Gordon files petition for mandamus vs Comelec

May 3, 2013 11:46 pm 

MANILA, May 3 — Senatoriable Richard Gordon Friday filed before the Supreme Court a petition for mandamus to compel the Commission on Elections to allow the political parties to examine and review the source code.

A petition for mandamus is resorted to by citizens who seek to enforce a public right and to compel the performance of a public duty.

It is pursued where there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy available to petitioner in the ordinary course of law.

Gordon argued the source code is programming software of the Precinct Count Optical Scan machine which will count, canvass and transmit votes on election day.

In essence, he said, the source code is the set of computer instructions to be followed by the PCOS machine which will determine the total votes that the candidates will get.

He said the opportunity to review the source code is very important to ensure honest, clean and credible elections.

Gordon, who authored Republic Act No. 9369 which amended the Automated Election Law, said the Comelec has no discretion on whether or not to allow the political parties to review the source code.

"The law is clear. Section 14 of the Automated Election Law says that the COMELEC shall promptly make the source code of that technology available and open to any interested political party or groups which may conduct their own review thereof," the petition said.

Gordon said the word "shall" is mandatory and it imposes a duty which must be enforced by the Comelec.

"I'm very concerned why the COMELEC refuses to make the source code available for review and inspection after admitting that it has the source code," he said.

"As I stated in the Petition, it pains me to file this case because as principal author of RA 9369, I and my colleagues intended to safeguard the sovereign will of the people in electing their leaders," Gordon added.

"Placed in the wrong hands, the source code could be manipulated and used to systematically subvert and frustrate the people's will," he further argued.

Gordon said he has no other remedy under the law except to go to the SC to compel the Comelec to follow and obey the law. (PNA)



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