MANILA, Philippines?(UPDATE) Congress on Tuesday approved the proposed rules that would govern lawmakers sitting as National Board of Canvassers in canvassing votes for president and vice president.
After about an hour of discussion, the senators and congressmen unanimously said yes to the rules paving the way for the start of the official canvassing.
The joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives adjourned at 5:09 p.m. following the approval of the rules.
Smartmatic officials, Comelec officials and Information technology experts were asked to attend the session on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Questions on the certificates of canvass were raised by several congressmen to ensure that what they would canvass are authentic and duly executed.
Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño said his group does not accept the explanation of Smartmatic Inc., the automation partner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), that the certificates of canvass no longer need the electronic signature of the board of election inspectors because the digital signature required under the law are already built in the machines.
Speaker Prospero Nograles gave assurances Congress through the joint canvassing committee would seek further explanation from Smartmatic officials.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman questioned the documents that would serve as basis of the canvass, whether they were electronically transmitted results or the printed certificates of canvass manually transmitted to Congress.
Nograles replied that both documents would be used to canvass the votes.
On questions by Representative Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna partylist about the canvass of presidential and vice presidential votes, Nograles also assured that votes for both position would be canvassed at the same time and the proclamation of the country?s next president and vice president would be made at the same time.
Pertinent provisions of the rules include:
Section 17: Determination of Due Execution and Authenticity of the Certificates of Canvass
The Joint Committee shall satisfy itself that:
a) each certificate of canvass (CoC) was duly executed, signed and thumbmarked by the chairman and members of the city, district or provincial BoCs;
b) that it contains the names of all the candidates for president and vice president and their corresponding votes in words and figures;
c) that there exists no discrepancy in other authentic copies of the CoCs or in any of its supporting documents such as statements of votes by city, district or provincial BoCs or discrepancy in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the certificate; and
d) that there exists no discrepancy in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the CoC against the aggregate number of votes appearing in the election returns of precincts covered by the CoC.
Section 18: Comparison of Printed Certificate of Canvass and Electronically Transmitted Certificate of Canvass
The Joint Committee shall proceed to open the corresponding electronically transmitted CoCs, and a printed copy thereof shall be generated from the Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS). The Joint Committee shall ascertain that the number of votes cast for each presidential and vice-presidential candidate in the printed CoCs and in the electronically transmitted CoCs are identical. Should there exist any discrepancy between the printed and electronically transmitted CoCs, the canvass of the CoC shall be deferred.?
Section 20: Discrepancy Between the Printed Certificates of Canvass and the Electronically Transmitted Certificates of Canvass
Should there exist a discrepancy between the printed CoCs and the electronically transmitted CoCs with regard to the number of votes cast for each presidential and vice presidential candidate, the Joint Committee shall require the Board of Canvassers concerned to appear before it and explain the discrepancy.
The Joint Committee may order the production, examination and comparison of the compact flash (CF) cards (both the main memory and back up cards) from the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine, the secure digital (SD) card from the CCS machine, the audit logs, and the printed or generated election returns, SoVs by precincts, city or municipal CoCs, SoVs by city or municipality and provincial CoCs.
If the discrepancy cannot be reconciled or resolved on the basis of an examination of the foregoing CF and SD cards, and the printed or generated copies from the concerned precincts and/or canvassing centers, the Joint Committee may order the opening of a pre-determined number of precinct ballot boxes of that particular city, district or province.