Poll Automation Contract


 

 

One respected political leader insists that the money trail in the botched P1.3-billion poll modernization project of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) goes all the way up to Malacañang. That’s why there was an urgent need to clear the COMELEC officials involved, in particular chair Benjamin Abalos, before anyone could spill the beans on one of the major beneficiaries of the deal.

According to Political research papers, overpriced by P500 million—according to Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo, who was an ex- COMELEC chair—it was a project that was doomed from the start. The poll body ignored its own bidding rules and changed these to suit one favored bidder, MegaPacific Corp. The Supreme Court (SC) deemed the process flawed and declared the contract null and void.

While it ordered the Office of the Solicitor General to recover the money paid to MegaPacific, the SC directed the Office of the Ombudsman to determine the criminal liability of the COMELEC officials involved in the rigged bidding. A committee created by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez initially indicted Commissioner Resurreccion Borra but cleared him a few months later, after he threatened to drag his colleagues with him.

In a decision that shocked many, Gutierrez declared Abalos and company not liable for the voided contract, finding “no malice” involved in awarding the contract to MegaPacific. The decision bolstered suspicions that Gutierrez, Mr. Arroyo’s classmate at the Ateneo law school, was appointed at the anti-graft body to protect the Arroyos’ interests. Abalos is known to be Mr. Arroyo’s golf buddy in Wack-Wack in Mandaluyong and the First Gentleman was said to have principally backed his appointment to the COMELEC.

 

Source of this information is Newsbreak.