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PIA Press Release

"I’m responsible" - Ombudsman on MegaPacific deal ruling

Quezon City (10 October) -- OMBUDSMAN Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez on Tuesday stood firm by her office’ finding absolving officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and MegaPacific Consortium (MPC) of any criminal and administrative liability for entering into a P1.3-billion poll automation contract that the Supreme Court had voided.

"I approved (and) I signed the resolution and I take the full responsibility for it," Gutierrez said at a press conference.

The findings came at the end of an investigation, ordered by the Supreme Court when it voided the poll automation contract, to look into the possible liability of the Comelec and MegaPacific officials involved in the deal.

Gutierrez stressed that the Supreme Court did not rule on criminal liability but ordered her office to determine if there was any.

"We only did our duty based on the order of the Supreme Court and based on the evidence that we have gathered," Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said the investigating panel, chaired by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, conducted 12 public hearings and invited not only the parties to the case but also civil society groups.

"We have given all the parties the opportunity to actively participate on our investigation. Sadly, only after the investigation…have (they) started talking through the media," she said.

During the investigation, the panel found that MPC submitted over 200 documents that the Comelec’s bid and awards committee "evaluated and ruled that MPC has the legal, financial and technical capability to comply with (the) contract and (is) therefore eligible to bid."

She appealed to the public not to put political color into their findings and urged all parties to follow procedure and file an appeal if they do not agree with her office’ findings.

Gutierrez also said she did not "go into hiding" after her office submitted its findings to the Supreme Court but was on an official trip to Switzerland. (PIA) [top]

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