SC junks petition vs Comelec's parallel bidding

THE Supreme Court (SC) has junked the petitions filed by Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPeg) assailing Commission on Elections' (Comelec) parallel bidding for the refurbishment of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and for the lease of the 93,977 Optical Marker Reader (OMR) units used last May 9 elections.

In an en banc session, the SC dismissed the petition for being moot and academic.

"The biddings have been completed and the elections conducted, the issues as to parallel bidding and the conduct of the elections have been mooted and any judgment rendered by the Court on this issue would serve no practical or legal purpose," SC spokesperson Theodore Te said in a press conference on Tuesday.

On July 7, 2015, CenPeg, together with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Philippines and 15 others filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before the SC challenging two resolutions of the Comelec.

The petitioners assailed Comelec Resolutions 15-0355 and 15-0359, which approved the conduct of parallel biddings and the creation of two separate Special Bids and Awards Committee-Technical Working Groups (SBAC-TWGs).

Petitioners alleged that the parallel biddings must be stricken down as null and void as it violated Art. V, Sec. 13 of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA) of 2003.

They also argued that the lease of 93,977 new OMR units, amounting to P12.541 billion will exceed the legally-authorized expenditure of the capital outlay allotted for the Comelec to be used for the preparatory election activities.

They likewise asked the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus for the commission has gravely abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it ruled to allow the conduct of the parallel biddings.

The court, however, in its decision released on Tuesday stated that aside from being moot and academic, the Comelec, "in any event," does not gravely abuse its discretion. (Sunnex)
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