H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL R. BUTUYAN, ROMEL R. BAGARES, ALLAN JONES F. LARDIZABAL, GILBERT T. ANDRES, IMMACULADA D. GARCIA, ERLINDA T. MERCADO, FRANCISCO A. ALCUAZ, MA. AZUCENA P. MACEDA, and ALVIN A. PETERS Vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Represented by HON. CHAIRMAN JOSE MELO, COMELEC SPECIAL BIDS and AWARDS COMMITTEE, represented by its CHAIRMAN HON. FERDINAND RAFANAN, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET and MANAGEMENT, represented by HON. ROLANDO ANDAYA, TOTAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CORPORATION and SMARTMATIC INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, G.R. No. 188456, FEBRUARY 10, 2010; with accompanying case: PETE QUIRINO-QUADRA vs. SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by its President, JUAN PONCE ENRILE, G.R. No. 188456, FEBRUARY 10, 2010.
Re: Pars. (f) and (g), Section 6 of Republic Act No. (RA) 8436, or the Election Modernization Act, as amended by RA 9369.
Decretal : RESOLUTION, dated February 10, 2010, denying the MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION OF PETITIONERS in re: the DECISION, dated September 10, 2009.
“x x x.
Petitioners threshold argument delves on possibilities, on matters that may or may not occur. The conjectural and speculative nature of the first issue raised is reflected in the very manner of its formulation and by statements, such as the public pronouncements of public respondent COMELECx x x clearly show that there is a high probability that there will be automated failure of elections;there is a high probability that the use of PCOS machines in the May 2010 elections will result in failure of elections; the unaddressed logistical nightmares and the lack of contingency plans that should have been crafted as a result of a pilot test make an automated failure of elections very probable; and COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it signed x x x the contract for full automation x x x despite the likelihood of a failure of elections.
Speculations and conjectures are not equivalent to proof; they have little, if any, probative value and, surely, cannot be the basis of a sound judgment.
Petitioners, to support their speculative venture vis--vis the possibility of Comelec going manual, have attributed certain statements to respondent Comelec Chairman Melo, citing for the purpose a news item on Inquirer.net, posted September 16, 2009.
Reacting to the attribution, however, respondents TIM and Smartmatic, in their comment, described the Melo pronouncements as made in the context of Comelecs contingency plan. Petitioners, however, the same respondents added, put a misleading spin to the Melo pronouncements by reproducing part of the news item, but omitting to make reference to his succeeding statements to arrive at a clearer and true picture.
Private respondents observation is well-taken. Indeed, it is easy to selectively cite portions of what has been said, sometimes out of their proper context, in order to assert a misleading conclusion. The effect can be dangerous. Improper meaning may be deliberately attached to innocent views or even occasional crude comments by the simple expediency of lifting them out of context from any publication. At any event, the Court took it upon itself to visit the website, whence petitioners deduced their position on the possible failure of automated elections in problem areas and found the following items:
Allaying fears of failure of elections in 2010, the x x x [Comelec] said it will prepare for manual balloting, especially for areas with problems in electricity and telecommunications network coverage. x x x
Aside from preparations for poll automation, Comelec is also preparing for manual elections sa mga liblib na lugar [in remote places] x x x, provinces with no electricity and would have issues in electronic transmission. We are ready for manual polls in at least 30 percent or 50 percent of the country as a last contingency measure in case the contingency plans for automation are difficult to implement, said Melo.
The poll chief was reacting to statements expressing the possibility of failure of elections due to the novelty of poll automation.
The occurrence of nationwide failure of elections as alleged by doomsayers is impossible. Under the laws of probability, all 80,000 PCOS machines nationwide cannot breakdown. Maybe several would but we have standby units for this and we also have preparations for manual elections, he said. (Emphasis added.)
X x x.”