You are on page 1of 11

G.R. No.

159139 June 15, 2005

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, MA. CORAZON M. AKOL,
MIGUEL UY, EDUARDO H. LOPEZ, AUGUSTO C. LAGMAN, REX C. DRILON, MIGUEL HILADO,
LEY SALCEDO, and MANUEL ALCUAZ JR., Petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; COMELEC CHAIRMAN BENJAMIN ABALOS SR.; COMELEC
BIDDING and AWARD COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN EDUARDO D. MEJOS and MEMBERS GIDEON
DE GUZMAN, JOSE F. BALBUENA, LAMBERTO P. LLAMAS, and BARTOLOME SINOCRUZ
JR.; MEGA PACIFIC eSOLUTIONS, INC.; and MEGA PACIFIC CONSORTIUM, Respondents.

RESOLUTION

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Our Decision1 in the present case voided the Contract entered into by the Commission on Elections
(Comelec) for the supply of automated counting machines (ACMs) because of "clear violation of law
and jurisprudence" and "reckless disregard of [Comelec’s] own bidding rules and procedure."
Moreover, "Comelec awarded this billion-dollar undertaking with inexplicable haste, without
adequately checking and observing mandatory financial, technical and legal requirements. x x x. The
illegal, imprudent and hasty actions of the Commission have not only desecrated legal and
jurisprudential norms, but have also cast serious doubts upon the poll body’s ability and capacity to
conduct automated elections." As a result, the ACMs illegally procured and improvidently paid for by
Comelec were not used during the 2004 national elections.

In its present Motion, the poll body expressly admits that the Decision "has become final and
executory," and that "COMELEC and MPC-MPEI are under obligation to make mutual restitution."
Otherwise stated, this admission implies that the ACMs are to be returned to MPC-MPEI, and that
the sum of over one billion pesos illegally paid for them be refunded to the public purse.2 In short,
ownership of the ACMs never left MPC-MPEI and the money paid for them still belongs, and must be
returned, to the government.

Consequently, the ACMs, which "admittedly failed to pass legally mandated technical requirements"
cannot be used during the forthcoming elections in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM). Apart from formidable legal, jurisprudential, technical and financial obstacles, the use of the
machines would expose the ARMM elections to the same electoral pitfalls and frauds pointed out in
our Decision. If the ACMs were not good enough for the 2004 national elections, why should they be
good enough now for the 2005 ARMM elections, considering that nothing has been done by
Comelec to correct the legal, jurisprudential and technical flaws underscored in our final and
executory Decision?

The Motion

Before us is the Commission on Election’s "Most Respectful Motion for Leave to Use the Automated
Counting Machines in [the] Custody of the Commission on Elections for use (sic) in the August 8,
2005 Elections in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)," dated December 9, 2004.
In its January 18, 2005 Resolution, the Court required the parties to comment. After careful
deliberation on all pleadings at hand, we now resolve the Motion.

Inc. particularly the mandatory financial. technical and legal requirements.979. 2004. Comelec’s Claims Notwithstanding our Decision and Resolution." . 2005. In that Resolution. 2004.specifically RA 9184. prevailing jurisprudence (the latest of which was Agan v. promulgated on January 13. 2004. that they are now being stored in the Comelec Maxilite Warehouse along UN Avenue. this Court was constrained to exercise its constitutional duty by voiding the assailed Resolution No. there are in Comelec’s custody at present 1. Hence. that considering its present fiscal difficulties. We also declared that. at the time of the award. Background Information At the outset. and RA 6955 as amended by RA 7718. as well as private respondents’ Omnibus Motion dated January 26.24 annually. Inc. obtaining a special appropriation for the purpose is unlikely. Recall that our Decision declared Comelec to have acted with grave abuse of discretion when. the present Motion claims.5). 2004. it awarded the Contract for the supply of automated counting machines (ACMs) to private respondents. that these machines would deteriorate and become obsolete if they remain idle and unused. our February 17. Neither did the Court say that it was opposed to such project (or the use of ACMs) as a general proposition. along with all payments made for them. 6074. inter alia.991 ACMs. as a necessary consequence of such nullity and illegality.460.3 In our February 17. by way of its Resolution No. 2004 Resolution denying reconsideration found movants to have raised the same procedural and substantive issues already exhaustively discussed and definitively passed upon in our Decision. we denied with finality Comelec’s Motion for Reconsideration dated January 28. has long attained finality. not only in clear violation of law and jurisprudence. 6074 awarding the Contract to Mega Pacific Consortium. that the ARMM elections are slated to be held on August 8. we stress that the Decision in the present case. and are mandated by RA 9333 to be automated. RA 8436.. we emphasized (and we reiterate here) that the Decision did not prohibit automation of the elections. Comelec was further ordered to refrain from implementing any other contract or agreement it had entered into with regard to the said project. which were previously delivered by private respondents. as well as its violations of law -. the purchase of the ACMs and the software. The Decision was recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments on March 30. that the government has no available funds to finance the automation of those elections. these had patently failed to pass eight critical requirements designed to safeguard the integrity of the elections. on the other hand.355. or P3.26 a month. that. without prejudice to possible criminal prosecutions against them. as well as the subject Contract itself executed between Comelec and Mega Pacific eSolutions. and the bidding rules and policies of the Commission itself. It further manifested such grave abuse of discretion when it accepted the subject computer hardware and software even though. We repeated our explanation that the reason for voiding the assailed Resolution and the subject Contract was the grave abuse of discretion on the part of Comelec. at "storage expenses of P329. the public funds spent must be recovered from the payees and/or the persons who made the illegal disbursements possible. Philippine International Air Terminals Co. It did so. Consequently. but also with inexplicable haste and reckless disregard of its own bidding rules and procedures. had no basis in law.4 Likewise. 2004 Resolution.

Comelec prays that it be granted leave to use the ACMs in its custody during the said ARMM elections. 2004. "with its quality assurance that it would be fit for use in the elections x x x. Assuming arguendo that the present Motion might somehow be justified by the government’s fiscal difficulties. and Resolution dated February 17. They argue that the instant Motion is merely a subterfuge on the poll body’s part to resurrect a lost case via a request for an advisory opinion. petitioners contend that Comelec is asking this Court to render an advisory opinion. Inc. 2005 ARMM elections. and (2) determining whether there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. It asserts that its Motion is (a) without prejudice to the ongoing Civil Case No. since the subject ACMs have already been delivered to. This lack of actual controversy is clearly seen in the relief prayed for in the Motion: the grant of a leave to use the ACMs during the ARMM elections." who purportedly supervised all stages of the software development for the creation of the final version to be used in the ACMs. Branch 59." Comelec also points out that the process of "enhancement" of the counting and canvassing software has to be commenced at least six (6) months prior to the August 8. not merely conjectural or anticipatory." for the collection of a purported P200 million balance due from Comelec under the voided Contract. petitioners further argue that permitting Comelec to use the ACMs would nevertheless allow it to do indirectly what it was not permitted by this Court to do directly. and that. 04- 346 pending before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. consequently. in contravention of the constitutional provision 6 that explicitly states that the exercise of judicial power is confined to (1) settling actual controversies involving rights that are legally demandable and enforceable. as far as private respondents are concerned. the Republic of the Philippines is now their owner.’s claim for damages in the case pending before the RTC of Makati. Private Respondents’ Contentions Commenting on the present Motion.an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination. in order to be ready by then. Petitioners assert that there is no longer any live case or controversy to speak of -. Obviously. Petitioners’ Comment On the other hand.The Motion further alleges that "information technology experts. Inc. Comelec merely seeks an advisory opinion from this Court on whether its proposal to use the ACMs during the said elections might be in violation of this Court’s Decision dated January 13. the question of using the subject ACMs for the ARMM elections is dependent solely on the discretion of the owner. . and (b) with a continuing respectful recognition of the finality and legal effects of our aforesaid Decision. v. without prejudice to Mega Pacific eSolutions. entitled "Mega Pacific eSolutions. At bottom. paid for and used by Comelec. the Republic of the Philippines. 2004. have unanimously confirmed that this undertaking is in line with the internationally accepted standards (ISO/IEC 12207) for software life cycle processes. private respondents take the position that. and that Comelec’s allegations in its Motion do not amount to an actual case or controversy that would require this Court to render a decision or resolution in the legitimate exercise of its judicial power. Republic of the Philippines (represented by the Commission on Elections).

2004.991 ACMs. The OSG prayed for the return of all payments made by Comelec to Mega Pacific under the void Contract.024 million more for customs duties and brokerage fees. in compliance with this Court’s directive for it to "take measures to protect the government and vindicate public interest from the ill effects of the illegal disbursements of public funds made by reason of the void [Comelec] Resolution and Contract. an Answer with Counterclaim in Civil Case No. and preliminary investigation conducted in respect of the non-impeachable Comelec officials and co-conspirators/private individuals. it appears that Comelec withdrew from Land Bank P1. various fact-finding investigations had been conducted. This Complaint-Affidavit was for violation of the Anti-Plunder Law (RA 7030). commercial invoices and bank applications for documentary credits reveal that each ACM cost only P276.03 billion. The complainants alleged immense kickbacks and horrendous overpricing involved in the purchase of the 1.The OSG’s Comment The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) declares in its Comment that. Comelec agreed to peg the ACM price at the exchange rate of P58 to $1. provided however that (1) Comelec should show with reasonable certainty that the hardware and software of the ACMs can be effectively used for the intended purpose. should be without prejudice to the prosecution of the related criminal cases pending before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB). 2004. customs duties and brokerage fees. Lastly. the OSG manifests that it has no objection to the proposal to use the machines. Moreover. and criminal and administrative charges filed before it against the persons who appeared to be responsible for the anomalous Contract. when the exchange rate was P55 to $1 at the time of the bidding. in apparent response to Comelec’s clamor to use the ACMs in the ARMM elections. including the incorporators and officers of Mega Pacific eSolutions.00.it was supposed to be exempt from VAT. but that Comelec agreed to pay Mega PacificP430. but actually paid Mega Pacific only P550. is a desirable objective.828. the OMB is in the process of determining whether a verified impeachment complaint may be filed against the poll body’s impeachable officials concerned.under the nullified Contract -." it filed on behalf of the Republic on July 7. Furthermore. the Office of the Ombudsman manifested that as a result of the nullification of the Contract. Nevertheless.407. (2) Mega Pacific should be made to return to the Republic at least a substantial portion of the overprice they charged for the purchase of the ACMs. and (3) the use of these machines. the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019 as amended).17 per unit or an aggregate differential of P306.744. if properly carried out. Mega Pacific charged P83.650.81 million. Based on the OSG’s available records.10 million. The OSG hews to the view that the automation of elections.or a differential of P153. when in fact -. Furthermore. and the private individuals involved. 04-346. The OMB’s Manifestation For its part. filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by the Bantay Katarungan Foundation and the Kilosbayan Foundation against the Comelec commissioners who had awarded the Contract for the ACMs.394. . but is mindful of the need for mutual restitution by the parties as a result of the final Decision nullifying the Contract for the ACMs.924 million for value-added taxes (VAT) and P81. resulting in additional losses for the government amounting to about P30 million. if authorized by this Court.17 per unit -. Inc. The OSG also manifests that it received a copy of the Complaint-Affidavit dated September 15. amounting to P1.048. and that the various cases had been consolidated. and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713).

our final Decision bars the grant of the present Motion.to abide by and enforce our Decision. Apparently.000. but upon further reflection decided not to file that comment. nothing has been reported in the present Motion -.407. import duties and so on. out of prudential considerations. and the machines were not used in the 2004 national elections. First. that. the OMB prayed to be excused from commenting on the merits of the present Motion. and that the Commission allowed Mega Pacific to peg the ACM price using an exchange rate of P58 to $1 instead of P53 to $1. 2004 -. "For one." In the meantime. that Comelec nonetheless awarded the Contract to Mega Pacific at the same bid price of P1. If law and jurisprudence bar it from .00 per unit.granting it would have the effect of illegally reversing and subverting our final Decision. it has not done anything to rectify its violations of laws. in Civil Case No." Accordingly. although it professes utmost respect for the finality of our Decision of January 13. which further inflated Mega Pacific’s windfall. an essential element in any prosecution under the anti-graft law. bias or partiality on its part. inclusive of VAT. To stress. the OMB had allegedly prepared a comment on the present Motion. to avoid any perception of prejudgment.048. despite Section 8 of RA 8436 exempting such equipment from taxes and duties. it has simply filed the present Motion asking permission to do what it has precisely been prohibited from doing under our final and executory Decision. Plainly stated. The Court’s Ruling Decision Subverted by the Motion There are several reasons why the present Motion must be denied. Furthermore." Consequently.00 made by Comelec to Mega Pacific under the void Contract. Mega Pacific unduly benefited by including VAT and import duties amounting to P194. stating its position on the issue of utilizing the ACMs. utilizing illegally procured goods or the intentional non-return thereof to the supplier may have a bearing on the determination of evident bad faith or manifest partiality. as a direct result of our January 13. Neither has it reported any attempt to correct and observe the "mandatory financial. the OSG was directed "to take measures to protect the government and vindicate public interest from the ill-effects of the illegal disbursements of public funds made by reason of the void Resolution. 2004 Decision.249 billion. jurisprudence and its own bidding rules referred to in our judgment. amounting toP1.an inescapable and immutable fact from which spring equally ineludible consequences -.A Supplemental Complaint prepared and filed by the Field Investigation Office of the Ombudsman reveals that the ACMs were overpriced by about P162. in connection with the criminal and administrative cases pending before it. and for the "return of all payments. It came to the conclusion that ventilating its position on the matter might engender certain impressions that it had already resolved factual and/or legal issues closely intertwined with the elements of the offenses charged in the criminal and administrative cases pending before it. the government counsel has prayed for mutual restitution. Apparently.828. be constitutive of misconduct penalized under relevant disciplinary laws. Comelec has done nothing -. additionally. 04-346. the Contract for the supply of the subject ACMs was voided.at least.60 million in its bid price for the ACMs. The foregoing notwithstanding. technical and legal requirements" needed to computerize the elections. at the same time. and may.

disposing of respondents’ arguments on reconsideration. In the instant case. and mouth legal/technical arguments that have already been repeatedly debunked in the Decision and Resolution here. Indeed. or at least a modification that would render the latter totally ineffective and nugatory. why should it even propose to use these machines in the forthcoming ARMM elections? True. 11 as indeed they were in the instant case. Comelec implicitly seeks. Comelec appended as Annex 1 a letter dated January 22. blame the Decision for supposedly forcing our people "to entrust their votes to a manual system of counting and canvassing that have been proven to be prone to massive fraud in the past". Our Resolution. they will not allow the same parties or their privies to litigate anew a question that has been considered and decided with finality. Note that the factual premises and the laws involved in the procurement and use of the ACMs have not changed. .12 courts will refuse to reopen what has been decided." The only difference is that this time around. b) to admit exhibits in refutation of the findings of fact of the Court. any supervening factual or legal circumstances to justify its Motion. While expressing utmost reverence for the finality of the Decision.7 Equally well-entrenched is the doctrine that what is not permitted to be done directly may not be done indirectly either. 2004. it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable."9 who had gratuitously contended that this Court’s Decision was "one of the most inopportune rulings ever to come out of the hallowed halls of that High Tribunal". And as we have held elsewhere. Basic and primordial is the rule that when a final judgment becomes executory. c) to have the case set for hearing and/or reception of evidence if deemed necessary by the Court. To support its present Motion. such a judgment may no longer undergo any modification.using the subject ACMs during the last elections. to support its present Motion. Comelec has not even alleged. to have this Court take up anew matters that have already been passed upon and disposed of with finality. much less any reversal. But they cannot be more important than the 2004 national elections. nevertheless. that all matters within an issue raised in a case were passed upon by the Court. 2004 had previously been appended as Annex 2 to private respondents’ "Omnibus Motion A) for reconsideration of the Decision dated 13 January 2004. much less proven. tortuous discussion of the software development life cycle. The letter also included a long-winded. the Annex was signed by four 8 self-proclaimed "information technology experts. 2004. did not explicitly and specifically address all of the matters raised in the said letter of January 22. these elections are important. it is unarguable that the inexorable result of granting the present Motion will precisely be a subversion of the Decision."10 In other words. A quick check of the case records confirmed our suspicion. and that form part of the records of the case. even if it is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law. Comelec overlooked or failed to photocopy the last page (page 17) of the letter. The very same letter dated January 22. it merely recycled an earlier exhibit that had already been used in seeking reconsideration of our aforesaid Decision. It is a hornbook doctrine that courts are presumed to have passed upon all points that were raised by the parties in their various pleadings. and even if it is attempted by the court rendering it or by this Court. Addressed to its chairman. It is presumed however. bearing the signatures of the four other purported "information technology experts. In other words.

Verily. but also prevents the Filipino people from recovering illegally disbursed public funds running into billions of pesos. by subverting the Decision of this Court. "reasonable doubt" is all that is needed to secure acquittal in a criminal prosecution. nothing wrong with the public bidding. such recovery will no longer be possible. This argument can be stretched to abate the criminal prosecutions pending before the OMB and the impeachment proceedings it is considering. funds that to date the OSG estimates to be over one billion pesos. laden as it is with technical jargon and impressive concepts. what is the relevance of all these useless argumentations and pontifications in Annex 1 by the Commission’s self-proclaimed "experts"? For its own illegal acts. After all. 2004. much like a witch doctor muttering unintelligible incantations to revive a corpse." and that all that remains to be done is "to make mutual restitution. it should simply face the mirror. Use of the ACMs and Software Detrimental to ARMM Elections Third. In its main text. the grant of the Motion will bar or jeopardize the recovery of government funds improvidently paid to private respondents. In brief. Recovery of Government Funds Barred by the Motion Second." Indeed. all those who stood to benefit (or have already benefited) financially from the deal would no longer be liable for the refund. the Motion would be unduly favoring and granting virtual immunity from criminal prosecution to the parties responsible for the illegal disbursement of scarce public funds. there would be no need for Mega Pacific to refund the payments made by Comelec. imprudence and grave abuse of discretion. the use of the unreliable ACMs and the nonexistent software that is supposed to run them will expose the ARMM elections to the same electoral ills pointed out in our final and executory Decision. the letter would obviously not contain anything that might serve to persuade us that the situation obtaining in January 2004 has so changed in the interim as to justify the use of the ACMs in August 2005. . In fact. nothing wrong with the machines and software. the letter of January 22. does not serve to alter by even the minutest degree our finding of grave abuse of discretion by Comelec. Consequently. granting the Motion will be antagonistic to the directive in our Decision for the OSG to recover the "illegal disbursements of public funds made by reason of the void Resolution and Contract. the poll body’s Motion not only asks for what is legally impossible to do (to reverse and subvert a final and executory Decision of the highest court of the land). The Commission seems to think that it can resurrect the dead case by waving at this Court a letter replete with technical jargon. They can argue that there was nothing wrong with the voided Resolution and Contract. Furthermore. since the government has decided to keep and utilize them. the Motion concedes that our Decision "has become final and executory. if the government is conned into not returning the ACMs but instead keeping and utilizing them.Besides. At the very least. on account of its clear violations of law and jurisprudence and its unjustifiable and reckless disregard of its own bidding rules and procedures. why blame this Court? For Comelec to know immediately which culprit should bear full responsibility for its miserable failure to automate our elections."13 So.

"14 The Motion has not at all demonstrated that these technical requirements have been addressed from the time our Decision was issued up to now." the present Motion has not shown that the alleged "software development" was indeed extant and capable of addressing the "programming defects and deficiencies" pointed out by this Court. it has not bothered to determine the number of units that will be required for the purpose. still. especially the following three items: "· They failed to achieve the accuracy rating criterion of 99. At bottom.Be it remembered that this Court expressly ruled that the proffered hardware and software had undeniably failed to pass eight critical requirements designed to safeguard the integrity of elections. . if nothing was done about the programming defects and deficiencies. Motion Inadequate and Vague Fourth. the Motion cannot be granted because it is vague. as well as the capability to print an audit trail. assuming arguendo that the foregoing formidable legal. even ridiculous. "· They were not able to detect previously downloaded results at various canvassing or consolidation levels and to prevent these from being inputted again. "· They were unable to print the statutorily required audit trails of the count/canvass at different levels without any loss of data. It contracted for a total of 1. Are we to believe that all 1.991 ACMs. the proposed use of the ACMs would subject the ARMM elections to the same dangers of massive electoral fraud that would have been inflicted by the projected automation of the 2004 national elections. No matter how many times the machines were tested and retested. While Comelec asserts a pressing need for the ACMs to be used in the ARMM elections. Equally important. [was] in line with the internationally accepted standards (ISO/IEC 12207) [for] software life cycle processes. without mentioning any specific manner in which the foregoing requirements have been satisfactorily met. intended for use throughout the entire country during the 2004 elections. In fact. the same danger of massive electoral fraud remains. financial and technical obstacles could be overcome or set aside."15 Other than vaguely claiming that its four so-called "experts" have "unanimously confirmed that the software development which the Comelec undertook. it does not contain enough details to enable this Court to act appropriately. strangely enough. Comelec is merely asking for leave to use the machines. much less tried to justify such quantification.991 units would be utilized to count and canvass the votes cast in the ARMM elections? Such a scenario is highly unlikely. The sham nature of the Motion is evident from the following considerations. we stressed in our Decision that "[n]othing was said or done about the software -- the deficiencies as to detection and prevention of downloading and entering previously downloaded data.9995 percent set up by the Comelec itself.

once the ACMs are deployed and utilized. ARMM Elections Not Jeopardized by Nonuse of ACMs Fifth. either "The Plan" is being kept absolutely top secret. Thus. Now.A genuine. the ARMM elections would not be held. when RA 9333 came into force and effect. It is all too clear that a failure or inability of Comelec to return the machines sans damage would most assuredly be cited as a ground to refuse the refund of the moneys paid. can at least be minimized so as to ensure the eventual return of the ACMs and the full recovery of the payments made for them? A scrutiny of the 4-page Motion 16 ends in futility. Without even asking under what authority it has assumed the role of Treasury spokesman. had it not gravely abused its discretion. has no available funds to finance the automation of the ARMM elections. and . 2004. methods/periods of deployment and recovery or retrieval. 2005) as the date of the ARMM elections. if only it had taken proper heed of our Decision of January 13. had the poll body been honestly and genuinely intent on implementing automated counting and canvassing for the ARMM elections. In fact. Moreover. number of operators and other personnel required. if not altogether preventable. What steps has the poll body taken to make certain that such eventualities. given its present fiscal difficulties. if Comelec has given any thought at all to this or any other contingency. it could have conducted an above-board public bidding for the supply of acceptable ACMs. To stress. Yet. Nevertheless. Comelec was made aware of the proposed date of the ARMM elections way before the passage of RA 9333. was enacted on September 21. places of utilization. some of the machines would have been mishandled and damaged. there is no basis for the claim that unless the subject ACMs are used. the Commission in its Motion argues that the government. bona fide proposal for the utilization of the ACMs would naturally have included a well- thought-out plan of action. RA 9333. it ought to have informed Congress of the non- availability of the subject ACMs due to our Decisions and of the need for special appropriations. we emphasize that there would not now be any lack of funds for election automation had it not improvidently turned over P1 billion of taxpayers’ moneys to Mega Pacific’s bank accounts. indicating the number of units to be deployed. the automation of the vote counting and canvassing processes would have already become a reality over a year ago. the blame must be laid squarely at the doorstep of Comelec. it is quite probable that by the time election day comes around. instead of wasting this Court’s time on its unmeritorious Motion. or it is completely nonexistent. and the ACMs that would have been used in the 2004 national elections would now be available for the ARMM elections. At the outset. the poll body had about ten (10) months at the very least (between the end of September 2004. In fact. In any event. which set the second Monday of August 2005 (August 8. if such elections are not held. among other things. Furthermore. this option or course of action was not foreclosed by our Decision. Undoubtedly. Certainly. 2004. maybe even beyond repair. assessments of costs and risks involved in implementing the proposal. such fact has certainly not been made evident to us. there was sufficient time within which to conduct the public bidding process. they will no longer be in the same condition as when they were first delivered to Comelec. and concomitant justifications.

touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. it does not follow that Comelec must pick up the tab. Instead of further wasting the taxpayers’ money. For instance. it can simply send the bill to Mega Pacific for collection. that notwithstanding our Decision nullifying the Mega Pacific Contract. for the Commission to try to pass on the problem to this Court through its Motion.August 8. it will definitely be able to implement manual processes if it wants to. on the one hand. 19 In other words. The consequences of granting its lamentable Motion.about ten months counted from the end of September 2004 until August 8. it would still be able to implement such manualization for the May 10.24 per annum. instead of focusing on what the poll body can and ought to do under the circumstances. Upon it. No Actual Case or Controversy Finally.979. will indubitably subvert and thwart the Decision of this Court in the instant case. It made this declaration even though it had a mere three months or so to set up the mechanics. There is therefore absolutely no basis for any apprehension that the ARMM elections would not push through simply because the present Motion cannot pass muster. and make final preparations for the election. If it refuses to accept them back. Equally reprehensible is the attempt of the Commission to pass the onus of its mismanagement problems on to this Court. 2005) to lobby Congress. an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution. It would be entirely improper.one which involves a conflict of legal rights. 2005 -.355. Even assuming that a new public bidding for ACMs was not a viable option. In this present instance involving elections on a much smaller scale. x x x [C]ourts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest. the pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a legal right. It publicly declared. 2004 national elections. the case must not be moot or academic or based on extra-legal or other similar considerations not cognizable by a court of justice. and a denial thereof on the other." 18 The controversy must be justiciable -- definite and concrete. properly conduct a public bidding.26 per month or P3. What is most odious is the resort to the present Motion seeking the use of the subject ACMs despite the availability of viable alternative courses of action17 that will not tend to disturb or render this Court’s final Decision ineffectual. however intellectually challenging. the Motion presents no actual justiciable case or controversy over which this Court can exercise its judicial authority. we repeat. there must be an actual case or controversy -. It is well-established in this jurisdiction that "x x x for a court to exercise its power of adjudication.to prepare for manual counting and canvassing in the ARMM elections. still. Assuming for the nonce that the machines have to be held in storage pending the decision in the civil case (as it would simply not do to throw the machines out into the streets). however has Comelec pinned all its hopes. sometime in late January 2004. bordering on unmitigated contempt of court. it must concern a real and not a merely theoretical . it would be ridiculous to regard the grant of permission to use the subject ACMs as the conditio sine qua non for the holding of the ARMM elections. the machines are to be returned to Mega Pacific. deliver and test the new machines. Comelec has had more than sufficient lead time -. the Motion quotes the cost of storage of the ACMs in its Maxilite Warehouse atP329. the present Motion is wholly unnecessary and unwarranted.460. why must it assume the cost of storage? Per our Decision. Thus. that is. award the appropriate contracts. More to the point.

involving a clash of legal rights or opposing legal claims.question or issue. As the saying goes. Penumbral contracting will not produce enlightened results. "At bottom. which this Court has no jurisdiction to grant. it is merely a request for an advisory opinion. manual and archaic electoral process. At best. based on a transparent and valid system of public bidding. before the country can hope to have a speedy and fraud-free automated election. the Motion is hereby DENIED for utter lack of merit. Instead of blaming this Court for its illegal actions and grave abuse of discretion. as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts. Neither may it short-circuit our laws and jurisprudence. As in any democratic system. WHEREFORE. But before it can do so. for a change. the end never justifies the means.22 EPILOGUE We close this Resolution by repeating the last two paragraphs of our final and executory Decision: "True. Though the Philippines needs an automated electoral process.21 A perusal of the present Motion will readily reveal the utter absence of a live case before us. the ultimate goal of automating elections must be achieved by a legal. devise a legally and technically sound plan to computerize our elections and show our people that it is capable of managing the transition from an archaic to a modern electoral system. the Commission should. It should return the ACMs to MPC-MPEI and recover the improvidently disbursed funds.20 There ought to be an actual and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief through a decree conclusive in nature. our country needs to transcend our slow."23 Comelec must follow and not skirt our Decision. it cannot accept just any system shoved into its bosom through improper and illegal methods. it must first have a diligent and competent electoral agency that can properly and prudently implement a well-conceived automated election system. SO ORDERED. valid and above-board process of acquiring the necessary tools and skills therefor. . it must first be able to procure the proper computerized hardware and software legally.