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 : DECISION, dated September 10, 2009, denying the petitions.
“x x x.
Hierarchy of Courts
At this stage, we shall dispose of another peripheral issue before plunging into the core substantive issues tendered in this petition.
Respondents contend that petitioners should have availed themselves of the otherwise mandatory protest mechanism set forth in Sections 55 and 58 of the procurement law (RA 9184) and the counterpart provisions found in its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR)-A before seeking judicial remedy. Insofar as relevant, Sec. 55 of RA 9184 provides that decisions of the bids and awards committee (BAC) in all stages of procurement may be protested, via a verified position paper, to the head of the procuring agency. On the other hand, the succeeding Sec. 58 states that court action may be resorted to only after the protest contemplated in Sec. 55 shall have been completed. Petitioners except. As argued, the requirement to comply with the protest mechanism, contrary to what may have been suggested in Infotech, is imposed on the bidders.
Petitioners position is correct. As a matter of common sense, only a bidder is entitled to receive a notice of the protested BAC action. Only a losing bidder would be aggrieved by, and ergo would have the personality to challenge, such action. This conclusion finds adequate support from the ensuing provisions of the aforesaid IRR-A:
55.2. The verified position paper shall contain the following documents:
a) The name of bidder;
b) The office address of the bidder x x x.
x x x.”