting that such an agreement was submitted. That the TOR/RFP does not specifically call for incorporation at the time of the bidding is significant.3 COMELEC’s Award of the Automation Contract to the Smartmatic-TIM Consortium Not Attended by Grave Abuse of Discretion The petitioners attribute grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction to the COMELEC for awarding the 2010 Elections Automation Project to Smartmatic TIM Corporation. and is thus of a temporary nature. without any incorporated vs. 2009 (or twentyseven days later) that they were able to “thresh out their serious differences. it should be underscored that RA 8436. (Citations omitted. The main distinction cited by most opinions in common law jurisdiction is that the partnership contemplates a general business with some degree of continuity. the joint venture is nevertheless illegal for having been constituted in violation of the nationality requirement. et al. since their elements are similar – community of interest in the business. while the joint venture is formed for the execution of a single transaction. As to the first allegation. as well as the procedure for its procurement. The claim is premised on the following allegations: (i) that although Smartmatic and TIM were awarded the Automation Contract by the COMELEC on June 9. on four grounds. its determination of the appropriate election technology. i. This observation is not entirely accurate in this jurisdiction. Section 2. Private Respondents Smartmatic and TIM allegedly did not execute and submit a valid joint venture agreement evidencing the existence. In Aurbach. should be respected. it may however engage in a joint venture with others. does not mandate the use of any specific voting equipment. suppliers and/or distributors forming themselves into a joint venture [.. it was only on July 6. a joint venture was likened by this Court to a partnership. unincorporated dichotomy. and a mutual right of control.. The AES chosen by the COMELEC does not comply with the “prior successful use” qualification set forth in Section 12 of RA 8436. c. 3. et al. and has held that although a corporation cannot enter into a partnership contract. since under the Civil Code.]” as eligible to participate in the bidding for the 2010 Automation Project. Our judicial function is merely to check and not to supplant the judgment of the COMELEC. composition and scope of the Smartmatic-TIM joint venture.. 2. The Supreme Court has however recognized a distinction between these two business forms. It has no precise legal definition. [40] and not to exercise the power vested in it or to determine the wisdom of its act. Preliminarily. composition and scope of their joint venture. thus: The legal concept of a joint venture is of common law origin. a joint venture is a form of partnership and should thus be governed by the law of partnerships. it should be noted that the TOR/RFP made by the COMELEC does not require that a joint venture bidder be incorporated upon the submission of its bid. It would seem therefore that under Philippine law. taking into account the [39] situation prevailing in the area and the funds available for the purpose. the law gave COMELEC the sole power to prescribe the adoption of the most [37] [38] suitable technology of demonstrated capability as it may deem appropriate and practical. but it has been generally understood to mean an organization formed for some temporary purpose. et al. in violation of the COMELEC’s own bidding requirements and this Court’s ruling in Information [36] Technology of the Philippines. v. and The PCOS machines offered by the Smartmatic-TIM Consortium do not satisfy the minimum system capabilities mandated by Section 7 of RA 8436. 2009.e. as amended.2. [42] Sanitary Wares Manufacturing Corporation. It is hardly distinguishable from the partnership. because [41] Philippine law admits of a distinction between simple joint ventures and ordinary corporations.. Absent any capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment on the part of the COMELEC. and (ii) that the provisions of the JVA do not sufficiently establish the due existence. viz. as amended by RA 9369.4 of Part IX (B) of the TOR/RFP declares “[m]anufacturers. a partnership may be particular or universal. COMELEC. v.: 1. sharing of profits and losses.4 Valid JVA was duly submitted The petitioners claim that private respondents Smartmatic and TIM submitted a “sham” joint venture agreement during the bidding process.

In an unincorporated joint venture. [46] et al. to a newly-formed joint venture corporation (JVC) registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission? The registered JVC will assume all rights and obligations of the UJV. 19 provides.” and “who controls the money. determination of the required Filipino participation may be made by examining the terms and conditions of the joint venture agreement and other supporting financial documents submitted by the joint venture. COMELEC acquiesced to this arrangement. 26. [43] . The records show that Smartmatic and TIM complied with the consent requirement. The petitioners next assert that the JVA does not sufficiently establish the due existence. Smartmatic and TIM did not submit documents to show “the full identity of the entity it is dealing with.: that “in the absence of definite indicators as to the amount of investments t o be contributed by each party. v. Bid Bulletin No. they incorporated the Smartmatic TIM Corporation. the corporate vehicle through which the joint [45] venture is to be carried out.) The only restriction imposed on a UJV bidder (vis-à-vis a JVC bidder) by the TOR/RFP and the Bid Bulletins is that the COMELEC should consent before the UJV could assign its rights to the Automation Contract to the newly formed JVC. disbursements for expenses. 22 states as follows: [Question/Issue:] How does Joint Venture apply to our group in order to follow the requirement that Filipino ownership thereof shall be at least sixty percent (60%)? [Answer/Clarification:] The 60% Filipino participation refers to capital ownership or the Filipino contribution in the pool of financial resources required to undertake a government project. how much did each of these entities invest to (sic) the alleged joint venture. COMELEC. after its award. severally and solidarily the obligations of TIM and Smartmatic arising from being declared the winning bidder in the public bidding for the Automation Project. Bid Bulletin No.’” According to the petitioners. 13.) Likewise. rights. in relevant part: [Question/Issue:] If the bidding will be made through an unincorporated joint venture (UJV). Does Comelec have any requirements for allowing such assignment to the JVC? [Answer/Clarification:] Under the General Conditions of Contract. which obligations are spelled out in the [TOR/RFP] [48] released by the COMELEC. 2. Both documents acknowledge that a bid by a joint venture may be made either through a joint venture corporation (JVC) or an unincorporated joint venture (UJV). the parties’ respective shares in the profits and the like. duties. is the JV required also to submit a Tax Identification No. it will be extremely difficult for Comelec to enforce the supposed joint and several liabilities of the members of the ‘consortium. and the UJV wins the bid. After emerging as the winning bidder. thus: [47] 1. and other pertinent details in respect of the joint venture. (Emphasis supplied. Smartmatic and TIM are the members of the joint venture. “The supplier shall not assign his rights or obligations under this contract in whole or in part except with the Procuring entity’s prior written consent. Sec. capitalization. and Value Added Tax (VAT) registration? [Answer/Clarification:] Please see Bid Bulletin No. 22.1. it seems to the Court that this situation could readily give rise to all kinds of misunderstandings and disagreements over money matters”. for it subsequently entered into a contract with this JVC for the Automation Project. 19 and Bid [44] Bulletin No. as well as the purpose. (Emphasis supplied.But any remaining doubt as to the need for incorporation is dispelled by Bid Bulletin No.” A cursory glance at the JVA belies the petitioners’ posture. commitments and covenants of the parties. composition and scope of the Smartmatic-TIM joint venture. can the UJV partners subsequently assign the contract. in violation of our ruling in Information Technology of the Philippines. The agreement indicates in a thorough and comprehensive manner the identity.” x x x xxxx [Question/Issue:] If the bid will be made through a joint venture (JV) (either a UJV or a JVC). issued by the COMELEC-SBAC to provide clarifications to prospective bidders. The purpose of the JVC is to carry out and perform jointly. et al. and that “[u]nder such a scenario. and who has control over the decision[]making process of the alleged joint venture.

The capital contribution of TIM is equivalent to sixty percent (60%) of the shares to be issued by the JVC. three hundred million common shares at one [49] peso (P1. taking into [55] account the financial requirements of the JVC with respect to working capital. b. Mega Pacific eSolutions. and (iii) any other activity not expressly written in the JVA or assigned to TIM. Inc. in accordance with the commercial arbitration rules of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce.. Both parties – (i) technical services and/or assistance to carry out the purpose of the JVC. 8. The authorized capital stock of the JVC is one billion. the accompanying expenses in either case to be equally shared by [56] both parties. In the main. of the Board of Directors of the JVC. Smartmatic – (i) the development. President. c. Inc.. deployment. It does not show that MPEI or its president have been duly pre-authorized by the other members of the putative consortium to represent them. 6. The letter is purely self-serving and uncorroborated. TIM shall be entitled to nominate and elect 60%.000. The EXCOM shall consist of at least three (3) Directors. 2003 letter. 5. This notwithstanding. Yu. 9. and Smartmatic shall be entitled to nominate [53] and elect 40%. no JVA or document of similar import was submitted during the bidding process to the COMELEC in Information Technology. Any dispute or disagreement that cannot be amicably settled between the parties shall be submitted to arbitration inSingapore. and (iii) additional capital contributions.3 of the JVA. Election. technology and systems. systems integration. TIM and Smartmatic are jointly and severally liable to the COMELEC for the obligations of each of TIM and Smartmatic under the TOR/RFP. Any dispute or disagreement that may arise between the parties in connection with the JVA shall first be settled through mutual cooperation and consultation in good faith. two of whom must be Directors [54] nominated by TIM. [51] 4.000. The facts of that case are entirely different..00) par value. software. with Smartmatic contributing the residual forty percent [50] (40%). manufacture and/or supply of [electronic voting machines]. (Lead Company/Proponent) For: Mega Pacific Consortium" – and without any further proof.00). and ePLDT and Oracle System (Philippines).” petitioners’ invocation of Information Technology is misplaced.com. transmission and such other services as required by the Automation Project and as indicated in the [TOR/RFP]. 7. (iii) hardware. . SK C&C. (ii) overall project management as required by the Automation [52] Project and as indicated in the [TOR/RFP] .300. (ii) services pertaining or related to logistics. consumables and such other services as may be requested by Smartmatic.3. to bid on their collective behalf and. more important. should they be awarded the contract for the [57] Automation Project. does not by itself prove the existence of the consortium. Trapped in their own “Catch-22. the COMELEC awarded the contract to the “consortium. three hundred million Philippine pesos (P1. software. Ltd. ballot paper. Inc. to commit them jointly and severally to the bid undertakings. with the other nominated by Smartmatic.5 or by the Shareholders under Article 5. The only “evidence” as to the existence of the alleged joint venture was a self-serving letter expressing that Mega Pacific eSolutions. Inc.” And the Court pointedly ruled: The March 7. and (iv) local support staff as may be required under the circumstances. had agreed to form a consortium to bid for the Automation Project. WeSolv Open Computing. The contributions a. as may be requested by the Board of Directors. (ii) financial assistance to the JVC.. Profits are to be distributed to TIM and Smartmatic as may be determined by the Board of Directors under Article 4. and manpower. other machines and equipment. of the parties are as follows: TIM – (i) the value-added services pertaining or related to canvassing units. divided into one billion. signed by only one signatory – "Willy U.

and whether these parties are qualified and capable of delivering the products and services being offered for bidding? In the instant case. However. memorandum of agreement. no such instrument was submitted to Comelec during the bidding process. This file purports to replicate the eligibility documents originally submitted to Comelec by MPEI allegedly on behalf of MPC. The problem is that Comelec never bothered to check. It thus follows that. Comelec had no basis at all for determining that the alleged consortium really existed and was eligible and qualified. it goes without saying that the Eligibility Envelope would necessarily have to include a copy of the joint venture agreement. What then is the big deal? The problem is not that there are four agreements instead of only one. as respondent aver. the consortium agreement or memorandum of agreement – or a business plan or some other instrument of similar import – establishing the due existence. licenses and permits issued to them. one might ask: What. So. SK C&C and WeSolv.com and ePLDT. Indeed. that nowhere in the RFP issued by Comelec is it required that the members of the joint venture execute a single written agreement to prove the existence of a joint venture. Otherwise. there is no sign whatsoever of any joint venture agreement. It relied merely on the self-serving representation in an uncorroborated letter signed by only one individual. The only logical conclusion is that no such agreement was ever submitted to the Comelec for its consideration. It never based its decision on documents or other proof that would concretely establish the existence of the claimed consortium or joint venture or agglomeration. along with Election. Comelec's BAC should have examined the bidding documents submitted on behalf of MPC. if any. in partial compliance with this Court's instructions given during the Oral Argument.To assure itself properly of the due existence (as well as eligibility and qualification) of the putative consortium. relative to the prosecution of the project. or business plan executed among the members of the purported consortium. xxxx At this juncture. how would Comelec know who it was dealing with. They would have easily discovered the following fatal flaws. the extent of their respective investments (if any) in the supposed consortium or in the project. 2003. Included in the file are the incorporation papers and financial statements of the members of the supposed consortium and certain certificates. This fact can be conclusively ascertained by scrutinizing the two-inch thick "Eligibility Requirements" file submitted by Comelec last October 9. it necessarily follows that. Neither was there anything to indicate the exact relationships between and among these firms. undertakings and prestations. And apart from the self-serving letter of March 7. their diverse roles. prior the award of the Contract. consortium agreement. during the bidding process. the intention to be jointly and severally liable may be evidenced not only by a single joint venture agreement. in connection with the bidding conducted in March 2003. but also by supplementary documents executed by the parties signifying such intention. claiming that his company represented a "consortium" of several different corporations. as part of the bidding process. composition and scope of such aggrupation. It concluded forthwith that a consortium . there was no documentary or other basis for Comelec to conclude that a consortium had actually been formed amongst MPEI. and that the arrangements among the members were satisfactory and sufficient to ensure delivery on the Contract and to protect the government's interest. then. if there are four MOAs instead of one or none at all? Isn't it enough that there are these corporations coming together to carry out the automation project? Isn't it true. and the precise nature and extent of their respective liabilities with respect to the contract being offered for bidding. 2003. there was not even any indication that MPEI was the lead company duly authorized to act on behalf of the others. xxxx In the case of a consortium or joint venture desirous of participating in the bidding.

” as the agreement in the instant case states with precision the “exact nature a nd [60] scope of the parties’ respective undertakings. 2010 elections and succeeding electoral exercises. Second. composed of such and such members. as follows: SEC. deliverables and covenants. RA 9369. and the members' joint and several liability therefor. in gross violation of the former's own bidding rules and procedures contained in its RFP. Therein lies Comelec's grave abuse of discretion. whereas EO 584 is an executive issuance in 2006. It is thus readily apparent that the joint venture of Smartmatic and TIM is not attended by any of the deficiencies of the MP “consortium. where two statutes are of equal theoretical application to a particular case. its capacity to deliver on the Contract. First. agency or municipal corpo ration” as limited to forty percent (40%) foreign equity. subject to accounting and auditing rules and regulations. the later enactment prevails. despite the absence of competent proof as to the existence and eligibility of the alleged consortium (MPC). the COMELEC in Information Technology awarded the bid to the “consortium” [59] despite some failed marks during the technical evaluation. lease. – To achieve the purpose of this Act. which cites “contracts for the supply of materials. Section 12 of RA 8436. Nonetheless. facilities and other services. In the case at bar. materials. materials. as amended by RA 9369. to which the Contract was eventually awarded. lex specialis derogat generali.” The petitioners’ repeated recourse to Information Technology betrays a highly myopic and constricted view. and thereafter declared that the entity was eligible to bid. there is no constitutional or statutory Filipino-foreign equity ceiling to speak of. (Emphasis supplied. the one [64] specially designed therefor should prevail. General legislation must give way to special legislation on the same subject. rent or other forms of acquisition. the Commission is authorized to procure. and generally is so interpreted as to embrace only cases in which the special provisions are not [63] applicable.) Petitioners cannot rely on Executive Order No. xxxx In brief. It then went ahead and considered the bid of MPC. In case of an irreconcilable conflict between two laws of [61] different vintages. The reliance cannot be countenanced in light of two basic principles of statutory construction. the system procured must have demonstrated capability and been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad. procurement for election automation). goods and commodities to [a] government-owned or controlled corporation. software. 12. In sum.) To make matters worse. and other services from foreign sources. the Smartmatic-TIM Consortium passed the technical evaluation. supplies. whereas EO 584 has a more universal scope. equipment. the Anti-Dummy Law and COMELEC’s own bidding requirements. software. RA 9369 specifically covers a well-defined subject (i. from local or foreign sources free from taxes and import duties.e. (Emphasis and [58] underscoring supplied. became law in 2007. explicitly authorizes the COMELEC to procure supplies. The rationale is simple: a later law repeals an earlier one because [62] it is the later legislative will. c. leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant . facilities. In other words.5 No nationality requirement is violated Petitioners also contend that the joint venture agreement of TIM and Smartmatic violates the Filipino-foreign equity ceiling. containing the Seventh Regular Foreign Investment Negative List. which allows the COMELEC to procure AES supplies and equipment from foreign sources. With respect to the May 10. in accordance with existing laws. Comelec nevertheless assumed that such consortium existed and was eligible. Procurement of Equipment and Materials. by purchase.indeed existed. commitments. equipment. . I concur fully with the ponencia of Mr. Justice Velasco on this point. There is no constitutional or statutory provision classifying the lease or provision of goods and technical services for the automation of an election as a nationalized activity. To be sure. Participation in the 2007 pilot exercise shall not be conclusive of the system's fitness. 584 (EO 584). company.. and the Anti-Dummy Law does not find application to the case at bar. I wish to clarify certain matters.

(3) Corporations duly organized under the laws of the Philippines. allege that the sixty percent (60%) interest of TIM in the JVC was merely simulated. (4) Manufacturers. suppliers and/or distributors.4 of Part IX (B) of the TOR/RFP. they have an agreement.11. Here is a scenario. pursuant to Article 4. and (5) Cooperatives duly registered with the Cooperatives Development Authority.000.7 of the JVA. joint venture agreement. (2) Partnerships duly organized under the laws of the Philippines and of which at least sixty percent (60%) of the interest belongs to citizens of thePhilippines.e.1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9184. and intended to protect it from the whims and caprices of the non-expert majority. the COMELEC.130. Specifically.000. Your Honor. Scantron.11 of the JVA. the COMELEC invited the following to bid for the Automation Project: (1) Duly licensed Filipino citizens/proprietorships. during which the following exchanges were made: MR. And the one who carries it out will [be] Scantron even if it’s 40 percent? [65] . (3) The mandatory presence of the Director representing Smartmatic to establish a quorum of the [68] Executive Committee (EXECOM). our lawmakers wanted the foreign joint venture to be autonomous in carrying out its technical functions. these provisions may be viewed as legitimate minority protection devices. and (4) The sole right of Smartmatic to nominate the (a) Chairman of the Board.000. Through them. and TIM’s corresponding duty to elect said nominees. however. If that would come to pass. They point to certain provisions in the JVA as denoting that effective control over Smartmatic TIM Corporation was given to Smartmatic. that intend to be jointly and severally responsible or liable for a particular contract. 2009 hearing of the Joint Committee on AES. pursuant to Article 4.1 to 2. Thus. Smartmatic could not perform its part of the Contract and the end result would be the ruin of its investment. for which it is primarily responsible (as against TIM) under the express terms of the COMELEC’s bidding [71] [72] rules and the Automation Contract itself. a group of two (2) or more manufacturers.00).00. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. pursuant to Article 4. suppliers and/or distributors forming themselves into a joint venture. pursuant to [69] [70] Articles 4. But far from establishing the tyranny of the minority. (b) the Treasurer. TIM contributed sixty percent (60%) thereof (equivalent to P678. But for a few innocuous stylistic changes. there is no question that the JVC complied with the 60-40 equity ceiling provided under the TOR/RFP.000. this enumeration is an exact reproduction of Section 23. Per Smartmatic TIM Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation.10 and 4. Smartmatic would be helplessly exposed to the risk of being outvoted on significant corporate activities and decisions – including decisions on technical matters falling within its field of expertise. Out of a total paid-up capital of P1. The petitioners.2. To be sure. for instance and a Philippine Company.5 of the JVA..2. Without these protective provisions. i. while Smartmatic paid the remaining forty percent (40%) (equivalent to P452.000. petitioners assail the following: (1) The mandatory presence of at least one of the nominated Directors of Smartmatic to establish [66] a quorum of the Board of Directors. as amended by RA 9369. and of which at least sixty percent (60%) of the outstanding capital stock belongs to citizens of the Philippines. in Sections 2. (2) The veto power in the Board of Directors granted by TIM to Smartmatic to authorize certain [67] important financial and technical actions.3 of the JVA. This can be gleaned from the April 20.00). and (c) the Corporate Secretary. Smartmatic sought to protect its huge investment in the Automation Project. provided that Filipino ownership thereof shall be at least sixty percent (60%). LOCSIN). exercising the discretion granted by Section 12 of RA 8436. MELO. adopted the guidelines that were set forth in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9184 (The Government Procurement Reform Act).000. an agreement.It appears that in preparing the bidder eligibility requirements.

LOCSIN). x x x (Emphasis supplied) *** [73] THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. LOCSIN). they form a company. is that. wins. MELO. the guys who actually conduct elections in Venezuela and not some local boys who are just. You will have to put really strict sanctions on any interference by the majority partner in the judgment of the minority partner in implementing [75] the majority project. Your Honor. But do you – will you check that the ones who will carry out the project will be. Deployment. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. the Filipino can. In IT. This is speaking my mind alound (sic). LOCSIN). now. is that they have a reputation to defend. memorandum or agreement will you be requiring to make sure that it’s the foreigner who knows how to run it. 60-40? I mean [the Filipino company] can promise that. Senator Escudero and myself. Are there any provisions you have made that would prevent them from interfering in the technical aspects of the electronic elections? What if you have the majority partners dictating how it will be done? xxxx THE CHAIRMAN (REP. after Scantron wins. dreaming that they can do it? MR. MELO. LOCSIN). as Senator Escudero said. I don’t know how that’s done though. in the case of Smartmatic. MELO. The question we were asking – Our apprehension here. MELO. I don’t want amateurs. sir. x x x What legal methodology. will the 60 percent which has no track record and is Filipino and may have political affiliations. MR. ESCUDERO). The problem here is. But the contract will now be awarded in favor of the new company? THE CHAIRMAN (REP. I’m not really worried nor do (sic) am I concerned about punishing them up after the failure of elections. sila bahala. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. I would just really want to make sure that the guys who will run this will not be the local boys but the foreign boys who have actually done it abroad. LOCSIN). sila ang naka kaintindi. there’s none. Yes. [76] Do you say. a foreign company goes into a partnership who (sic)are co-venture (sic) in system with a Philippine company. you know. After they win. MELO. Yes. MR. trying to prove yes. would they be in a position to influence the 40 percent minority that is the expert in electronic elections? Would the 60 percent be able to compromise the integrity of the 40 percent? MR. one of the most compelling arguments for the big guys to win. the foreigners.” But what assurance do we have and what legal document do you intend to require [74] insofar as this is concerned? (Emphasis supplied) *** THE CHAIRMAN (REP. No Filipino has a reputation to defend in IT. you know. But who will implement it? MR.MR. precisely. Scantron. LOCSIN). we will make them jointly and severally liable. x x x As I said. RAFANAN. (Emphasis supplied) *** THE CHAIRMAN (REP. kami roll-out lang. Yes. bidder with political connections? . It’s the deployment of the machines. the two. Let us say. a 60 percent joint venture partner. who will actually run the [show] and not be outvoted each time within the company. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. let us say. LOCSIN). “Hindi ho. The Philippine company is usually taken for its expertise in the dispersal of the machines because [the foreign company] does not need another technical company expert in computers. Yes.

ang masusunod yung may-ari ng 60 percent na Filipino na walang track record at walang kaalam-alam presumably.] we are bound and doomed to award this contract to a company majority of which will be owned by individuals or another company that has no track record to speak of? Kasi yung obligasyon na nating i-award iyang 60/40 sa Filipino company. So. I mean.. But would it not be a circumvention. How sure are you na hindi siya didiktahan nung 60 percent na walang track record. You have to – apart from the legal requirement. walang experience.. you have to embed into the joint venture contract the obligation of each of the joint venturer. Without arguing that point. minority lang siya . x x x [F]or you to require or impose a requirement saying that the 40 will control the 60 is a circumvention. ang tanong ko[. so useless yung requirement natin na may track record ka hindi naman siya ang masusunod. THE SENATE PRESIDENT. What if the majority Filipino tells them to compromise the integrity? What [77] measures do you take? (Emphasis supplied) *** THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. Your Honor. I suppose. to award it to a company majority of which will be owned by a company or individuals without any track record whatsoever? THE CHAIRMAN (REP. x x x So. LOCSIN). LOCSIN). .] you’re awarding [the contract to] a company with a track record although may minority. MELO. Manong Johnny. ESCUDERO). no question. say. ESCUDERO). But in the joint venture. So. ESCUDERO). Iyon. essentially. LOCSIN). if at all. Can you require that in your terms of reference? MR.THE CHAIRMAN (REP. can the Comelec require a particular joint venture contract that would specify the particular obligations of the parties and in some cases that obligation would be – would protect the minority’s integrity in conducting the election? xxxx THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. xxxx THE CHAIRMAN (REP. But Senator Enrile. That’s just an example. They’re qualified but they’re always in a minority position in the joint venture company. Sequoia or whatever. of the 60/40 rule as well. Including their voice in the joint venture. can it not be provided that the foreign company shall have exclusive say on the technical aspect? THE SENATE PRESIDENT. THE SENATE PRESIDENT. ESCUDERO). ESCUDERO). MELO. for voting purposes for control of the corporation but not for the purely technical aspect of conducting an electronic election to protect the integrity of that undertaking? THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. essentially nga ho[. LOCSIN). MR. that’s what you’re saying. Senator Enrile. our worry is that the 60 percent may dictate on the expert 40 percent. THE CHAIRMAN (REP. THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. You can insist [on] that. You’re the expert here. we are obligated by law. LOCSIN). Puwede iyon. What we’re saying is that a 40 percent track record – the track record of the 40 percent partner. Would a joint venture contract be able to provide some autonomy to the 40 percent expert so that they cannot be interfered with? THE SENATE PRESIDENT. x x x [A] joint venture is a matter of contract. legally the question is how will you be able to overcome it? THE CHAIRMAN (REP. I may tend to agree with that point but the fact is. THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. say.

MR. Yes. so the foreign company will naturally protect – want to protect itself that it will not be ousted from the venture in [80] . it deemed it necessary to reserve to itself the veto power on these important financial matters so as not to compromise the technical aspects of the Automation Project. No. Yes. FLORES. What if ayaw pumayag ng Smartmatic? So does the local company have effective control over the joint venture company? x x x MR. Smartmatic does not have any veto right. As Smartmatic is the joint venture partner having the greater experience in automated elections. foreign. The same conclusion may be obtained from the deliberations of the Senate Committee on Constitutional [79] Amendments. so 60-40 naman talaga iyon. (Emphasis [78] supplied. remember? MR.MR. Major decisions? MR. That’s a standard practice to protect minority investors and it only relates to certain key decisions not to the whole development of the project. xxxx THE CHAIRMAN. it] states that no board resolution shall be passed – in the first place. In your JVA[. two members of the board will belong to Smartmatic.] it says no resolution shall be passed unless TIM with three votes.] Chairman Melo.] is a function of trust between them.) The petitioners find particularly repugnant Smartma tic’s veto power in the Board of Directors in respect of certain key financial and technical actions. I assume that this provision in their agreement. THE SENATE PRESIDENT. My question is. there is a potential for a deadlock. however. Your Honor. Yes. the supplier of the computers. is that not effective control or veto power over the company that essentially overrides or circumvents the 60-40 requirement? MR. sir. 2009 hearing are illuminating on this point: THE CHAIRMAN. FLORES. we are providing in the contract that these matters will be entrusted to the foreign corporation which is Smartmatic International. But my question is.4. THE SENATE PRESIDENT. of the machines which will have exclusive say. They cannot be controlled by the local partner because. this is but a fair and reasonable check against possible abuses by the majority stockholder. In my view. MELO. concerning decisions that will pertain to technical problems or troubleshooting problems in the election. presumably majority already. The Comelec can impose that. sir. THE CHAIRMAN. still there is a 60-40 requirement. This is clear from Article 4. three members of the board will belong to TIM. MELO. THE CHAIRMAN. Precisely at that time it was the suggestion of the committee.5 below shall be adopted by the vote of the majority of the Directors present and constituting a quorum. number one. I went through your JVA and I found some provisions peculiar and interesting. between the joint venturers[. the Oversight Committee that major decisions or decisions concerning technical matters. But vice versa is expected because you only have two votes. insofar as the technical aspect is concerned. If TIM needs to secure one more vote from you before they can do anything. MELO. local. which provides as follows: 4. except as otherwise provided by law. RAFANAN. it’s only – it’s the foreign company. baka ho hindi naman expert ‘yung local partner sa ano – so we follow that. And so the dispersal or the deployment of the machines will be another matter . Yes. Number two. We discussed this before[. As far as matters other than those provided in Article 4. concerning the machines will have to be made by Smartmatic. under your JVA[.5 are concerned. I suppose they have just met in this particular venture and so they do not know each other very well. The following exchanges from their June 23.4 Resolution on matters other than those set forth in Article 4. Revision of Codes and Laws. otherwise. vice versa. can secure the vote of Smartmatic. Sir.

c. THE SENATE PRESIDENT. I’ll give you an example. Voters make their choices by using a pencil or a pen to mark the ballot. to be fair. The COMELEC Advisory Council – created by RA 9369 to recommend to the . appointing of officials. if they can be removed. as an added means to protect their respective interests in the joint venture.11 of the JVA. But wherever it is coming from. x x x Approval of financial plans.) Petitioners also find objectionable Smartmatic’s sole right to nominate the Treasurer. THE SENATE PRESIDENT. approval of financial statements. A quick overview of the optical scan technology is in order. Pursuant to Article 4. As a lawyer. borrowing. the objection conveniently disregards the fact that. Financial. voters put the ballots into the tabulation equipment. Sir.. as required by Section 12 of RA 8436. all certifications to be [83] issued must bear the signatures of both the Corporate Secretary and the Assistant Corporate Secretary. The central-count system (via the CCOS machines) was used during the 2008 elections in all the provinces of the ARMM except in Maguindanao. Optical scan or “Marksense” technology has been used for decades for standardized tests such as the [85] Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). If ballots are centrally counted. after the polls close. if they do not have that veto power. Entering into or terminating an agreement involving technology transfer. Corporate Secretary and the Chairman of the Board. which [88] scans and tallies the votes. which are transported to a [89] central tally location or are electronically transmitted from the polling place to the central tally location. If ballots are counted at the polling place. However. The optical scan ballot is a paper-based technology that relies on computers in the counting and canvassing process. Smartmatic is in fact obliged to cause its Directors to vote for the officers chosen by TIM. we have done that before in many cases in order to protect. (Emphasis supplied.case of – You know. xxxx THE CHAIRMAN. Moreover. These tallies can be captured in removable storage media.. So I suppose that is intended to protect themselves. from my experience. Approval of operating capital expenditures and budgets for the year. election officials transfer the sealed [90] boxes to the central location where they run the ballots through the tabulation equipment. delegation of powers to directors. the local company. xxxx THE CHAIRMAN. and TIM’s corresponding duty to elect said nominees. officers and delegation of powers to committees. and. etcetera. election or removal of corporate officers – [We are] not talking technical here yet. to maintain the balance of power. which may be located either at the precinct (in “precinct-count” systems) or at some central location (“central -count” [87] systems). typically by [86] filling in an oval or by drawing a straight line to connect two parts of an arrow. already has three votes. TIM in turn has the sole right to nominate the President and Chief Executive Officer and the Assistant Corporate Secretary of the joint venture [82] corporation. you are dealing here with a certain magnitude of financial benefits. [84] as amended. In fine. voters drop ballots into sealed boxes. to be equitable to the people who are coming here [81] for the first time or who are dealing with people that they do not know very well. This is what they will on requiring [Smartmatic’s] one vote even if TIM. The ballots are counted by scanners. Smartmatic and TIM further agreed that for the validity of the resolutions contained therein. the provisions assailed by Petitioners are reasonable under the circumstances and should be upheld as legitimate minority protection devices. THE CHAIRMAN. As collectivity ha. Yes. x x x xxxx THE CHAIRMAN.6 “Prior Successful Use” qualification has been complied with The petitioners postulate that the PCOS machines offered by the Smartmatic TIM Corporation have not been successfully used in an electoral exercise in the Philippines or abroad. the 60 percent can kick them out after they get the contract. THE SENATE PRESIDENT.

] it is totally different from a CCOS [machine].” as follows: ITEM 1 2 [98] [94] REQUIREMENT Does the system allow manual feeding of a ballot into the PCOS machine? Does the system scan a ballot sheet at the speed of at least 2.’ Let me preface my discussion of this issue by accentuating once more the core of RA 8346. arguing that these were issued not to the Smartmatic-TIM joint venture. the prior successful use requirement has been adequately met. with the assistance of the COMELEC Advisory Council. In light of this background. I answer in the affirmative. as amended. With due respect. an evaluation system to ascertain that the minimum system capabilities are met. the United States of America. in an entirely speculative exercise.. I find this argument meritless. The COMELEC did in fact adopt a rigid technical evaluation system composed of twenty-six criteria. since the votes will be counted in the precinct itself and the results electronically transmitted to the municipal. Section 6 of the same law directs the COMELEC to develop and adopt.7 COMELEC’s determination as to minimum systems capabilities of the PCOS machines must be respected This Court is neither constitutionally permitted nor institutionally outfitted to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the system or of the nuances of the available technology. the AES procured by COMELEC for the 2010 elections has been successfully used in prior electoral exercises in (i) New Brunswick. but for their sweeping and convenient conclusion that “[e]ven if a PCOS [machine] is an OMR [Optical Mark Reader] [93] [machine]. for it foists unto the law an imaginary requirement. In carrying out this mandate. and cost -effective technology” to be used in the automation of elections – deployed various monitors from the DOST. Considering that the system subject of the certifications is the same one procured by the COMELEC for the 2010 elections. Then. and the COMELEC Advisory Council eventually determined that these machines sufficiently complied with the minimum systems configuration [92] specified in Section 6 of RA 9369. The petitioners nevertheless question the certifications submitted to this effect. which translated to 11. c. In this [97] regard. planning. the TWG ascertained that the PCOS machines “ PASSED all tests as required in the 26-item criteria. Canada. against [96] which the procured AES was benchmarked by the TWG to determine its viability and concomitant security. all of which are peculiarly within the province of the legislative and the executive branches of government. In any event. The CCOS machines were assessed before and during the actual elections. Canada. the question is whether the central-count system used in 2008 may be considered as substantial compliance with the “prior successful use” qualification set forth in Section 12 of RA 8436.COMELEC the “appropriate. As the COMELEC correctly observed. Tellingly. and (iii) New York. has the sole prerogative to choose which AES to utilize.” the petitioners were silent on this point. (ii) Ontario. The sole difference is that the PCOS machines dispense with the physical transportation of the ballots to the designated counting centers. Smartmatic TIM Corporation) should have been the one that previously used or employed the system. but to a third party – Dominion Voting Systems. Scanning the 30-inch ballot took 2. and the commitment of resources. It is obvious that the PCOS and CCOS machines are based on the same optical scan technology. they conjure a perturbing series of doomsday scenarios that would allegedly result from using this particular technology: ‘unaddressed logistical nightmares. It is ill-equipped to deal with the complex and difficult problems of election administration.75 inches per second? REMARK / DESCRIPTION Yes. not that the provider (i. . This inordinately difficult undertaking requires expertise.11 inches per second. provincial and national Board of Canvassers. secure. At any rate. as amended. A 30-inch ballot was used in this test.’ ‘failure of elections. what the law requires is that the system must have been successfully utilized in a prior electoral exercise. PPCRV and Consortium on Electoral Reforms to observe the usability of the technologies used in the ARMM elections as well as to observe the electoral process in [91] general. The petitioners contend that the PCOS machines do not comply with the minimum system capabilities set forth by Section 6 of RA 8436. as amended: the COMELEC.e. an independent Constitutional Commission armed with specialized knowledge born of years of [95] experience in the conduct of elections.’ and ‘massive disenfranchisement. applicable.7 seconds. The proposed PCOS machine accepted the test ballots which were manually fed one at a time. the clear terms of the Licensing Agreement between Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems indicate that the former is the entity licensed exclusively by the latter to use the system in the Philippines. Yes. nevertheless[.

650 ballots (with 20. Yes.3 Is the system able to capture and store in an encrypted format the digital images of the ballot for at least 2.000-mark [requirement] was not met thereby requiring the test to be repeated.000 ballot sides (1. on other instructions and information to the voter/operator. 20. The system captured the images of 1. During the comparison of the PCOS-generated results with the manually prepared/predetermined results. Yes.000 marks were required to complete this test. with multiple user access levels? Does the system have an electronic display? 9 10 Does the system employ error handling procedures.000 ballot sides. the use of error prompts and other related instructions? Does the system count the voter’s vote as marked on the ballot with an accuracy rating of at least 99. with built-in printer and built-in data communication ports (Ethernet and USB). but not limited to. A portion of a filled[-]up marked oval was blown up using image editor software to reveal the number of dots per inch. which also yielded 100% accuracy. Two rounds of tests were conducted for this test using only valid marks/shades on the ballots. Both were rejected by the PCOS. Although the PCOS-generated results turned out to be 100% accurate. Yes. the 20. The same were found to be digitalized representations of the ballots cast.800 marks) were used for the next round of test. it was found out that there were seven (7) marks which were inadvertently missed out during ballot preparation by the TWG. if a ballot is being processed. 19.000 ballots. Yes. with only one (1) allowable reading error.995 %? 11 Does the system detect and reject fake or spurious. Yes. exceeding the required 4-bit/16 levels of gray as specified in Bid Bulletin No. Yes. 20 of which were recognized. and previously–scanned ballots? 12 Does the system scan both sides of a ballot . Yes. Each of the 1. or when there was a ballot jam error. such as. decrypted copies of the encrypted files were also provided. 625 ballots with 32 marks each were used for this test.000 image files contained the images of the front and back sides of the ballot. File properties of the decrypted image file also revealed 200 dpi. but not limited to. The system required the use of a security key with different sets of passwords/PINs for Administrator and Operator users. The proposed PCOS is a fully integrated single device. The PCOS machine makes use of an LCD display to show information: if a ballot may be inserted into the machine. Yes. To verify the captured ballot images. The sample image showed 200 dpi. This test made use of one (1) photocopied ballot and one (1) “re-created” ballot. totaling 2. 4 of Component 1B? Does the system have a scanning resolution of at least 200 dpi? 6 Does the system scan in grayscale? 7 8 Does the system require authorization and authentication of all operators.000 test ballots in encrypted format. To prepare for other possible missed out marks. Four (4) ballots with valid marks were fed into the 4 5 Is the system a fully integrated single device as described in item no. usernames and passwords. including. if a ballot is being rejected. The test for the rejection of previouslyscanned (sic) ballots was done during the end-to-end demonstration. The PCOS showed error messages on its screen whenever a ballot is rejected by the machine and gives instructions to the voter on what to do next. with back to back printing)? Yes. Yes. 30 shades of gray were scanned in the test PCOS machine.

using a pencil. holograms. 4 (either back or front. Yes. three (3) test ballots with tampered bar codes and timing marks were used and were all rejected by the PCOS machine. This mark was also recognized by the PCOS 14 Are the names of the candidates pre-printed on the ballot? 15 Does each side of the ballot sheet accommodate at least 300 names of candidates with a minimum font size of 10. micro printing. contained 309 names for the national positions and 300 names for local positions. including members of the media. A separate ballot with one (1) pencil mark was also tested. upside down or right side up). The photocopied ballot in the test for Item No. Arial Narrow. One (1) test ballot with one check mark. but not limited to. in addition to other mandatory information required by law? 16 17 Does the system recognize full shade marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? Does the system recognize partial shade marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? 18 19 20 Does the system recognize check marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? Does the system recognize x marks on the appropriate space on the ballot opposite the name of the candidate to be voted for? Does the system recognize both pencil and ink marks on the ballot? . This type of test ballot was also used for test voting by the public. Both were 8. 11 was not able to replicate the UV ink pattern on the top portion of the ballot[. 10). One (1) yes ballot with one x mark. left half shade. Yes. and right half shade[. using a pencil.] causing the rejection of the ballot. was used for this test. Yes. The system was able to recognize if the security features on the ballot are “missing”. bottom half shade. The mark was recognized successfully. also for fourteen (14) positions. 10) were marked using the proposed marking pen by the bidder. which can be recognized by the system? PCOS machine in the four (4) portrait orientations specified in Bid Bulletin No. such as. Yes. Yes. The first showed 108 pre-printed candidate names for fourteen (14) contests / positions. which made use of full shade marks. the use of bar codes. was used for this test. Yes. was used in the printing of the candidate names. 11). The 30-inch ballot. which was used to test Item No. and a plebiscite question. Yes. to be provided on the ballot.] These partial shade marks were all recognized by the PCOS machine. were also used in this test and were accurately recognized by the PCOS machine. The ballots used for the accuracy test (Item No. Four (4) test ballots were used with one (1) mark each per ballot showing the following pencil marks: top half shade. 2. including two (2) survey questions on gender and age group. color shifting ink. Two sample test ballots of different lengths were provided: one (1) was 14 inches long while the other was 30 inches long. The other showed 609 pre-printed candidate names.and in any orientation in one pass? 13 Does the system have necessary safeguards to determine the authenticity of a ballot. font size 10. including three (3) survey questions. The 1000 ballots used in the accuracy test (Item No. and all were accurately captured. Aside from the test on the fake or spurious ballots (Item No. The total pre-printed names on the ballot totaled 609. The mark was recognized successfully. Yes.5 inches wide.

creation of election configuration data for the PCOS and the CCS usingEMS. Yes. starting from the initialization to the printing of the reports. generation of reports and backup using the PCOS. covering: importing of election data into the EMS.] was compared with the predetermined result. After resumption of the regular power supply. The initial test had to be repeated due to a short circuit.. ballot images. which will enable it to fully operate for at least 12 hours? 23 24 25 Is the system capable of generating and printing reports? 26 Did the bidder successfully demonstrateEMS. creation of ballot faces using EMS.] which [reports] include: 1. The PCOS saves a backup copy of the ERs. PCOS Statistical Report 4. such that it was left “hanging” in the ballot reader.21 In a simulation of a system shut down. Demo model) . This was explained by TIM-Smartmatic to be (sic) caused by non-computable wiring of the battery to the PCOS. The PCOS was able to transmit to the CCS during the end-to-end demonstration using [a] Globe prepaid [i]nternet kit. as generated by the PCOS[. The following day. the PCOS machine was able to restart successfully with notification to the operator that there were two (2) ballots already cast rd in the machine. Yes. 18 and 19 were made using pencil marks on the ballots. after seven (7) hours from start-up without ballot scanning. A 12-volt 18AH battery lead acid was used in this test. The PCOS machine was connected to regular power and started up successfully. Moreover. The ER. o from the city/municipal CCS to the provincial 22 Does the system have transmission and consolidation/canvassing capabilities? Does the system generate a backup copy of the generated reports. Yes. Election Returns (ER) 3. consolidation/canvassing and transmission? (see B. configuring the PCOS and the CCS using the EMSgenerated election configuration file. Audit Log Yes. 984 ballots were fed into the machine. voting. Two (2) COMELEC electricians were called to confirm TIM-Smartmatic’s explanation. The marks on all five (5) were all accurately recognized. Initialization Report 2. showing 100% accuracy. does the system have error recovery features? machine. 17. the tests for Items No. The “hanging” 3 ballot was returned to the operator and was able to be re-fed into the PCOS machine. The PCOS prints reports via its built-in printer[. Yes. counting. in a removable data storage device? Does the system have alternative power sources. An end-to-end demonstration of all proposed systems was presented. statistical report and audit log into a Compact Flash (CF) card. : o from the PCOS to city/municipal CCS and to the central server. Five (5) ballots were used in this test. The power rd cord was pulled from the PCOS while the 3 ballot was in the middle of the scanning procedure. electronic transmission of results . A smaller wire than what is required was inadvertently used. Yes. the “re-test” was completed in 12 hours and 40 minutes.. likening the situation to incorrect wiring of a car battery. initialization. operation.

CCS; o from the provincial CCS to the national CCS; receipt and canvass of transmitted results: o by the city/municipal CCS from the PCOS; o by the provincial CCS from the city/municipal CCS; o by the national CCS from the provincial CCS; receipt of transmitted results by the central server from the PCOS We cannot close our eyes to the fact that the TWG’s technical evaluation of the AES was corroborated by knowledgeable and impartial third parties: the law-mandated Official Observers. In their respective reports to the COMELEC, the PPCRV and the Office of the Ombudsman found the system procured and the attendant COMELEC proceedings to be consistent, transparent, and in consonance with the relevant laws, jurisprudence and the terms of [99] reference. Accordingly, I do not find any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC in awarding the Automation Contract to the Smartmatic TIM Corporation. It has approved the PCOS system, and we are bereft of the right to supplant its judgment. Hoary is the principle that the courts will not interfere in matters that are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under their special [100] [101] technical knowledge and training. Our disquisition in the seminal case Sumulong v. COMELEC again finds cogent application: The Commission on Elections is a constitutional body. It is intended to play a distinct and important part in our scheme of government. In the discharge of its functions, it should not be hampered with restrictions that would be fully warranted in the case of a less responsible organization. The Commission may err, so this court may also. It should be allowed considerable latitude in devising means and methods that will insure the accomplishment of the greater objective for which it was created – free, orderly and honest elections. We may not fully agree with its choice of means but unless these are clearly illegal or constitute gross abuse of discretion, this court should not interfere . Politics is a practical matter, and political questions must be dealt with realistically – not from the standpoint of pure theory. The Commission on Elections, because of its fact-finding facilities, its contacts with political strategists, and its knowledge derive from actual experience in dealing with political controversies, is in a peculiarly advantageous position to decide complex political questions. xxxx There are no ready-made formulas for solving public problems. Time and experience are necessary to evolve patterns that will serve the ends of good government. In the matter of the administration of the laws relative to the conduct of elections, ..., we must not by any excessive zeal take away from the Commission on Elections the initiative which by constitutional and legal mandates properly belongs to it. Due regard to the independent character of the Commission, as ordained in the Constitution, requires that the power of this Court to review the acts of that body should, as a general proposition, be used sparingly, but firmly in appropriate cases. We are not satisfied that the present suit is one of such cases. (Emphasis supplied.) As the ultimate guardian of the Constitution, we have the distinguished but delicate duty of determining and [102] defining constitutional meaning, divining constitutional intent, and deciding constitutional disputes. Nonetheless, this power does not spell judicial superiority (for the judiciary is co-equal with the other branches) or judicial tyranny [103] (for it is supposed to be the least dangerous branch). Thus, whenever the Court exercises its function of checking [104] the excesses of any branch of government, it is also duty-bound to check itself. The system of divided and interlocking powers of the branches of government are carefully blended so as to produce a complex system of checks and balances that preserve the autonomy of each branch, without which independence can become supremacy. Petitioners disparage the technical test and end-to-end demonstration conducted by the COMELEC for having been done merely for media mileage. This baseless accusation is easily dismissed by repairing to the presumption of regularity of official acts. As we ruled in The Province of Agusan del Norte v. Commission on Elections, et al.:

Appropriately, the Constitution invests the COMELEC with broad power to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite and other electoral exercises. In the discharge of its legal duties, the COMELEC is provided by the law with tools, ample wherewithal, and considerable latitude in adopting means that will ensure the accomplishment of the great objectives for which it was created — to promote free, orderly and [105] honest elections. Conceived by the charter as the effective instrument to preserve the sanctity of popular suffrage, endowed with independence and all the needed concomitant powers, COMELEC deserves to be accorded by the Court the greatest measure of presumption of regularity in its course of action and choice of means in performing its duties, to the end that it may achieve its designed place in the democratic fabric of our [106] government. (Emphasis supplied.) The COMELEC is a constitutional body, mandated to play a distinct and important role in the governmental scheme. In the performance of its constitutional duties, it must be given a range of authority and flexibility, for the art of good government requires cooperation and harmony among the branches. We may not agree fully with the choices and decisions that the COMELEC makes, but absent any constitutional assault, statutory breach or grave abuse of discretion, we should never substitute our judgment for its own. c.8 No abdication by the COMELEC of its duty to enforce election laws

The petitioners assert that the COMELEC abdicated its constitutional duty to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections, and to decide all questions affecting elections when it entered into the Automation Contract with Smartmatic TIM Corporation. Article 3.3 of the contract for the 2010 Elections Automation Project provides: Article 3.3 The PROVIDER shall be liable for all its obligations under this Project, and the performance of portions thereof by other persons or entities not parties to this Contract shall not relieve the PROVIDER of said obligations and concomitant liabilities. SMARTMATIC, as the joint venture partner with the greater track record in automated elections, shall be in charge of the technical aspects of the counting and canvassing software and hardware, including transmission configuration and system integration. SMARTMATIC shall also be primarily responsible for preventing and troubleshooting technical problems that may arise during the election. The PROVIDER must provide to SMARTMATIC at all times the support required to perform the above responsibilities. (Emphasis supplied.) Petitioners claim that under this Article 3.3, the COMELEC has surrendered to Smartmatic the supervision and control of the system to be used for the AES in violation of section 26 of RA 8436. The petitioners also refer to COMELEC Bid Bulletin No. 10, which was made an integral part of the [108] Automation Contract by virtue of Articles 21.1 and 21.4 of the contract. Bid Bulletin No. 10 provides that the “digital signature shall be assigned by the winning bidder to all members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BOI) and the city, municipal, provincial or district Board of Canvassers (BOC).” Since Smartmatic would have access to the digital signatures and would have the authority to assign the access keys to the BEI and BOC, the petitioners readily conclude that the COMELEC has abdicated its constitutional mandate to enforce election laws. What the petitioners failed to consider is that, although the digital signature shall be assigned by the winning bidder, Bid Bulletin No. 10 further provides that the certificate of authority for the digital signatures must still be approved by the COMELEC. Thus, the COMELEC retains control over the process of generation and distribution of the digital signatures. Abdication denotes a relinquishment or surrender of authority, which has not been done by the COMELEC. Part II of the TOR/RFP provides: The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), through its Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), is currently accepting bids for the lease, with an option to purchase, of an automated election system (AES) that will meet the following needs:
[107]

xxxx 6. A complete solutions provider, and not just a vendor, which can provide experienced and effective overall nationwide project management service and total customer support (covering all areas of project implementation including technical support, training, information campaign support, civil and electrical works service, warehousing, deployment, installation and pullout, contingency planning, etc.), under COMELEC supervision and control, to ensure effective and successful implementation of the Project. (Emphasis supplied.)

The COMELEC identified the type of technology, specifications and capabilities of the system to be used in the 2010 elections; and the bidders were required to submit their bids in accordance with the COMELEC’s stipulations. All the choices made by the winning bidder were to be subject to approval by the COMELEC, and “the [109] final design and functionality of the system shall still be subject to [its] final customization requirements.” It is clear that the COMELEC has not abdicated its constitutional and legal mandate to control and supervise the elections. Smartmatic and TIM are merely service providers or lessors of goods and services to the Commission. Indeed, Article 6.7 of the Automation Contract, provides that “the entire process of voting, counting, transmission, consolidation and canvassing of votes shall be conducted by COMELEC’s personnel and officials.” This control and supervision by the COMELEC was assured in the June 23, 2009 hearing of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes and Laws. This is reflected in the following exchange between Senator Francis Escudero and COMELEC Executive Director Jose Tolentino, thus: “THE CHAIRMAN. Will you deputize the workforce of the winning bidder? Or are you going to deputize by way of additional technological support the students? MR. TOLENTINO. It would be the students, Mr. Chairman, whom we will deputize. With respect to the providers (sic) technical support, we consider them as partners. So, there is really no need for us to deputize them because the supervision and control over the counting center would be solely on the part of the Comelec. THE CHAIRMAN. Pero pwede ho nilang pakialaman ‘yung makina, hindi po ba? Puwede nilang kalikutin ‘yon, galawin ‘yon, kasi nga – kung may palpak, di ba? So they’re employees of Smartmatic without any counterpart authorization or deputization from Comelec. So, anyone can just walk in [and] say, “I am an employee of Smartmatic. Something is wrong with the machine. I’ll check it.” MR. TOLENTINO. No. It doesn’t work that way, Mr. Chairman. First of all, aside from our EO who would be going around all over the municipality to check on the polling centers, Comelec aside from our Information Technology Department personnel, would also be going around to determine the status of the machines on election day. And I am even sure that the watchers of the political parties and the candidates will [not] allow anyone to touch a machine if he is not a member of the Board of Election Inspector (sic). THE CHAIRMAN. But sir, the workforce of on-site technicians are not allowed to touch the machines? Something is wrong with the machine, who is authorized to... MR. TOLENTINO. Yes, sir. Only when there is a problem with the machine. THE CHAIRMAN. Precisely my point, sir. So, then these people be at least known to Comelec. MR. TOLENTINO. Yes, Mr. Chairman. In fact, they’ll be given appropriate identification cards... THE CHAIRMAN. From Comelec. MR. TOLENTINO. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRMAN. That was my question, sir. Because you said a while ago, they’re employees only of Smartmatic and you have BEI, anyway. So, ... under the control and supervision din sila ng Comelec. MR. TOLENTINO. Yes, Mr. Chairman. THE CHAIRMAN. Yes.” (Emphasis supplied.) Finally, the power and duty of the COMELEC to administer election laws and to have control and supervision over the automated elections is not incompatible with the decision to subcontract services that may be better performed by those who are well-equipped to handle complex technological matters with respect to the implementation of the AES. The subcontractor cannot act independently of the COMELEC. D. Conclusion We are not unaware of the many doomsday scenarios peddled by doubting Thomases if the coming May 2010 elections will be fully automated. To downgrade these scenarios, let it be emphasized that the PCOS System procured by COMELEC is a paper-based system. It has a provision for system auditability and a voter-verified paper trail. The official ballots may be compared with their digital images stored in the memory cards. All actions done on the machine are stored and can be printed out by the BEI chairperson as an audit log, which includes time stamps. And in the event of problems arising from non-functioning PCOS machines, the official ballots cast in the precincts, which have previously been fed into the locked ballot box, could be used for a manual recount. With these safeguards, the fear of automation failure should not overwhelm us. We have been bedevilled in the past by elections that are not free, fair and honest. These elections have made a mockery of our democracy for they frustrated the sovereign right of the people to choose who ought to rule them. These elections have also resulted in instability of governments whose legitimacy has been placed in doubt. All these elections were conducted manually. For the first time, we shall be conducting our May 2010 elections through full automation. To be sure, full automation will not completely cleanse the dirt in our electoral system. But it is a big forward step which can lead us to the gateway of real democracy where the vote of the people is sacred and supreme. Accordingly, I vote to DISMISS the petition.
[110]

REYNATO S. PUNO Chief Justice

The application forms shall be returned duly accomplished to the Commission on Elections not later than April 25. WHEREAS. which allows members of the board of election inspectors to vote in the polling place where they are assigned on election day. (2) at least 18 years of age. Section 1. Sec. however. Disqualifications. . That he shall regain his right to vote automatically upon expiration of five years after service of sentence. 881. EO 157 – LOCAL ABSENTEE VOTING LAW PROVIDING FOR ABSENTEE VOTING BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF GOVERNMENT WHO ARE AWAY FROM THE PLACES OF THEIR REGISTRATION BY REASON OF OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS ON ELECTION DAY. This specification is an implied prohibition against interference on the part of Congress in the right of suffrage. and that Congress may not add or alter the qualifications of voters under Art. WHEREAS. the right of suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines who are: (1) not otherwise disqualified by law. That any person disqualified to vote under this paragraph shall automatically reacquire the right to vote upon expiration of five years after service of sentence. Omnibus Election Code Sec. The list and the request shall be under oath. the appropriate head of office shall submit to the Commission on Elections a list of officers and employees of the office who are registered voters.VOTERS QUALIFICATIONS FOR SUFFRAGE Under Art. 4. V. I. WHEREAS. property or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. Upon verification of the applications. NOW. unless restored to his full civil and political rights in accordance with law: Provided. under certain conditions. under the electoral law now in force the rule is that a person has to be physically present in the polling place whereof he is a registered voter in order to be able to vote. Sec. or any crime against national security. The same provision provides that no literacy. WHEREAS. and under existing rules. with the request that said officers and employees be provided with application forms to cast absentee ballots in their place of assignment. by reason of public functions and duties. Sec. The head of the office shall prepare a sworn report on the manner of distribution of the absentee ballots. Upon verification by the Commission on Elections that the persons included in the list are qualified voters. 1 of the 1987 Constitution. Sec. Sec. Sec. 1 of the 1987 Constitution. by reason of their duties and functions. WHEREAS. violation of the anti-subversion and firearms laws. the names of the persons to whom the absentee . the democratic principle requires the broadest participation in electoral and similar exercises by persons who have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to vote. and (3) have resided in the Philippines for at least 1 year. and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least 6 months immediately preceding the election. (c) Insane or incompetent persons as declared by competent authority. the Commission shall transmit the exact number of absentee ballots to the appropriate head of the government office for distribution to the applicants. are assigned on election day in places other than their place of registration. Any person who by reason of public functions and duties. and who desire to exercise their right to vote. 5. is not in his/her place of registration on election day.The following shall be disqualified from voting: (a) Any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment for not less than one year. the only exception is that established by Section 169 of Batas Pambansa Blg. indicating therein the number of ballots transmitted to each province. 118. President of the Philippines. 1987. V. and who. sedition. government officials and employees who are assigned to places other than their place of registration must not be deprived of their right to participate in electoral exercises. 6. 2. THEREFORE. do hereby order. AQUINO. Sec. are thus unable to vote. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or granted amnesty: Provided. (b) Any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by competent court or tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government such as rebellion. will be in places other than their place of registration. DISQUALIFICATIONS FOR SUFFRAGE Section 118. CORAZON C. Thirty (30) days before the election. there are other persons who. it shall transmit the exact number of application forms to the head of the office making the request. 3. that he/she is a duly registered voter. may vote in the city/municipality where he/she is assigned on election day: provided.

APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR. 12. "Commission" refers to the Commission on Elections. 1987 shall apply to the elections for President. The Commission on Elections shall canvass the votes cast by absentee voters and shall add the results of the same to the votes reported throughout the country. Declaration of Policy. For the purpose of the 1987 congressional election. orders. This list shall be approved by the Commission in an en banc resolution. c. They shall do so by delivering to the Commission on Elections Regional Director. The Commission shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement this Executive Order. 157 dated March 30. said list to be prepared by the Committee on Absentee Voting of the Commission. Sec. Vice-President and Senators only and shall be limited to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police and other government officers and employees who are duly registered voters and who. 9. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately. 10. "Day of Election" refers to the actual date of elections in the Philippines. e. RA 9189 – OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING ACT Republic Act No. Sec." Sec. Sec. Sec. 13. rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with this Executive Order are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. the one containing the absentee ballots indicating only that it is an envelope of the Commission on Elections. Towards this end. Sec. AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled: Section 1. d. issuances. – It is the prime duty of the State to provide a system of honest and orderly overseas absentee voting that upholds the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot. may temporarily be assigned in connection with the performance of election duties to place where they are not registered voters. the State ensures equal opportunity to all qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad in the exercise of this fundamental right. 9189 February 13. It shall be accompanied by a certificate of eligibility to vote absentee for each particular voter. 2003 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING BY QUALIFIED CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES ABROAD. 8. Section 12. 12. The Commission on Elections official concerned to whom the absentee vote is delivered shall immediately transmit by the fastest means available to the Commission on Elections the special Commission on Elections absentee ballot within two security envelopes so that the same are in the central office of the Commission one day before the elections. "National Registry of Absentee Voters" refers to the consolidated list prepared. on a country-by-country basis. of overseas absentee voters whose applications for registration as absentee voters. All laws. 7. Sec. The transmittal letter shall indicate the names of the persons who cast the absentee votes. their voter’s affidavit numbers and their certificates of eligibility to vote absentee. 2. . including those . and shall continue to govern the voting privilege of members of the board of election inspectors. Definition of Terms. The voters who cast absentee voters shall vote one week before election day. Absentee Voting. the absentee voters shall vote only for candidates for senator. Sec. b. Section 169 of Batas Pambansa Blg.ballots are delivered. and the serial numbers of the ballots. 11. – For purposes of this Act: a. and the other envelope indicating the name of the absentee voter and his/her affidavit number. "Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters" refers to the list of registered overseas absentee voters whose applications to vote in absentia have been approved by the Commission.Absentee voting as provided for in Executive Order No. 3. "Absentee Voting" refers to the process by which qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad exercise their right to vote. or the Provincial Election Supervisor or the City or Municipal Election Registrar of the place of their assignment the special Commission on Elections absentee ballot within two security envelopes. 881 shall remain in force and effect. approved and maintained by the Commission. Sec. – This Act shall be known as "The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. Short Title. RA 7166 Sec. on election day.

That any person disqualified to vote under this subsection shall automatically acquire the right to vote upon expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence. Those who have lost their Filipino citizenship in accordance with Philippine laws. taking into strict consideration the time zones and the various periods and processes herein provided for the proper implementation of this Act. 6.1. consulates and other foreign service establishments that have jurisdiction over the locality where they temporarily reside. "Overseas Absentee Voter" refers to a citizen of the Philippines who is qualified to register and vote under this Act. Failure to return shall be the cause for the removal of the name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. may personally apply for registration with the Election Registration Board of the city or municipality where they were domiciled immediately prior to their departure from the Philippines. consulates or foreign service establishments concerned. the notice of which shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the premises of the city or municipal building of . however. not otherwise disqualified by law. Those who have committed and are convicted in a final judgment by a court or tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of not less than one (1) year. That the Commission may take cognizance of final judgments issued by foreign courts or tribunals only on the basis of reciprocity and subject to the formalities and processes prescribed by the Rules of Court on execution of judgments. 8189. after which the Commission shall coordinate with the Election Officer of the city or municipality of the applicant’s stated residence for verification. Disqualifications. Sec. All applications for the May. the Election Officer shall immediately set the application for hearing. the Commission is hereby authorized to prescribe additional procedures for overseas absentee registration pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. otherwise known as the "The Voters Registration Act of 1996". senators and party-list representatives. whenever applicable. For succeeding elections. vice-president. Personal Overseas Absentee Registration. unless such competent authority subsequently certifies that such person is no longer insane or incompetent. f. 4. who is abroad on the day of elections. Sec. 2004 elections shall be filed with the Commission not later than two hundred eighty (280) calendar days before the day of elections. 2. have been approved by the Election Registered Board. 5. The embassies. as verified by the Philippine embassies. further. Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and who have pledged allegiance to a foreign country. including those who have committed and been found guilty of Disloyalty as defined under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. the Commission shall provide for the period within which applications to register must be filed.registered voters who have applied to be certified as absentee voters. Upon receipt of the application for registration. Subject to the specific guidelines herein provided. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty. may vote for president. upon registration. – Registration as an overseas absentee voter shall be done in person. the Commission shall provide a special mechanism for the time and manner of personal registration taking into consideration the nature of their work. In the case of seafarers. Provided. An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country. Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. 4. – All citizens of the Philippines abroad. – The following shall be disqualified from voting under this Act: 1. 6. Qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad who failed to register under Republic Act No. or with the representative of the Commission at the Philippine embassies. at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day of elections. an affidavit prepared for the purpose by the Commission declaring that he/she shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration under this Act. Sec. who are not otherwise disqualified by law. Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority in the Philippines or abroad. unless he/she executes. hearing and annotation in the permanent list of voters. 3. Coverage. 5. consulates and other foreign service establishments shall transmit within (5) days from receipt the accomplished registration forms to the Commission. 8189. Provided.

Requirements for Registration. or that the applicant is a holder of a valid passport but is unable to produce the same for a valid reason. If the application has been approved. If the application has been disapproved. the Commission shall optimize the use of existing facilities. 6. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. 8189 shall apply for certification as absentee voters and for inclusion in the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. with a corresponding annotation in the Certified Voters’ List. Commission on Filipinos Overseas and other appropriate agencies of the government shall be utilized for purposes of supporting the overseas absentee registration and voting processes. information dissemination and facilitation of the registration process. Address of applicant abroad. If no verified objection to the application is filed.4. 6. . within a period of five (5) days from receipt of the notice of disapproval. which shall decide on the application within one (1) week from the date of hearing without waiting for the quarterly meeting of the Board. if any. Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration. Last known residence of the applicant in the Philippines before leaving for abroad. any interested party may file a petition for exclusion not later than two hundred ten (210) days before the day of elections with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court. 6. The petition shall be decided within fifteen (15) days after its filing on the basis of the documents submitted in connection therewith. 7.the applicant’s stated residence for at least one (1) week befor e the date of the hearing. counter-affidavit and documents submitted by the party objecting and those of the applicant. who have previously registered as voters pursuant to Republic Act No. The applicant shall have the right to file his counter-affidavit by registered mail. The Commission shall include the approved applications in the National Registry of Absentee Voters. the ruling of the Election Registration Board shall be considered affirmed. the Election Officer shall notify the applicant of said objection by registered mail. clearly stating therein facts and defenses sworn before any officer in the host country authorized to administer oaths. Accomplished registration form prescribed by the Commission containing the following mandatory information: i. or forwarding address in the case of seafarers. the applicant or his authorized representative shall. Pre-departure programs.6. The application shall be approved or disapproved based on the merits of the objection. A valid Philippine passport. In the absence of a valid passport. the Election Officer shall immediately forward the application to the Election Registration Board. including those certified as registered voters. Should the court fail to render a decision within the prescribed period.7. b. – The Commission shall ensure that the benefits of the system of continuing registration are extended to qualified overseas absentee voters. Sec. 8. subject to limitations imposed by law. The Election Officer shall immediately furnish a copy of the application to the designated representatives of political parties and other accredited groups. In the event that an objection to the application is filed prior to or on the date of hearing. Department of Labor and Employment. 6. services and mechanisms offered and administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs. System of Continuing Registration. The applicant shall be notified of the approval or disapproval of his/her application by registered mail. – Every Filipino registrant shall be required to furnish the following documents: a.2. The petition shall be decided within five (5) days after its filing on the basis of documents submitted in connection therewith. Towards this end. personnel and mechanisms of the various government agencies for purposes of data gathering. enclosing therein copies of affidavits or documents submitted in support of the objection filed with the said Election Officer. Qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad. Sec.5 A Certificate of Registration as an overseas absentee voter shall be issued by the Commission to all applicants whose applications have been approved. ii. have the right to file a petition for inclusion with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court. 6.3. a certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs that it has reviewed the appropriate documents submitted by the applicant and found them sufficient to warrant the issuance of a passport. data validation. 6.

consulates and other foreign service establishments. and. Approved applications of overseas absentee registrants shall also be included in the permanent list of voters of the city or municipality where the registrant is domiciled. cause the publication in a newspaper of general circulation of the place. The Commission may also require additional data to facilitate registration and recording. a sworn written application to vote in a form prescribed by the Commission. c. 10. 11. Consular and diplomatic services rendered in connection with the overseas absentee voting processes shall be made available at no cost to the overseas absentee voter. Sec. 11. Notice of Registration and Election. No information other than those necessary to establish the identity and qualification of the applicant shall be required. – The Commission shall maintain a National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. consulate or foreign service establishment. The registry shall also include those registered under Republic Act No. within ten (10) days from receipt of the notice of disapproval. with the corresponding annotation that such person has been registered or will be voting as an overseas absentee voter. the voter or his authorized representative may file a Motion for Reconsideration with the Commission personally. at least six (6) months before the date set for the filing of applications for registration. Every qualified citizen of the Philippines abroad whose application for registration has been approved. Every application to vote in absentia may be done personally at. file with the officer of the embassy. The Commission shall determine the countries where publication shall be made. or by mail to. 9. National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. the Commission and the Department of Foreign Affairs shall post the same in their respective websites.1. In the event of disapproval of the application. date and time of the holding of a regular or special national election and the requirements for the participation of qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad.2. In the case of immigrants and permanent residents not otherwise disqualified to vote under this Act. – The Commission shall. – All applications shall be acted upon by the Commission upon receipt thereof.7 and Section 12 hereof. an affidavit declaring the intention to resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years after approval of his/her registration as an overseas absentee voter under this Act. but in no case later than one hundred fifty (150) days before the day of elections. – 11.1. 12. Such affidavit shall also state that he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country. or that his/her name be transferred to the regular registry of voters. which has jurisdiction over the country where he/she has indicated his/her address for purposes of the elections.2. the applicant’s mailing address outside the Philippines where the ballot for absentee voters will be sent. including those previously registered under Republic Act No. in proper cases. Where voting by mail is allowed. Verification and Approval of Application to Vote. The authorized officer of such embassy. 11. the embassy. or by registered mail. When an overseas absentee voter’s name was ordered removed by the Commission from the Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters for his/her failure to exercise his/her right to vote under this Act for two (2) consecutive national elections.3. Sec. shall. in every national election. through the embassies.iii. 9. or. When the overseas absentee voter files a letter under oath addressed to the Commission that he/she wishes to be removed from the Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters. 8189. 8189 and who have been issued certifications as overseas absentee voters. Name and address of applicant’s authorized representative in the Philippines for purposes of Section 6. and cannot be cancelled or amended except in any of the following cases: 9. Procedure for Application to Vote in Absentia. consulate or other foreign service establishment shall transmit to the Commission the said application to vote within five (5) days from receipt thereof. Sec. Likewise. Sec. The application form shall be accomplished in triplicate and submitted together with the photocopy of his/her overseas absentee voter certificate of registration. iv. and the frequency thereof. taking into consideration the number of overseas Filipinos present in such countries. The . The entries in the National Registry of Overseas Absentee Voters and the annotations as overseas absentee voters in the Certified Voters’ List shall be permanent. consulate or other foreign service establishment authorized by the Commission.

but in no case shall it exceed the total number of approved applications. 16. he/she shall make them available on the premises to the qualified overseas absentee voters in their respective jurisdictions during the thirty (30) days before the day of elections when overseas absentee voters may cast their vote. the candidates. 14.1. The Commission shall cause the printing of ballots for overseas absentee voters. as well as the limits on campaign spending shall be governed by the laws and regulations applicable in the Philippines. 14.4. The embassies. Sec.Commission shall act within five (5) days from receipt of such Motion for Reconsideration and shall immediately notify the voter of its decision. The decision of the Commission shall be final and executory. voting instructions. 16. along with such materials and election paraphernalia necessary to ensure the secrecy and integrity of the election.3. In the case of seafarers. in secret.1. consulates and other foreign service establishments shall be furnished copies thereof. Voting Instructions. Printing and Transmittal of Ballots. election forms and other election paraphernalia for scrutiny and inspection prior to their transmittal to the embassies. The Commission shall. 14. Sec. they shall cast their ballots anytime within sixty (60) days before the day of elections as prescribed in the Implementing Rules and Guidelines. – The Commission shall prepare the Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters within one hundred twenty (120) days before every election. Casting and Submission of Ballots.4. which shall post the same in their bulletin boards within ten (10) days from receipt thereof. All accomplished ballots received shall be placed unopened inside sealed containers and kept in a secure place designated by the Commission. the overseas absentee voter must fill-out his/her ballot personally. The overseas absentee voter shall cast his ballot. political parties. 13. Unclaimed ballots properly marked as such. not later than seventy-five (75) days before the day of elections. accredited citizens’ arms. consulate or other foreign service establishment that has jurisdiction over the country where he/she temporarily resides or at any polling place designated and accredited by the Commission. consulates and other foreign service establishments. transmittal. Preparation and Posting of Certified List of Overseas Absentee Voters. 15. Sec.2. 16. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned. specifically indicating the number of ballots they actually received. The authorized representatives of accredited major political parties shall have the right to be present in all phases of printing. Election Forms and Paraphernalia. Upon receipt by the designated officer of the embassy. – 16. – The use of campaign materials. the exact number of ballots for overseas absentee voters corresponding to the number of approved applications. 14. consulates and other foreign service establishments. interested persons and all embassies. election forms and other paraphernalia. 16. The Commission shall present to the authorized representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the accredited major political parties the ballots for overseas absentee voters. Subject to reasonable regulation and the payment of fees in such amounts as may be fixed by the Commission. within thirty (30) days before the day of elections. upon presentation of the absentee voter identification card issued by the Commission. consulate and other foreign service establishments of the ballots for overseas absentee voters. Immediately upon receiving it. Sec. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned. The overseas absentee voter shall personally accomplish his/her ballot at the embassy.2. and furnish within the same period copies thereof to the appropriate embassies.3. voting instructions. – 14. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned shall keep a complete record of the ballots for overseas absentee voters.5. and election forms in such number as may be necessary. shall be cancelled and shipped to the Commission by the least costly method. Regulation on Campaigning Abroad. voting instructions. without leaving the premises of the embassies. the names and addresses of the voters to whom . transmit by special pouch to the embassies. Security markings shall be used in the printing of ballots for overseas absentee voters. 16. and casting of ballots abroad. The Commission shall issue an overseas absentee voter identification card to those whose applications to vote have been approved. and in cases where voting by mail is allowed under Section 17 hereof.

consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned. 2004 elections. and shall be cancelled and disposed of appropriately. – 17. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned are adequate and well-secured. A Special Ballot Reception and Custody Group composed of three (3) members shall be constituted by the Commission from among the staff of the embassies. Ballots not claimed by the overseas absentee voters at the embassies. c. Where the system of reception and custody of mailed ballots in the embassies. All envelopes containing the ballots received by the embassies. voting by mail in any country shall be allowed only upon review and approval of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. and accredited citizens’ arms of the Commission shall be notified in writing thereof and shall have the right to witness the proceedings. He/She shall be entitled to cast his/her ballot at any time upon his/her receipt thereof. subject to the approval of the Congressional Oversight Committee. Voting by mail may be allowed in countries that satisfy the following conditions: a. the embassies. Only mailed ballots received by the Philippine embassy. shall be cancelled and shipped to the Commission by the least costly method within six (6) months from the day of elections. 16. The overseas absentee voter shall be instructed that his/her ballot shall not be counted if not transmitted in the special envelope furnished him/her. and citizens of the Philippines abroad.these ballots were sent. and mailed ballots received by the Philippine embassies. consulates and other foreign service establishments after the prescribed period shall not be opened. consulates and other foreign service establishments after the prescribed period shall not be opened. and shall be cancelled and shipped to the Commission by the least costly method within six (6) months from the day of elections. Internet. consulate and other foreign service establishments before the close of voting on the day of elections shall be counted in accordance with Section 18 hereof. Where there exists a technically established identification system that would preclude multiple or proxy voting. consulates and other foreign service establishments.6. b. 17. – . Only ballots cast. 16. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned in accordance with Section 17 hereof before the close of voting on the day of elections shall be counted in accordance with Section 18 hereof. 17. The overseas absentee voters shall send his/her accomplished ballot to the corresponding embassy. and ballots returned to the embassies.11.7. Sec. Such report shall contain data on the number of ballots cast and received by the offices. 16. 16. including proof of receipt thereof. or other secured networks in the casting of votes. the authorized representatives of the political parties. including their attached agencies.9. with a corresponding report thereon submitted to the Commission not later than thirty (30) days from the day of elections. consulates and other foreign service establishments concerned. in case of personal voting. 18. 16. provided that the same Is received before the close of voting on the day of elections. who will be deputized to receive ballots and take custody of the same preparatory to their transmittal to the Special Boards of Election Inspectors. the number of invalid and unclaimed ballots and other pertinent data. candidates. On-Site Counting and Canvassing.3. Sec.10. The overseas absentee voter shall be instructed that his/her ballot shall not be counted if it is not inside the special envelope furnished him/her when it is cast. During this phase of the election process.8. For the May. and submit a report thereon to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. consular or other foreign service establishment that has jurisdiction over the country where he/she temporarily resides. 16. Voting by Mail. In addition. in the case of voting by mail. the Commission shall authorize voting by mail in not more than three (3) countries. 17.1. Thereafter.2. Where the mailing system is fairly well-developed and secure to prevent the occasion of fraud. and. All envelopes containing the ballots received by the embassies. The Commission shall study the use of electronic mail. consulates and other foreign service establishments shall submit a formal report to the Commission and the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created under this Act within thirty (30) days from the day of elections.

18. a senior career officer from any of the government agencies maintaining a post abroad and. or any other means of transmission equally safe and reliable the Certificates of Canvass and the Statements of Votes to the Commission. Immediately upon the completion of the canvass. as the case may be. secure and reliable. and make it available upon instructions of the Commission. – The Commission shall issue the necessary rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of this Act within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act. Those received afterwards shall not be counted. . consulates and other foreign service establishments or in such other places as may be designated by the Commission pursuant to the Implementing Rules and Regulations. Immediately upon the completion of the counting. The opening of the specially-marked envelopes containing the ballots and the counting and canvassing of votes shall be conducted within the premises of the embassies.5.7. Towards this end.3. the Commission shall ensure that the votes canvassed by each and every country shall be reflected as a separate item from the tally of national votes. in the absence of another government officer. a citizen of the Philippines qualified to vote under this Act deputized by the Commission. as vicechairman and member-secretary. the chairman of the Special Board of Canvassers shall transmit via facsimile. A Special Board of Canvassers composed of a lawyer preferably of the Commission as chairman. Notwithstanding the foregoing. consulates and other foreign service establishments before the close of voting on the day of elections shall be included in the counting of votes. 18. The ambassador or consul-general. 18. the returns of every election for president and vice-president prepared by the Special Board of Canvassers shall be deemed a certificate of canvass of a city or province. or received by the embassies. For these purposes. if the holding of elections therein has been rendered impossible by events. respectively. All resolutions of the Special Board of Election Inspectors on issues brought before it during the conduct of its proceedings shall be valid only when they carry the approval of the chairman. the Special Boards of Election Inspectors shall transmit via facsimile and/or electronic mail the results to the Commission in Manila and the accredited major political parties. the Commission is empowered to order the proclamation of winning candidates despite the fact that the scheduled election has not taken place in a particular country or countries. lease or acquire automated voting machines for purposes of canvassing and counting of votes pursuant to the provisions of this Act. shall act as the chairman. Sec. The Certificates of Canvass and the accompanying Statements of Votes as transmitted via facsimile. or any career public officer posted abroad designated by the Commission. and shall cause to preserve the same immediately after the conclusion of the canvass. Where feasible.18. and in accordance with the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission. secure and reliable shall be the primary basis for the national canvass. Authority of the Commission to Promulgate Rules. For purposes of this Act. The Special Boards of Election Inspectors to be constituted herein shall be composed of a Chairman and two (2) members. electronic mail and any other means of transmission equally safe. the Commission is hereby authorized to borrow. 19. The Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created by virtue of this Act for prior approval. the two (2) other members shall be citizens of the Philippines who are qualified to vote under this act and deputized by the Commission not later than sixty (60) days before the day of elections. In the preparation of the final tally of votes on the results of the national elections. 18. factors and circumstances are beyond the control or influence of the Commission.1. electronic mail.2. The canvass of votes shall not cause the delay of the proclamation of a winning candidate if the outcome of the election will not be affected by the results thereof. the Commission shall constitute as many Special Boards of Election Inspectors as may be necessary to conduct and supervise the counting of votes as provided in Section 18. one (1) of whom shall be designated as poll clerk.4. Only ballots cast on. rent.6. 18. and which events. factors and circumstances peculiar to such country or countries. The Special Board of Canvassers shall also furnish the accredited major political parties and accredited citizens’ arms with copies thereof via facsimile.2 hereof. in the absence of other government officers. 18. The counting and canvassing of votes shall be conducted on site in the country where the votes were actually cast. shall be constituted to canvass the election returns submitted to it by the Special Boards of Election Inspectors. the counting and canvassing of votes shall be automated. The Commission shall ensure that the start of counting in all polling places abroad shall be synchronized with the start of counting in the Philippines. electronic mail and any other means of t ransmission equally safe.

No officer or member of the foreign service corps. and at any stage. Philippine Postal Corporation. within and outside the Philippines. It may require the support and assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs. For any person to deprive any person of any right secured in this Act. in coordination with agencies concerned. assist the Commission in carrying out the provisions of this Act. accredited major political parties. such deputized organization/association shall be banned from participating in any manner. Department of Transportation and Communications. in all stages of the electoral exercise and to prevent any and all forms of fraud and coercion. Philippine Postal Corporation. and intervene in appropriate cases. or to give false information as to his/her name. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.2. recalled or otherwise moved from his current post or position one (1) year before and three (3) months after the day of elections. Sec. which the Commission shall require of them. Department of Transportation and Communications. Non -government organizations and accredited Filipino organizations or associations abroad shall be consulted. or offer to pay. distribute or post in websites any information material without the prior approval of the Commission. . Department of Labor and Employment. 23. to the extent compatible with their primary responsibilities. absentee voting processes and other related concerns. 22. Security Measures to Safeguard the Secrecy and Sanctity of Ballots. Sec. the Commission may send supervisory teams headed by career officers to assist the embassies. Prohibited Acts. Such information campaign shall educate the Filipino public. address. That if any such deputized organization/association is discovered to have a member who is not a qualified overseas absentee voter as herein defined. the Commission shall ensure that the secrecy and integrity of the ballots are preserved. except upon the approval of the Commission. through the embassies. Assistance from Government Agencies. voters lists and other official records and documents. consulates and other foreign service establishments. For any officer or employee of the Philippine government to influence or attempt to influence any person covered by this Act to vote. Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration. Sec. – At all stages of the electoral process. consulates and other foreign service establishment concerned. the Commission shall coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs. In the interest of transparency.In the formulation of the rules and regulations. Sec. Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. 24. including those belonging to attached agencies shall be transferred. or not to vote. in the Philippine political process abroad. for a particular candidate. 21. or to accept payment either for application to vote in absentia or for voting. – The Commission. particularly from the Department of Foreign Affairs. Access to Official Records and Documents. or. Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.1. All such agencies or officers thereof shall take reasonable measures to expedite all election activities. 20. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. it shall be unlawful: 24. or period of residence for the purposes of establishing his/her eligibility or ineligibility to register or vote under this Act. or to conspire with another person for the purpose of encouraging the giving of false information in order to establish the eligibility or ineligibility of any individual to register or vote under this Act. print. all necessary and practicable measures shall be adopted to allow representation of the candidates. any person shall have the right to access and/or copy at his expense all registration records. – All government officers. through the said government agencies and private organizations. extended. Commission on Filipinos Overseas and other government offices concerned with the welfare of the Filipinos overseas shall. Department of Labor and Employment. Department of Labor and employment. – In addition to the prohibited acts provided by law. promoted. Information Campaign. Provided. subject to reasonable regulations as may be imposed by the Commission. – Subject to the pertinent provisions of this Act. 24. Sec. When necessary. Information materials shall be developed by the Commission for distribution. on the rights of overseas absentee voters. shall undertake an information campaign to educate the public on the manner of absentee voting for qualified overseas absentee voters. That any such deputized organization/association shall be prohibited from participating in the elections by campaigning for or fielding candidates. The Committee on Absentee Voting of the Commission shall be responsible for ensuring the secrecy and sanctity of the absentee voting process. to pay. further. The Commission may deputize Filipino organizations/associations overseas for the same purpose: Provided. Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration. No government agency or accredited private organizations shall prepare. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to prohibit free discussion regarding politics or candidates for public office. accredited citizens’ arms and non -government organizations to assist.

– A Joint Congressional Oversight Committee is hereby created. promotion.6. document or paper as required for purposes of this Act. The provision of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding. amend and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Commission.7. Mandatory Review. to serve or continue serving. – Congress shall complete a mandatory review of this Act within two (2) years following the May. mutilate or alter any record. as well as improve its procedures and institute measures and safeguards. four (4) should come from the majority and the remaining three (3) from the minority. If the offender is a public officer or a candidate. have exclusive charge of the enforcement.8. revise. shall be imposed on any person found guilty of committing any of the prohibited acts as defined in this section: Provided. the prohibited acts described in this section are electoral offenses and punishable in the Philippines. the mail containing the ballots for overseas absentee voters.5. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. peaceful and free elections abroad. Immigrants and permanent residents who do not resume residence in the Philippines as stipulated in their affidavit under Section 5(d) within three (3) years after approval of his/her registration under this Act and yet vote in the next elections contrary to the said section. That the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any person found guilty of Section 24. For any person who is not a citizen of the Philippines to participate. taking into account the experience of the previous election. which are not in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall remain in full force and shall have suppletory application to this Act. and shall be deemed disqualified as provided in Section 5(c) of this Act. and the Chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms. – The Commission shall. 24. That. – The pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Election Code. directly or indirectly through qualified organizations/associations. For any person to steal. as amended. and other election laws. and seven (7) other Members of the House of Representatives designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives: Provided. For any deputized agent to refuse without justifiable ground. His/her passport shall be stamped "not allowed to vote".4. For any person who. composed of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments. by word or deed. For any public officer or employee who shall cause the preparation. technological advances and structural political changes. including members of the attached agencies. including participation in the campaign and elections. the offender shall be sentenced to suffer perpetual disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right to vote.9. administration and implementation of this Act. extension. and seven (7) other Senators designated by the Senate President. the election returns. recall of any member of the foreign service corps. candidates in the elections. Sec. shall campaign for or assist. without securing the prior approval of the Commission.3. 27. the penalty shall be prision mayor in its maximum period. 24. scope and application. Sec. Applicability of Other Election Laws. It shall review. For any public officer or employee to cause the transfer. 24. 24. 26. for the purpose of ensuring honest. shall be penalized by imprisonment of not less than one (1) year. Sec. after being deputized by the Commission to undertake activities in connection with the implementation of this Act. in any manner and at any stage of the Philippine political process abroad. 25. destroy. distribution of information material. printing. . or post the same in websites without the prior approval of the Commission. 24. Revision of Codes and Laws.3 hereof without the benefit of the operation of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. mutilation and manipulation thereof. orderly. and with due regard to the Principle of Double Criminality. Sec. 24. or to comply with his/her sworn duties after acceptance of his/her appointment. The penalties imposed under Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code. of the seven (7) members to be designated by each House of Congress. or otherwise cause the movement of any such member from his current post or position one (1) year before and three (3) months after the day of elections. including the destruction. The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee shall have the power to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. conceal. 28. In addition. in whatever manner. as amended. 2004 elections for the purpose of amending it to expand or restrict its coverage.24. For any person to tamper with the ballot. Enforcement and Administration by the Commission.

are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. 2013 National and Local Elections thru Comelec Resolution No. Appropriations. or (2) serving a sentence of imprisonment for less than one (1) year. Effectivity. 29. 9371. During the campaign period. – The amount necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be provided in a supplemental budget or included in the General Appropriations Act of the year of its enactment into law. Section Declaration of Policy. the twenty-third day of July. Reasonable measures shall be undertaken to secure the safety of detainee voters. They can vote either through special polling place inside the jails or through escorted voting. on Monday.Sec. If there are no special polling place established in the detention center/jail or if the detainee voter is a registered voter of municipality/city other than the town/city of detention. Sec. For this purpose. REGISTRATION OF DETAINEE. which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act. Separability Clause. Detainees who shall be eighteen (18) years of age on the day of the election and/or committed inside the detention center for at least six (6) months immediately preceding election day may register as a voter. satellite registrations shall be conducted in detention centers/jails by the concerned Election Officer (EO). the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) laid down the rules and regulations on detainee registration and voting in connection with the May 13. # # # Rules on Registration of PWDs Republic of the Philippines CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES Metro Manila Fifteenth Congress Third Regular Session Begun and held in Metro Manila. formally charged for any crime/s and awaiting/undergoing trial. – All laws. Sec. rules and regulations. Towards this end. Detainees who are already registered may apply for transfer of registration record. 32. Thereafter. Special polling places shall be established in detention centers/jail facility with at least 50 registered detainee voters which shall be manned by the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI). MEDIA Rules on Detainee Registration and Voting Set Date : March 08. and parts thereof. presidential decrees. PWDs. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in three (3) newspapers of general circulation. candidates shall also be allowed to campaign inside the detention centers subject to the existing rules and regulations of the BJMP and the COMELEC. the detainee voter may avail of escorted detainee voting provided that they are able to obtain court orders allowing them to vote in the polling place where they are registered and that it is logically feasible on the part of the jail/prison administration to escort the detainee voter. executive orders. prevent their escape and ensure public safety. IPs. 2011 To implement the right of suffrage of persons deprived of their liberty. other provisions hereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and effect. 31. other issuances. the expenses for its continued implementation shall be included in the subsequent General Appropriations Act. 10366 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO ESTABLISH PRECINCTS ASSIGNED TO ACCESSIBLE POLLING PLACES EXCLUSIVELY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND SENIOR CITIZENS Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled: Section 1. The EO shall coordinate first with the Jail Warden in the Provincial/City/Municipal Jail or other Correctional/Rehabilitation/Detention Centers to determine qualified applicant detainees and to ensure maximum security of Comelec personnel and the Voter Registration Machine (VRM) to be used. REPUBLIC ACT NO. Sec. the State . Detainees refers to persons who are (1) confined in jail. – The State shall ensure that persons with disabilities and senior citizens are able to exercise their right to political participation without discrimination or restrictions. On election day. two thousand twelve. or (3) whose conviction of a crime involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government or any crime against national security is on appeal. detainees who can vote are those who are registered and whose registration record is not transferred/deactivated/cancelled or deleted. 30. Repealing Clause. – If any part or provision of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional or invalid.

facilities and materials are appropriate. which indicates the types of disability and the assistance they need. campaign. Section 2. Section Duty of the Commission to Render Assistance to Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens. in the exercise of the right of suffrage. and is free of any physical barriers and provided with necessary services. (h) Satellite registration refers to registration conducted by an Election Officer in established satellite offices located in a public place within his or her area of jurisdiction. intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in the electoral processes on an equal basis with others. (g) Universal design means the design of products. preferably near the entrance of the building.shall design systems and procedures that will enable persons with disabilities and senior citizens to register and vote by themselves. civil society monitoring groups and other organizations which promote the rights of the persons with disabilities . candidacy. It exclusively caters to first time person with disability and senior citizen registrants residing outside the area of jurisdiction of the regular Election Officer conducting the satellite registration. reactivation of registration records. and (c) Guaranteeing the free expression. by: (a) Ensuring that voting procedures. Section Right to Participation in Electoral Processes. transfer or transfer with reactivation. to assist it in determining policy directions for more inclusive and accessible electoral processes. programs and services. It accepts application for registration. Section Definition of Terms. (c) Senior Citizens refer to qualified voters who are sixty (60) years or older. or exercise. (e) Assistance refers to any support or aid that may be extended to persons with disabilities and senior citizens for them to meaningfully and effectively participate in the electoral processes. enjoyment. environments. of persons with disabilities and senior citizens. to the greatest extent possible. allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice. (j) Accessible polling place refers to the venue where the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) conducts electionrelated proceedings and where the voters cast their votes. (f) Discrimination on the basis of disability means any distinction. Section 3. – The Commission shall keep an updated record of persons with disabilities and senior citizens who are registered as voters. (b) Persons with Disabilities refer to qualified voters who have long-term physical. facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate. Section 4. – As used in this Act. on an equal basis with others. accredited citizens’ arms. Section 5. change or correction of entries and validation of registration from all registrants or voters residing within the Election Officer’s territorial jurisdiction. (b) Protecting the right of persons with disabilities and senior citizens to vote by secret ballot in elections without intimidation. The accessible polling place shall he located at the ground floor. and easy to understand and use. to be usable by all people. Section Record of Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens. voter education and casting of vote. including denial of reasonable accommodation. (d) Electoral Processes refer to election-related activities and proceedings including registration. (i) Special registration refers to registration conducted in established satellite offices by a special registration team designated by the Commission. including assistive devices. – It shall be the duty of the Commission to render appropriate assistance to persons with disabilities and senior citizens in coordination with government agencies and civil society organizations. mental. The record shall be made accessible to concerned government offices. of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. accessible. the term: (a) Commission refers to the Commission on Elections. in line with the concept of universal design. exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition. – The State shall guarantee the political rights of persons with disabilities and senior citizens. without the need for adaptation or specialized design but shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.

by any person of his or her confidence who belongs to the same household. – The Commission is hereby authorized to establish precincts of a nonterritorial nature. and provide for procedures to be followed by those who need to update their registration records. That the assistor must be of voting age. person with disability and senior citizen organizations. the Commission shall establish at least one (1) such precinct. further. a caregiver or a nurse shall be considered a member of his or her household: Provided. if the physical inability to prepare the ballot is manifest. such as a personal assistant. the Commission must ensure that persons with disabilities and senior citizens applying for registration. Any violation of this provision shall constitute an election offense punishable under Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code. including the Commission field officers. – A person with disability or senior citizen who cannot by himself or herself accomplish an application for registration. – A person with disability or senior citizen who is illiterate or physically unable to prepare the ballot by himself or herself may be assisted in the preparation of his or her ballot by a relative by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree. Section 8. and person with disability and senior citizen organizations. Section 6. Nevertheless. design. Section Satellite and Special Registration. Persons with disabilities and senior citizens who have previously registered but have not indicated the type of disability. – In designing the forms. or if he or she has none. exclusively for persons with disabilities and senior citizens who in their registration records manifest their intent to avail of their right to a separate precinct under this section. Except for the members of the BEIs. shall be assisted by the Election Officer in the preparation of his or her application form. shall conduct satellite and/or special registration for persons with disabilities and senior citizens in accessible places. or by any member of the BEls. Section 9. the person who usually assists the person with disability or senior citizen. by any person of his or her confidence who belongs to the same household. or visible. Such precincts shall be provided with assistive devices as well as the services of experts in assisting persons with disabilities. Section 12. Section Assistance in the Accomplishment of Application Form. assigned to accessible polling places.and senior citizens. or who may have developed or manifested such disability after having been registered. Section Registration and Updating of Records. That no voter shall be allowed to have an assistor on the basis of illiteracy or physical disability unless it is so indicated in his or her registration record. Pursuant hereto. or correction of entry indicate the type(s) of disability. Section 11. Section Creation of Precincts for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens. subject to specific guidelines the Commission may promulgate to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned. Section Ballot Design. Section 10. Section 13. as well as the form(s) of assistance needed. Section Sensitivity Training Program. members of the BEIs. The assistor shall hind himself or herself in a formal document under oath to fill out the ballot strictly in accordance with the instructions of the voter and not to reveal the contents of the ballot prepared by him or her. or issue supplemental forms for the said purpose. Section 7. and shall prepare the ballot for the voter inside the voting booth. shall be allowed. – The Commission shall ensure that information materials relating to the electoral processes are appropriate and accessible to persons with disabilities and senior citizens. . during the periods to file applications for registration. reactivation. the Commission shall ensure reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities and senior citizens to enable them to accomplish the ballots by themselves. to update their registration records. no assistor can assist for more than three (3) times. – The Commission. or by any member of an accredited citizens’ arm. the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). – The Commission. and accredited citizens’ arms to familiarize them with the needs of the persons with disabilities and senior citizens. said voter shall be allowed to be assisted in accomplishing the ballot by a qualified assistor. and other cause-oriented groups. or by a relative by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree. or if he or she has none present. Section Information Materials. by reason of illiteracy or physical disability. transfer. and implement sensitivity trainings to persons performing electoral duties. Section Assistance in the Accomplishment of the Ballot. obvious. shall organize. – In designing the ballot. For this purpose. for every voting center. even if not stated or indicated in the registration record: Provided. in coordination with national government agencies and local government units. The Commission may design registration forms specifically for persons with disabilities and senior citizens. in coordination with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA). and to indicate the type of disability as well as the form of assistance they need during election day.

taking into consideration their customs. provides the basic procedures for the system of continuing registration for Non-ARMM areas and fixes the date of application for registration from 3 May 2011 to 31 October 2012. traditions and other distinctive . WHEREAS. who are at least eighteen years of age. and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. – This Act shall take effect on July 1. possessed and utilized such territories. Voting Registration of Indigenous People RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE REGISTRATION OF MEMBERS OF INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITIES (ICCs)/Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Promulgation: 17 May 2012 WHEREAS. the Commission shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations. Section 16. Republic Act No. such amount as may be necessary for the continued implementation of this Act shall he included in the annual General Appropriations Act. WHEREAS. upon the request of civil society organizations (CSOs). under claims of ownership since time immemorial. Definition of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or Indigenous Peoples (IPs). Coverage. the validity or constitutionality of the other provisions shall not be affected thereby. presidential decrees. Section 1. WHEREAS. to promulgate the following guidelines in the registration of qualified registrants who are members of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or Indigenous Peoples (IPs). the Indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. – All laws. – The initial funding of this Act shall be charged against. Section 17. interests and institutions. the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) has identified the IPs/ICCs as one of the sectors most vulnerable to disenfranchisement. after its publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation. Section 15. 9168. executive orders. NGO and PO Network on Empowering the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the Electoral Processes on 11 January 2012 to help the Commission formulate policies to afford IPs' greater access to the electoral processes. the State. 9149. No literacy. correction/change of entries and validation of registration records of all qualified voters. WHEREAS. Section Repealing Clause. and who have. the Omnibus Election Code. as amended by Resolution No. including the right of suffrage. the State recognizes and respects the indigenous political structures and commits itself to enforce and guarantee the realization of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the IPs/ICCs. amended or modified accordingly. including the registration process. as a means of empowering the IPs. WHEREAS. consistent with its commitment in the 1987 Constitution. protect and promote the rights of ICCs/IPs. committed to support COMELEC's initiative to increase the accessibility of the electoral processes. who are members of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or Indigenous Peoples (IPs) as defined in Section 2 hereof. the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Article II. NOW.Section 14. – Within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act. accord to the members of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs)/Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) the rights. the Commission on Elections has RESOLVED. values. occupied. – Should any provision of this Act he declared invalid or unconstitutional. Thereafter. by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution. WHEREAS. WHEREAS. Section Separability Clause. Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution provides that Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law. Section Effectivity Clause. Section 22 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development•. the current year’s appropriations or from any available savings of the Commission. plans and programs to recognize. transfer. as the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights . Section Implementing Rules and Regulations. Article V. beliefs. property or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage•. rules and regulations or parts thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed. protections and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the citizens. Section Appropriations. with due recognition of their distinct characteristics and identity. the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international human rights instruments to which it is a Party. 2013. resolutions. Section 2. who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory. THEREFORE. Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or Indigenous Peoples (IPs) shall refer to a group of people or homogenous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others. sharing common bonds of language. These Guidelines shall govern the applications for registration. transfer with reactivation. reactivation. as it hereby RESOLVES. traditions. the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) convened the Inter-Agency. Resolution No. 8189 and other related election laws. Section 18. customs.

The form shall. SSS/GSIS ID. Section 8. Driver's license. The said data shall be submitted to the ITD every three months from the start of the registration period. Section 9. The ITD shall immediately consolidate the data on the national level and submit the same to the Election Records and Statistics Division . All assistors must be of voting age. and in public places where satellite registrations are held. he shall likewise fill-up the Supplementary Data Form for PWDs found in the Annex of the Registration Form. 9220. or at the time of inroads of nonindigenous religions and cultures.. Updating of Records of IPs. or a relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. No registered voter or relative shall be allowed to identify applicants more than three (3) times. Generation of Data. name of the street.. “ An applicant for registration who is a member of an ICC or IP. state his name and exact address. Assistance in the accomplishment of application form. non-indigenous religions and cultures. and shall provide for sensitization trainings to familiarize them with the application form and help prepare them for assistorial duties. but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains. Postal ID. be translated into the local languages and/or dialects commonly used in the area. Certificate of Confirmation issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Proof of identity other than by identification card. specifying the house number. The assistor shall accomplish three (3) copies of the Certification/Attestation (Annex of COMELEC Resolution No. area. Procedures if registrant has no identification document or is not properly identified. generated and analyzed. Section 10. Section 11. who retain some or all of their own social. If the registrant is a person with disability (PWD) at the same time. except the EO. NBI/PNP clearance. Community Tax Certificates (cedula) or certifications/ identification cards issued by barangay officials are not honored as valid identification documents.If the registrant has no valid identification card. social and cultural inroads of colonization. Section 6. instructing IPs to fill-up the Supplementary Data Form for IPs and the manner of filling-up the same. purok or sitio. as much as practicable. the applicant has no valid identification card as enumerated in Section 3. or is not identified pursuant to Section 4 hereof. who cannot by himself accomplish an application for registration. If the applicant is also a PWD. or by any person of his confidence who belongs to the same household. at the time of registration. The registrant belonging to the IP community shall fill-up the pertinent Supplementary Data in Annex of the Registration Form. and Any other valid ID. Filling-up the Registration Forms. Section 5. and to indicate his tribe or community using the Supplementary Data Form for IPs found in Annex of the Registration Form. signed by the school authority. became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos. 9149) and in no case assist more than three (3) times.cultural traits. and barangay where he resides. shall be assisted by the EO in the preparation of his application form. Procedure for Registration. The applicant shall present any of the following identification documents that bears his photograph and signature: Current employee's identification card (ID). such fact shall likewise be indicated in the Supplementary Data for PWDs in Annex of the Registration Form as provided in COMELEC Resolution No.. district. or the establishment of present state boundaries. Senior Citizen's ID. Passport. at the time of conquest or colonization. Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP) ID. License issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) . Student's ID or library card. economic.Members of the indigenous communities who have previously registered but have not indicated the name of the IP community to which he belongs shall be allowed to update his registration records.All EOs are enjoined to post notice in their offices. The ITD shall coordinate with the EOs concerning the proper encoding of the data.. Proof of Identity.. or who have. through resistance to political. ICCs/IPs shall likewise include peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country. cultural and political institutions. Section 4. or a brief description of his residence. Update on the Software. he will not be issued application form or his pre-accomplished application form shall not be acepted.The EO shall generate data on registered IPs for the sole purpose of determining policy directions for more inclusive and accessible electoral processes for the sector. with the signature of the employer or authorized representative.If.. Information. he may be identified under oath before the EO using the Affidavit of Identification by any registered voter of the precinct or any of his relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.The Information and Technology Department (ITD) shall endeavor to update the existing software application to ensure that data on IPs can be recorded. or by any member of an accredited Citizen's arm. Section 3. Section 7. The applicant shall personally appear before the Election Officer (EO). The Commission shall identify and tap the accredited Citizen's arm groups to implement the provisions of these Guidelines.

Effectivity. The statistics generated shall be made accessible to concerned government offices.refers to a system of voting whereby government officials and employees. 9189. or municipal publications or broadcast entities. Section 13. to promulgate the following rules and regulations on local absentee voting: SECTION 1. This Resolution shall take effect immediately after its publication in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines. Republic Act No. . members of the PNP. regional. Who are entitled to avail of local absentee voting. For the May 13. SEC. members of the PNP and AFP. the Omnibus Election Code. COMELEC shall pilot this policy/resolution in at least sixteen (16) pilot areas with at least one (1) pilot area in every Region where there are IPs. SO ORDERED. pursuant to the powers vested in it by the Constitution. including correspondents of national. accredited citizen's arms and other organizations that promote the rights of the IPs. Dissemination.refers to those who are engaged in news reporting on a nationwide or local scale. and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as well as members of the media. 7166. they are assigned temporarily to perform election duties in places where they are not registered voters. President. Online Journalists.e.M. 12-042 promulgated on October 9. provided. Implementation. The ERSD shall generate statistics on the demographics and other pertinent information involving the IPs throughout the country. and member of the media. Senators and Party-List Representatives in places where they are not registered voters but where they are temporarily assigned to perform election duties on election day as provided for under Executive Order No. RESOLVED. Television/Radio Production. or those engaged in other forms of journalism and the like. Executive Order No. AND ARMM REGIONAL ELECTIONS. that they are registered voters under Republic Act No. 157. including. LOCAL. subject to specific guidelines to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned. i. Media . Provided that a) they are duly registered voters. Definition of terms. “ The Office of the Executive Director is directed to cause the effective implementation of this Resolution. 7166. . AND SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS THEREAFTER Promulgation: 13 February 2013 The Commission on Elections. provincial. otherwise known as “The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003”. Section 14. 157 and Republic Act No.(ERSD). granting the Petition To Allow Early Voting For Members of the Mass Media in the May 2013 Elections. Section 12. are allowed to vote for the national positions. Vice-President. Government officials and employees who will be posted abroad to perform election duties on election day may also avail of local absentee voting. in any manner or form. but not limited to the following: Print Journalists. Television Journalists. 8189. Republic Act No. . 2013 National and Local Elections. 2013 SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL. 2012. city. give the same the widest dissemination possible and furnish copies thereof to the Regional Directors. The pilot areas shall be chosen in coordination and consultation with the NCIP and the Inter-Agency.Local absentee voting may be availed of by the following: government officials and employees. in case of government officials. as it hereby RESOLVES. as well as the Comelec En Banc Resolution in E. Provincial Election Supervisors and EOs. members of the AFP. Documentary makers. otherwise known as “The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996” and that they are not registered overseas absentee voters under Republic Act No. and other pertinent election laws. including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).the following terms are hereby defined as follows: Local absentee voting . media practitioners including their technical and supports staff who are actively engaged in the pursuit of information gathering and reporting or distribution. media practitioners including their technical and support staff (media voters) pursuant to the aforementioned Comelec En Banc Resolution who are duly registered voters. No. 2. Radio Journalists. NGO and PO Network on Empowering the IPs in the Electoral Processes. Photo Journalists. The Education and Information Department shall cause the publication of this Resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation. and b) on election day. Voting Registration of Media People RULES AND REGULATIONS ON LOCAL ABSENTEE VOTING IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAY 13. or in case of media voters. they will not be able to vote due to the performance of their functions in covering and reporting the conduct of elections. 6646.

members of the AFP. 4. with written notice upon the Municipal/City/District EO copy furnished the CLAV. 2013 from 8:00 o’clock in the morning until 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon under the direct supervision and presence of the Municipal/City/District EO or his representative. Independent cities are those component cities which charters prohibit their voters form voting for elective provincial positions.000. through the Director IV. and members of the PNP Not later than March 15. or the Regional Election Director (RED)-NCR or his representative. the place of voting where the voters shall converge to vote. For this purpose. Highly Urbanized Cities are those cities with a minimum population of two hundred thousand (200. . the list of designated ECEO/s.For the May 13. Date and Place of Voting.00) based on 1991 constant prices. 2013. and their qualified voters are excluded from voting for elective provincial officials. In case of voting of government officials and employees. 2013 Offices of the Provincial Election supervisor (OPES) Office of the Regional Election Director (ORED) of the National Capital Region (NCR) Office of the City Election Officer (OCEO) in case of highly urbanized or independent cities except cities in the NCR. 2013 the OCEO which shall receive the applications to avail of the local absentee voting. Sec. . . voting shall be at the COMELEC Office where they filed their applications to avail of the local absentee voting. the RED concerned shall submit to the Committee on Local Absentee Voting (CLAV). Positions to be voted for. 2013 Synchronized National. . and are independent of the province. only the positions of Senators and Party-List Representative shall be voted for under the local absentee voting.000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office. Local and ARMM Regional Elections. Highly Urbanized Cities Baguio City Angeles City Olongapo City Lucena City Puerto Princesa City Iloilo City Bacolod City Cebu City Mandaue City Lapu-Lapu City Tacloban City Zamboanga City Iligan City Cagayan de Oro City Davao City Gen. and within the latest annual income of at least Fifty Million Pesos (P50. members of the AFP and PNP. Where and when to file the application forms to avail of the local absentee voting. the head of office/supervisor/commander shall not later than April 15. SEC. designate. media practitioners including their technical and support staff Not later than March 31.Local absentee voters shall vote any day from April 28. Electoral Contests and Adjudication Department (ECAD).SEC. 29 and 30. For purposes of subsequent elections. or the PES or his representative. In case of media voters. local absentee voters shall vote not earlier than fifteen (15) days before the elections nor later than twelve days (12) before elections. 3.Applicants who will avail of the local absentee voting shall file their duly accomplished application forms (LAV Form No. 01) at the following: APPLICANTS WHEN TO FILE WHERE TO FILE For government officials and employees. 2013 Before their heads of offices/supervisors/commanders For members of media.000. 5. as certified by the city treasurer. the Regional Election Director (RED) shall immediately designate not later than February 18. Santos City Butuan City Santiago City Naga City Ormoc City Cotabato City Independent Cities In cities where there are more than one (1) Offices of City Election Officers (OCEO).

Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) Members Dir. ECAD Lowelynne F. 12. Garcia Assistant Group Head III 3. 6. through the LAV Groups. 8. Theresa A. Assistant Group Head Officer/Personnel Office/Designation SEC. Torralba Secretary.For subsequent elections. Local Absentee Voting Groups (LAV Groups). Fritzie Claire C. Jr.The CLAV. Lucero Group Head Atty. Jimenez Director IV. Arnold Dizon Assistant Group Head V 11. Brillantes. Roseller B. Regions 1. Pizaña Director IV. 5. media entities. Commission on Elections Vice-Chairman Atty. James Arthur B. shall supervise the implementation of the local absentee voting. 4B. Betty B. CAR. Apanay Legal Assistant I. ARMM Atty.There shall be created a Committee on Local Absentee Voting (“CLAV”) composed of the following: Chairman Hon. SEC. Abad Group Head Kristoffer Giovanni B. Maria Juana S. 10 Atty. Caigoy Assistant Group Head IV 7. the positions with national constituencies shall be voted for under the local absentee voting.2 Saga D. ECAD Ma. Information Technology Department Atty. Valeza Acting Director III. Mabaning Group Head Atty. 7. . Sixto S. Jr. and shall have the following powers and functions. . Michael L. Committee on Local Absentee Voting. Abigail Justine Cuaresma-Lilagan Group Head Buenafe Valido. 9. Flororita or representative Acting Director IV. Ferrer Group Head Mr. Elardo Clerk III. Powers and Functions of the CLAV. corporations or members of the media concerned. ECAD Secretariat Edgar C. 01) to all government agencies. . Manuel T. Jeannie V. Llacuna Assistant Group Head II NCR. Distribute copies of application forms (LAV Form No. 4A. Education and Information Department Dir. CARAGA. are hereby constituted as additional members of CLAV to be composed of the following: LAV Group Region/Unit covered I Media Atty. 6 Atty. Magellan P. ECAD To effectively carry out the mandate of the CLAV. Chairman.

DepEd and other government entities and instrumentalities concerned shall certify that the applicant is a bona fide member/employee of the agency and on election day the applicant is assigned outside the place where he is a registered voter. as the case may be.comelec. Before elections. If there are more envelopes containing the accomplished ballot than the signatures affixed on the list. inner and outer envelopes and paper seals corresponding to the number of approved applications. and members of the PNP. under proper receipt. Procedures for filing of applications to avail of local absentee voting. Such fact shall be indicated in a report to be prepared by the LAV Group concerned which shall be submitted to the CLAV. For subsequent elections. through the Head of the LAV Group concerned. and The exact number of local absentee ballots. If there are more signatures affixed in the list than the number of envelopes received. Prepare the lists of all approved applicants for local absentee voting per office/unit/battalion/OPES/OREDNCR/CEOs. For subsequent elections. notify all Municipal/City/District EOs concerned of the names of voters who actually voted under the system of local absentee voting. not later than April 24. notify all Municipal/City/District EOs concerned of the names of voters who are registered in their respective Municipal/City/District and who will avail of local absentee voting. the envelopes containing the accomplished local absentee ballots and other related documents from the head of office/supervisor/commander/PES/CEO concerned or the RED-NCR. 2013 in case of members of media. The a) PNP. For subsequent elections. The report shall indicate the names of the voters whose signatures appear in the list. Receive and take custody. After receipt and verification thereof.ph. Receive for safekeeping all ballot boxes containing the counted ballots and related election documents from the SBEIs and Special Board of Canvassers (SBOC) for local absentee voting. all accomplished application forms must be received by the CLAV not later than sixty (60) days before the elections Verify whether the applicants are eligible for local absentee voting not later than April 15. 2013 in case of government officials and employees. All persons who may avail of the local absentee voting as provided under Sec. The application forms may be reproduced or downloaded from the official COMELEC website at www. AFP. or not later than April 2. Said ballots shall not be counted. to transmit the envelopes of said voters. List of approved applications for local absentee voting. SEC. as the case may be. all accomplished application forms must be verified by the CLAV not later than thirty (30) days before the elections. After elections. transmittal of the above-mentioned election forms and documents must be done not later than eighteen (18) days before the elections. 3 hereof. In this case. as the case may be. such fact shall likewise be indicated in the report to be prepared by the LAV Group which shall be submitted to the CLAV. Transmit the following to all concerned heads of office/supervisors/commanders/PES/RED-NCR/CEOs. 2013. 2 hereof shall file their duly accomplished and sworn application forms (LAV Form No.gov. 01) as provided for under Sec. shall direct the head of office/supervisor/commander/PES/CEO concerned or the RED-NCR. 8. media practitioners including their technical and support staff.Receive accomplished application forms for local absentee voting not later than March 18. members of the AFP. Supervise the counting of ballots and canvassing of votes. before 7:00 o’clock in the evening of the day of the election. Verify whether the number of envelopes containing the accomplished ballots is equal to the number of signatures affixed in the list submitted by the head of office/supervisor/commander/PES/CEO concerned or the RED-NCR. 2013. set aside the envelope of the voter whose signature does not appear in the list and place the same in a separate ballot box intended for the purpose. and Perform and exercise such other functions and power as may be necessary for the proper implementation of the local absentee voting. turn-over the custody of the envelopes containing the accomplished local absentee ballots and other elections documents to the Reception and Verification Unit (RVU). or b) the media entity or corporation to which the applicant is employed shall . the CLAV. but without corresponding envelopes.

9. Only the applications of individuals. the head of office/ supervisor/ commander or not later than April 2. whose names are in the NLRV.The application to avail of local absentee voting shall be disapproved on the following grounds: That the applicant is not a registered voter or his registration records have been deactivated That it was filed out of time. For this purpose. the PES/CEO or RED-NCR or his representatives. . the list of qualified local absentee voters. April 24.CEO or the RED-NCR who shall in turn notify the concerned applicant on the disapproval of his application to avail of the local absentee voting (LAV Form No. . 2013 in case of members of media.There shall be two (2) security envelopes for each local absentee ballot. or in case of media voters. the PES. . A list of applicants with approved application to vote under the system of local absentee voting shall be prepared by the CLAV (LAV Form No. shall receive all accomplished and subscribed application forms from media voters. SEC. COMELEC (LAV Form No.certify that the applicant is a bona fide employee and may not be able to vote due to the performance of his functions in covering and reporting the conduct of elections. 04). . Not later than March 18. and outer envelope which shall contain a serial number and an inner envelope. and paper seals to the qualified local absentee voters. PES. Verification of registrations of applicants for local absentee voting. the following: A sworn list of registered voters (LAV Form No. barangay and precinct number where they are registered and the place of their assignment on election day. or the RED-NCR. envelopes and paper seals. The head of office/supervisor/commander or officer next in rank. SEC. or RED-NCR. 06). inner and outer envelopes and paper seals corresponding to the number of approved applications and thumbprint takers not later than Wednesday. with a certification that the applicant’/s will be re-assigned on election day to perform election-related duties. Palacio Del Gobernador Building. 30. 02) under his supervision or command who submitted their accomplished application forms for local absentee voting indication therein the Municipal/City/District. Intramuros. media practitioners including their technical and support staff. shall distribute the local absentee ballots. namely. local absentee ballots and other election paraphernalia from the CLAV. 05. where the detached coupons and the inner envelope shall be placed. shall contain a space for the name of the voter and his signature. For subsequent elections. c/o The Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD). Security envelopes for local absentee ballots. th e head of office/supervisor/commander concerned. in case of PES or CEO concerned or RED-NCR. 2013 in case of government officials and employees. immediately upon receipt thereof but not later than March 18. 11. 2013 (LAV Form No. members of the AFP. or not later than April 2. and members of the PNP. That it was not sworn to or otherwise not under oath by any person authorized to administer oath. 8th Floor. the CLAV shall notify the head of office/supervisor/commander or officer next in rank.The CLAV shall transmit to the head of office/supervisor/commander. or the PES or CEO concerned. CEO. shall submit directly to the CLAV by personal service. Distribution of local absentee ballots. 29. under the direct supervision and presence of the Municipal/City/District EO or his representatives. shall be approved by the CLAV. . the exact number of local absentee ballots. as the case may be. all accomplished application forms and sworn lists of registered voters must be received by the CLAV not later than sixty (60) days before the elections. That is only a photocopy/facsimile copy. shall receive all accomplished and subscribed application forms from their respective personnel.) SEC. SEC. transmittal of the above-mentioned election forms and documents must be done not later than eighteen (18) days before the elections. The outer envelope. 03). Disapproval of the application to avail of local absentee voting. 12. 2013 from 8:00 o’clock in the morning until 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. The inner envelope where the accomplished ballot shall be placed shall contain no other mark except an indication than it is a special envelope for a local absentee ballot. he shall: Require each voter to affix his signature opposite his name in the list of qualified voters prepared by the CLAV under Section 11 hereof. 13. SEC. inner and outer envelopes. The foregoing documents shall be transmitted directly to the CLAV. The accomplished application forms for local absentee voting.Upon receipt of the list of registered voters applying for local absentee voting and the accomplished application forms. 2013. During the distribution. Manila. The date of mailing shall be considered as the date of filing. . or in case of media voters. the CLAV shall verify whether the applicants are registered voters form the National List of Registered Voters (NLRV) provided by the Information and Technology Department (ITD). 10. private courier or through any fastest means available. or The Certification portion of the application form is not duly accomplished. that they may not be able to vote due to the performance of their functions of covering and reporting the conduct of elections.On any day from April 28. 2013. Transmittal of list of qualified local absentee voters. For subsequent elections.

Reception and Verification Unit (RVU). Manila. whose applications to avail of the local absentee voting have been approved but failed to vote on the scheduled voting for local absentee on April 28. Place the accomplished ballot inside the inner envelope and close and seal the envelope with a paper seal. Place the envelopes containing the accomplished ballots inside the ballot boxes at the rate of four hundred (400) envelopes per ballot box.The CLAV may constitute as many SBEIs for local absentee voting. as may be deemed necessary. To determine the number of SBEIs to be constituted. the ballot boxes. and Deliver the ballot box immediately after the close of voting on the day of the election to the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIs) for counting. 2013 (LAV Form No. and Submit the sealed envelope to the head of office/supervisor/commander. The order of numbering of SBEI shall be determined through a raffle. and b) unused official ballots torn in half. SEC. shall send to all Municipal/City/District EOs concerned a written notice as to who were the voters who actually voted under the system of local absentee voting with a directive to indicate in the list of voters with voting records. 07). PES concerned or RED-NCR. together with a) the list of qualified voters with signatures referred to in Section 13 (a).” to prevent the deactivation of their registration rec ords (LAV Form No. a transmittal letter with a certification on the number of accomplished ballots collected by him. Write the serial numbers of the ballot. Transmittal of local absentee ballots and other election documents to the CLAV. through the RVU. Copies of the oath shall immediately be submitted to the CLAV (LAV Form No.The CLAV shall constitute a Reception and Verification Unit. Should there be a ballot box containing less than four hundred (400) envelopes. Manila. preparation of Election Returns (ER) and other documents. subparagraph 2 of Sec. For subsequent elections. Intramuros. COMELEC. the RVU shall equitably distribute said envelopes to the SBEIs. the Chairman of the CLAV shall designate one (1) supervisor who shall supervise the counting. in two (2) copies. constitution of SBEIs must be done not later than eighteen (18) days before the elections. outer envelope. 29. may cast their votes in their respective polling places on election day. In case the CLAV constituted more SBEIs than what is required. which shall: Receive the envelopes containing the accomplished absentee ballots and the list of local absentee voters with their signatures from LAV Group 1 to 5. and appointed by the Chairman of the CLAV not later than April 24. and of the two (2) paper seals opposite the name of the voter in the list. inner and outer envelopes and the two (2) paper seals. the CLAV. SEC. ensuring that the ballots are received by the Commission not later than 7:00 o’clock in the evening o n the day of the election (LAV Form No. Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIs). shall be stored in a safe and secured place. 09). to the CLAV by the fastest means available c/o the Electoral Contest Adjudication Department. SEC. the following annotation: “voted thru local absentee voting. and on the space opposite the names of the absentee voters. In all instances. . SEC. Write his name and signature on the space provided for in the outer envelope.Before assuming their office. The members thereof shall be chosen from among the personnel of the Commission in the Main Office. 8th Floor. On or after the elections. In case of double or multiple voting. Detach the coupon from the ballot and place the same inside the outer envelope. At 7:00 o’clock in the evening of election day. Manner of Voting.The local absentee voters shall: Fill up the ballot secretly. 14. Place the sealed inner envelope inside the outer envelope. PES or CEO concerned or the RED-NCR. SEC.Detach one (1) ballot from the pad of ballots and retain the stubs where the serial number of each ballot appears. through the LAV Group. 10). the CLAV shall initially constitute the number of SBEIs on the basis of eighty per cent (80%) voter-turn-out of the total number of approved applications to avail of the local absentee voting. the applicant shall be charged with an election offense as defined under paragraph z. as the case may be. the CLAV. shall distribute one (1) ballot box each to the SBEI for counting. 17. duties and functions. . to count the local absentee ballots. Transmit the sealed envelopes. Oath of Members of SBEI. The head of office/supervisor/commander. . He shall submit one (1) copy thereof to the CLAV and retain the other copy for his file. 16. tabulation. prior to the distribution to the SBEIs. 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and shall be recommended to be administratively charged. . . Imprint his thumbmark on the proper space in the detached coupon of the ballot. Prepare. the chairman and members of the SBEI shall take and sign an oath before any officer authorized to administer oaths. 15. as the case may be All applicants. 2013. which shall likewise be sealed with a paper seal. 30. and Instruct the voter to immediately accomplish the ballot in accordance with Section 14 hereof. at a rate of four hundred (400) ballots per SBEI. if applicable. the SBEI last in the order of number may be deactivated. Give to the voter the ballot. Palacio del Gobernador Building. 08). shall: Gather all the sealed envelopes containing the ballot submitted to him by the local absentee voters. 18. For every ten (10) SBEIs.

. The Poll Clerk and the Third Member shall record in the election returns and in the tally board. as well as of the election returns and tally board being simultaneously accomplished by the Poll Clerk and the Third Member. except every fifth vote which shall be recorded by a diagonal line crossing the previous four vertical lines. respectively. in words and in figures.The election returns shall be prepared in seven (7) copies to be distributed as follows: The first copy. organization or coalition voted for under the party-list system. to the Election Records and Statistics Department (ERSD). The third copy. to be deposited inside the ballot box compartment for valid ballots. Manner of counting local absentee ballots. . Accomplish the certification portion of the election returns and tally board. 20. Open all the outer envelopes. to the dominant minority party as determined by the Commission. to the dominant majority party as determined by the Commission. respectively. Within the said period of time. The Chairman of the SBEI shall take the ballots of the first pile one by one and read the names of the candidates voted for and the offices for which they were voted. The same procedure shall be followed with the succeeding piles of ballots. The fourth copy. Require the watchers. to be submitted to the Special Board of Canvassers for local absentee voting: The second copy. The tally board. as accomplished and certified by the SBEI. and The second copy. but not limited to. cameras. the total number of votes obtained by each candidate and by each party. if any. During the counting: The Chairman. 19. Election Returns. Proceedings of the SBEI. retrieve the inner envelopes and the detached coupons. in the order in which they appear thereon. to the ERSD. and The sub-total of votes in figures obtained by each candidate and party list candidate shall be recorded in the election returns and tally board after each pile of one hundred (100) ballots is read.The SBEI shall meet at the place designated by the CLAV at 7:00 o’clock in the evening of election day to count the votes cast by the local absentee voters and shall not adjourn until the is completed. The sixth copy. Pile the ballots in bundles of one hundred (100) each.Upon receipt of the envelopes containing the local absentee ballots.Upon termination of the counting of votes. each vote as it is read. Each vote shall be recorded by a vertical line. and The seventh copy. During its meetings. Deposit the tally board in the ballot box compartment for valid ballots. The proceedings of the SBEI shall be recorded in the Minutes of Counting (LAV Form No. to be deposited inside the ballot box compartment for valid ballots. the total number of votes obtained by each candidate and party-list candidate. shall not be changed or destroyed. as well as the name of the party. and in no case shall such absence be for more than twenty (20) minutes. any person may view or capture an image of the election returns by means of any data capturing device such as. 21. and Close the entries by affixing their initials immediately after the last vote recorded or immediately after the name of the candidate and party-list candidates who did not receive any vote. . After all the ballots have been read: Record. SEC. After all the outer envelopes are opened.SEC. The Poll Clerk and the Third Member shall record simultaneously in the election returns and in the tally board. After the prescribed period for posting Chairman of the SBEI shall collect the posted election returns and keep the same in his custody to be produced for image or data capturing as may be requested by any voter or for any lawful purpose as may be ordered by competent authority. organization or coalition participating under the party-list system. to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). the members of the SBEI shall: . The fifth copy. Place the coupons in the ballot box compartment for spoiled ballots. 11) to be accomplished in two (2) copies which shall be placed in separate sealed envelopes to be distributed as follows: The first copy. open the inner envelopes and retrieve the ballots found therein. in words and figures. not more than one (1) member shall be absent at the same time. Post counting procedures. The table shall be cleared of all unnecessary writing paraphernalia. Any violation hereof shall constitute an election offense. the SBEI shall proceed with the counting as follows: Before the counting: Retrieve the special envelopes from the ballot box. It shall act through its chairman and all questions presented before it shall be decided without delay by a majority vote of the members. both in the election returns and in the tally board. The copy of the election returns posted on the wall shall be open for public viewing at any time of the day for fortyeight (48) hours following its posting. the Poll Clerk and the Third Member shall position themselves in such a way as to give the watchers and the public an unimpeded view of the ballot being read by the Chairman. The watcher and the public shall not touch any of the said election documents. respectively. to be posted on a wall within the premises of the counting center. to affix their signatures and imprint their thumb marks on the right hand portion of the election returns and the tally board. Ensure that the entries on the first copy of the election returns are clearly impressed on the other copies. SEC. All proceedings of the SBEI shall be done in public. as the accredited citizens’ arm of the Commission. SEC. 22. .

Seal the envelope with paper seal and affix their signatures on the said paper seal. . religious. After the prescribed period of posting. national candidates and partylists groups of the date. Applicability of Other Comelec Rules.The SBOC shall convene not later than 7:00 o’clock in the evening of the day of the election in place designated by the Chairman of the CLAV and proceed with the canvass of the elections returns submitted to it by the SBEIs. youth and any other similar organizations with prior authority form the Commission. Local and ARMM Regional Elections are hereby adopted. each national candidate. Place the seventh copy of the election returns inside the ballot box compartment for valid ballots. composed of two (2) members. . 23. to the Chairman of the Special Board of Canvassers.The SBOC shall prepare the Certificate of Canvass of Votes (COCV) in six (6) copies for distribution as follows: The first copy. and lock and seal the same with one (1) fixed length security seal. sectors and organizations participating under the party list system. at least five (5) days before the day of the elections. Tabulation Group. 29.There is hereby constituted a Special Board of Canvasser (SBOC) for local absentee voting to be composed of ranking lawyers of the Commission. National Press Club (NPC). Notice of Canvass. The Tabulation Group shall compute the sub-total of the Statement of Votes prepared by the SBOC. time and place of canvass. the Chairman of the SBOC shall give notice to its members. The second copy. SEC. 31. Convening of SBOC. . SEC.This Resolution shall take effect seven (7) days after its publication in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines. 26. 27. senatorial candidates and party-lists groups of the date. Special Board of Canvassers. and Distribute the election returns in accordance with Section 21 hereof. which shall be under its direct supervision and control. SEC. the Chairman of the SBOC shall collect the posted COCV and keep the same in his custody to be produced for image or data capturing as may be requested by any voter or for any lawful purpose as may be ordered by competent authority. to the Commission sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for use in the canvass of results for Senators and Party-List representatives. as the citizens’ arm designated by the Commission to conduct a media -based unofficial count. Local and ARMM Regional Elections. . SEC. Any person may view or capture an image of the COCV. Close the ballot box cover. Publication and Dissemination. It shall not adjourn until the canvass is completed. . 28. .Let the Education and Information Department. shall be entitled to appoint. 2013 Synchronized National.Place the counted official absentee ballots in the envelope for counted ballots. The name of each tabulator and the serial number of the Statement of Votes assigned to them for tabulation shall be properly recorded in the minutes of the proceedings. to the PPCRV. SEC. For subsequent elections.Rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission in connection with the May 13. SEC. . . The fifth copy to the dominant majority party. 30. The sixth copy to the dominant minority party. 2013 Synchronized National. Department of Education. this Commission. and PPCRV. Civic. the Chairman of the SBOC shall give notice to its members. incorporated and made integral parts of this resolution. Watchers. SEC. professional.In every meeting of the SBEI and the SBOC. SEC. Bundle the emptied outer and inner envelopes and deposit the same inside the ballot box compartment for valid ballots. insofar as they are applicable and not inconsistent with the provisions hereof. business. The tabulators shall affix their signatures above their printed names and imprint their thumb marks on the certification portion of the Statement of Votes. Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and other media organizations or entities and all Regional Election Directors. 25. two (2) watchers serving alternately. and lock and seal the same with one (1) fixed-length security seal. in writing. Deliver the locked ballot box to the RVU of the CLAV for custody and safekeeping. 2013. to be posted on a wall within the premises of the canvassing center. Effectivity. each duly registered political party or coalition of political parties which has nominated national candidates. shall collectively be entitled to appoint two (2) common watchers serving alternately. Close the inner compartments of the ballot box. Deposit the envelope properly sealed inside the ballot box compartment for valid ballots. the Director General of the Philippine National Police and all departments and agencies or instrumentalities of the national government. Certificate of Canvass of Votes (COCV). cause the publication of this of this Resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.For the May 13. The CLAV shall immediately furnish copies hereof to the Department of Foreign Affairs. 24.The SBOC shall constitute a Tabulation Group. The third copy. at least five (5) days before the day of the election. The copy of the COCV posted on the wall shall be open for public viewing at any time of the day for forty-eight (48) hours following its posting. to be designated by the Chairman of the CLAV not later than April 30. The fourth copy. time and place of canvass. . . SEC. the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Braganza. L-42300 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. AMADEO CORRAL.Provincial Election Supervisors of the Commission. (d) Deaf-mutes who cannot read and write. No evidence was presented to show that prior to June 5. he was convicted on the ground that he had voted while laboring under a legal disqualification. Doromal. The right to vote is not a natural right but is a right created by law. Castillo. Generoso. the voted in election precinct No. after failing to make sworn statement to the satisfaction of the board of inspectors at any of its two meetings for registration and revision. Chavez. No. and in all cases by deprivation of the right of suffrage and disqualification from public office for a period of not more than four years. It is likewise undisputed that at the general elections held on June 5. present themselves at the hour of voting as incapacitated. The judgment of conviction was based on section 2642. 1936 G. 1910. of the Revised Administrative Code. CORRAL Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC DECISION January 31. 1934. Office of the Solicitor General Hilado for appellee. in connection with section 432. irrespective of whether such incapacity be real or feigned. Diaz and Capili for appellant. plaintiff-appellee. since the thirteenth day of August. In the early stages of the evolution of the representative system of . such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon. defendant-appellant. Suffrage is a privilege granted by the State to such persons or classes as are most likely to exercise it for the public good. who shall in turn furnish copies thereof to their respective Election Officers. 18 of the municipality of Davao. he had been granted a plenary pardon. … shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than one hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos.: Appellant was charged having voted illegally at the general elections held on June 5. PEOPLE V. After due trial. (e) Electors registered under subsection (c) of the next proceeding section who. Province of Davao.R. vs.1 to suffer eight years and one day of presidio mayor. 1934. J. has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer not less than eighteen months of imprisonment. Abad Santos (Jose). eighteen hundred and ninety-eight. It is undisputed that appellant was sentenced by final judgment of this court promulgated on March 3. Said Section 432 reads as follows: The following persons shall be disqualified from voting: (a) Any person who. 1934. (c) Insane of feeble-minded persons. And section 2642 provides: Whoever at any election votes or attempts to vote knowing that he is not entitled so to do. (b) Any person who has violated an oath of allegiance taken by him to the United States. that they are incapacitated for preparing their ballots due to permanent physical disability. Pelayo. The modern conception of the suffrage is that voting is a function of government.

The right of the State to deprive persons to the right of suffrage by reason of their having been convicted of crime. The judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the appellant. or other base offense indicative of moral turpitude. the enjoyment of the franchise in the modern states has come to embrace the mass of the audit classes of persons are excluded from the franchise. the correct view is that it is imposed. This contention is clearly without merit.) Upon the facts established in this case. . is beyond question.L. So ordered.C. as already indicated. “The manifest purpose of such restrictions upon this right is to preserve the purity of elections. This claim is based upon an erroneous theory of the nature of the disqualification. the withholding of a privilege and not the denial of a personal right. Neither is there any merit in the contention advanced by counsel for the appellant that the disqualification imposed on the latter must be considered as having been removed at the expiration of his sentence. imposed for protection and not for punishment. had been sentenced by final judgment to offer not less than eighteen months of imprisonment. the exercise of the right of suffrage was limited to a small portion of the inhabitants. and convicts.. 1898. because of section 432 of the Revised Administrative Code which disqualified from voting any person who. But with the spread of democratic ideas. As above stated. The exclusion must for this reason be adjudged a mere disqualification. such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon. and had not been granted a plenary pardon. The disqualification for crime imposed under section 432 of the Revised Administrative Code having once attached on the appellant and not having been subsequently removed by a plenary pardon. “for protection and no t for punishment. Counsel for the appellant contend that inasmuch as the latter voted in 1928 his offense had already prescribed. the appellant had been sentenced by final judgment to suffer eight years and one day of presidio mayor.. It regards it as a punishment when. since the 13th day of August.” Judicial interpretation and long established administrative practice are against such a view. 1042.government. 1934. The presumption is that one rendered infamous by conviction of felony. continued and rendered it illegal for the appellant to vote at the general elections of 1934. and he could no longer be prosecuted for illegal voting at the general election held on June 5. is unfit to exercise the privilege of suffrage or to hold office. (9 R. it seems clear that the appellant was not entitled to vote on June 5 1934. the withholding of a prvilege and not the denial of a personal right. paupers. Among the the generally excluded classes are minors idiots.

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