INFORMATION technology professionals have once more enlisted the Internet for an online campaign to call for the resignation of officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) involved in the poll body’s failed and anomalous election modernization program.

Led by Augusto "Gus" Lagman, who is also the technology chief of the election watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), the group has launched the online petition campaign in support of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee report finding all Comelec commissioners involved in the modernization scam criminally liable. The Senate unanimously adopted the findings of the report and recommended that the poll officials immediately vacate their posts.

The same IT practitioners also petitioned the Supreme Court in August 2003 to nullify the contract signed by the Comelec with Mega Pacific eSolutions Inc. to supply automated counting machines in time for the 2004 elections.

Below is the group’s open letter to:

Fellow Filipinos,

Just a few weeks ago, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee released Senate Report No. 44 recommending that all Comelec Commissioners involved in the "Comelec modernization scam", should resign.

A group of us concerned Filipinos, who also happen to be IT practitioners and are very familiar with the facts of the case, decided to prepare a statement in support of the Senate Report. Our plan is to send this statement to the Comelec, the Senate, Congress, the Ombudsman and the Solicitor-General, about the middle of January, 2006.

Before former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo resigned, he mentioned that their office had already finished its report and that such will soon be submitted/elevated to the Sandiganbayan.

This has not happened. We therefore need to exert pressure on their office to speed up the process.

The Office of the Solicitor-General, whose task it is to run after the money which was illegally disbursed, has not progressed much in that effort. We need to highlight this anomaly in order to recover the P1 billion that had already been paid. Many say that in the Philippine context, this is an impossible task. But these things only become impossible tasks because we readily accept them to be such. In fact, it is apathy that makes these tasks so impossible.

If conspiracy between the Comelec and the winning bidder could be proven, then recovery of the money could be achieved. We believe there is a paper trail that can prove such conspiracy.

Anyway, first things first: we have opened up a page in PetitionOnline with a copy of our statement of support for Senate Report No. 44. If you agree with the statement, then we encourage you to sign the petition with us. Just click on the following URL to access the petition page:

Thank you very much. May we, even through incremental efforts and gains, finally achieve what we all aspire for — clean, honest, orderly and peaceful elections. And ultimately, a better Philippines for all Filipinos!

Gus Lagman

6 Responses to IT professionals tap the Internet
to demand Comelec officials’ resignation



December 29th, 2005 at 5:23 am

what ever happened to the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Ombudsman report on the anomalous contract poised to be adopted by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Victor Fernandez in his resolution?

The 50-page FIO report, a copy of which was obtained by NEWSBREAK, was prepared by Maria Olivia Roxas, chief of the Ombudsman’s Legal, Monitoring and Prosecution division. She also acts as nominal complainant.

Roxas found that the Comelec had entered into a grossly disadvantageous contract with Megapacific. Her report said that Comelec knowingly acquired overpriced ACMs from Megapacific—more than double the amount the latter paid its supplier in South Korea.

The report estimates that Comelec overpaid Megapacific by P318.980 million. “This exorbitant price difference should have been noticed by the Comelec, considering that some of its officials conducted an ocular inspection and visited the supplier in South Korea,” it said.

The report said that Comelec gave undue advantage to Megapacific by allowing the latter to base the purchase amount on the exchange rate of US $1: P58 when the prevailing rate at that time was only $1:P53. This resulted in an additional cost of P62 million, which could have been avoided had Comelec “followed [its] own bidding rules and considered the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the bid.”

Another anomaly was when Comelec did not adjust the P1.3-billion project cost submitted by Megapacific even when its bid included taxes and import duties in the overall computation. The contract states that Megapacific “shall be exempted from import tariffs and duties and other taxes on the equipment and services.” As such, it should not form part of the bid price submitted by Megapacific.

Since Megapacific was exempted from taxes and import duties, the report said, the contract price should have been lower by P200 million.

But what the report found “reprehensible and alarming” was the “linkages between and among one of the top officials of the Comelec and the officers of Megapacific.” The report cited the fact that Abalos and Megapacific incorporator Pedro Tan had stood as sponsors in the wedding of a son of two Megapacific incorporators, spouses Enrique and Rosita Tansipek.

“With the relationship of spouses Enrique and Rosita Tansipek and Pedro Tan with Abalos, prudence dictates that Abalos should have inhibited himself from the whole process. His failure put into a highly questionable condition or situation the integrity of the entire process of the bidding and awarding of the contract, as well as the credibility and independence of all the officials of the Comelec who participated.”



December 29th, 2005 at 6:29 am

the touble with this online petition is that the number of signatures does not necessarily reflect the true number of petitioners. there are a handful who signed but actually opposed such signature campaign.

a certain “arnie” even commented “Ano ang gusto mo palabasin? Dahil ba hindi naniwala ang comelec sa opinyon ng ITFP, dapat na silang ihabla sa korte? Ibang klase din kayo, ano? Mga PIKON!” – insinuating then that this whole propaganda is just a continuation of lagman’s vendetta on the comelec, the same lagman who filed the case leading to the junking of the computerization project of the comelec .

it also opened up an online forum for hate campaigns, for and against the comelec commissioners, where petitioners may actually be hiding their true identities.

i hope mr. lagman would be able to read this…



December 29th, 2005 at 9:22 am

Ayan na naman – re-hashing the old eLagda concept launched by Enteng back in 2000 to petition the “ouster” of Erap.

What comes next? Another arms race of “statements” and even more “petitions” true to Pinoy form.

How un-original yet so typically newsworthy in the eyes of the Pinoy media.

tsk tsk. 😀


lokalokang matino

December 30th, 2005 at 11:30 am

When gloria-THE CHEAT EXECUTIVE illegally replaced ERAP in Jan2001, somehow I gave her -benefit-of-the-doubt any indivvidual deserve, I’ve given her a chance to prove her worth. I hoped for a better Philippines. I thought she would appoint credible, repectable, diligent,honest, cabinet members, may I add people with integrity, delicadeza, restraint, and hard working. Alas!!! non of these qualities ever,ever,ever can be found in her appointees. Her appointees in the COMELEC were very dis-appointing, but of course she needs them to win. At all cost, by all means!!! ( not fair and square as Bunye always claim). These COMELEC officials should resign, but NO, they wll not, kung si gloria-THE CHEAT EXECUTIVE did not resign, sila pa! RESIGN is alien to these people from gloria down the ladder. The only way now is to drive them out of office!!!. We need a SURGICAL LIFT to drastically change the whole government. SURGICAL LIFT means setting up a REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT similar to that when Cory took over. Accept it or not, the situation our country is in now, where all institutions are corrupted and compromised, SURGICAL LIFT is in order. wE need , idealistic, credible, honest, respectable,strong leaders. Responsible, Influential Leaders must immediately convene and launch a quick search for possible leader to head the REVO GOVT. To achieve this – SACRIFICE must be their major guidance. They have to sacrifice their interest (all),their lives, time, effort, and pour in their talents and dedication to find that leader. lets us stop this self-serving regime, it’s not worth our respect. Shall we allow ourselves to fooled, not once, but twice, but many times already?


tongue in, anew

January 1st, 2006 at 4:38 am

Grabe, binaboy na yung online petition/signature campaign. Ginawang forum/blog. Pati si garci pumirma e. But I noticed some important people have joined the list.

I watched a Comelec commissioner over ANC who said that the authors of the Election modernization law in both houses of congress explicitly specified the type of machine complete with technical specs in the law itself that buying a different machine from that which Megapacific supplied would deem it unlawful. He however said that six months prior to the elections, congress passed a law modifying the specs to update it to existing standards but he claims that was too late in coming.

I’m not familiar with these machines and I can’t say I don’t believe what the guy said. But what puzzles me are the events leading to the 2004 elections were apparently not mere coincidental. Look, Demetriou, an Estrada appointee, was replaced by Abalos before her term was over, congress purposely failed to pass the year’s budget, the supreme court declares the Comelec ACM deal illegal, Garci and Barcelona were appointed commissioners, Abalos gets ill on election day, and so on.

On face, it looks like the grand conspiracy to rig the elections were participated in by all three branches of Gloria’s gov’t, doesn’t it?

It would be unfair, therefore, for Lagman’s group to call for the resignation of all Comelec commissioners.

Include everyone, from Gloria down to the smallest underlings!



February 16th, 2006 at 6:15 am

On January 23, 2006, the legal counsel of the Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP) asked the Supreme Court (in a supplemental motion) to force the Ombudsman to produce the FIO report (mentioned above).

On February 14, 2006, the Supreme Court ordered the Ombudsman to explain why it should not be held in contempt of court for not complying with its directive to determine the criminal liability of officials involved in the voided contract between the Comelec and MegaPacific Corp.

Today, Ombudswoman Mercy earned a “spot” at PDI’s editorial:

Now we’re gaining ground…let’s hope Shameless Abalos et al will be the first ones to encounter the proverbial Robespierre’s (or should I say, Ryebosco’s) Guillotine.

Comment Form