The law (RA 9369) is crystal clear. Once an automated “system” has been chosen, the Comelec is duty bound to “promptly” make the source code available to the public (RA 8436, Sec. 14, as amended). There is no discretion given to Comelec, as the duty is clearly ministerial, controllable by Mandamus.
The precise wording of said Sec. 14 is as follows:
SEC. 12. Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:‘SEC.14. xxx Once an AES technology is selected for implementation, the Commission 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.'”
And yet, a Comelec official reportedly said that “guidelines” on the source code review “are yet to be drafted.” In effect, absent such guidelines, the code would not be made available.
Thus, “promptly” could mean “when I want to give it to you.” Or, it could mean “I can’t give it to you because the code is proprietary.”
If it is the first, that would be oppression. If it is the second, a private agreement is being held to nullify RA 9369, which is legally untenable. It is well settled that contracts are subject to law, and not the other way around.
See the Daily Tribune report.