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Palace pleased at Cotabato City approval of BOL

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:44 AM January 24, 2019

Malacañang is glad that Cotabato City voted to approve the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), although more votes appeared to have been cast than there are voters there.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has blamed the “conflicting data” on “clerical error” in the preparation of the certificate of canvass.

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The document, which arrived at Comelec headquarters in Manila on Wednesday afternoon, stated that there were 39,027 voters in Cotabato City, 22,649 lower than the 61,676 votes cast during Monday’s plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL.

Of the total number of votes cast, 36,682 were for ratification and 24,994 for rejection.

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‘People have spoken’

The BOL won by 11,688, pleasing Malacañang.

Cotabato City officials opposed the BOL, but President Rodrigo Duterte himself traveled to the city days before the vote to pitch for the charter of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The sovereign people have spoken. Those who are against the BOL must yield to the rule of the majority,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday.

James Jimenez, the spokesperson for the Comelec, explained the discrepancy between the number of votes cast and the total number of voters in Cotabato City.

He said the certificate of canvass misstated the number of voters in the city, which was actually 113,751.

Error will be corrected

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Verification with the Project of Precincts, he said, showed the “clerical error.”

“Rest assured that [the] error can be raised and corrected during the national canvass without affecting the outcome of the plebiscite,” Jimenez told reporters.

He said the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers would decide whether to penalize the three election officers who signed the certificate of canvass.

Jimenez refused to comment on the allegations of Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi about the results of the plebiscite pending the filing of a complaint with the Comelec.

Sayadi, who led the campaign against the BOL in the city, had reportedly threatened to question the results, claiming that members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front harassed schoolteachers who manned the polling centers and voters during the plebiscite. —With a report from Christine O. Avendaño

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Organic Law, BOL plebiscite, Comelec, Cotabato City, Rodrigo Duterte
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