By Ferdinand Patinio

Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia (File photo)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) voiding its move to disqualify service provider Smartmatic TIM Corp. from the bidding of its projects.

In a radio interview Thursday, Comelec chairperson George Garcia said filing a motion for reconsideration (MR) is part of this process.

He also assured that this development would not be a big blow to Comelec.

“Una, nasubukan ang extent ng ating kapangyarihan. Ikalawa, hindi naman nabalewala ang aming ginawa after ng disqualification. Kung ano bigay naming award, intact po (First, the extent of our powers was put to a test. Second, our efforts after the disqualification were not voided. The award that we gave is intact),” he added.

Garcia called the SC’s ruling “a Solomonic decision”, noting that they highly respect it.

He noted that the disqualification of Smartmatic was a significant step taken with a view of safeguarding the integrity and credibility of the country’s elections.

“The Commission en banc’s decision was indeed groundbreaking, hard, and difficult but necessary to address the issues brought up by numerous stakeholders regarding transparency, reliability, and integrity of the election procurement involving the subject party in an earlier election,” Garcia said in a statement.

He said Comelec, as an institution that champions democracy, “listened to the voice of the people above all else and took what it believed to be rightful steps to protect the honor of the electoral process”.

He also acknowledged the SC for recognizing their efforts to pursue election preparations true to the letter and spirit of governing procurement laws.

On Wednesday, the High Court said Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion “when it disqualified Smartmatic before it had submitted any bid, without any reference to the eligibility requirements prescribed by its BAC (Bids and Awards Committee)”.

However, the SC said its decision does not merit the nullification of the public bidding and award which was already undertaken by the poll body.

Meanwhile, Garcia said they would answer at the proper forum the petition filed by former Caloocan representative Edgar Erice seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the award of the 2025 poll automation system contract to South Korean joint venture firm Miru Systems Co. (PNA)