MANILA, Philippines — Senate leaders are seeing no problem with the inclusion of Senator Imee Marcos in the upper chamber’s contingent to the canvassing of votes for the presidential polls even if her brother, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., is among the candidates.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday the members of the Senate contingent are only observing the counting of the votes cast during the May 9 elections.
The Senate and the House of Representatives designated seven members of each chamber to form a joint committee that should serve as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for the presidential and vice presidential polls.
“There is a different perspective. ‘Di ba mas magandang perspective ‘yung seven representation ng Senate ay more or less represented ‘yung 10 candidates for president?” Sotto said in a press briefing.
“We should look it at that way also because what can a relative do? ‘Di naman humahawak ng COC (certificate of canvass) ‘yun basta-basta o hindi naman tagabasa kundi kasama sa committee na ika nga ino-observe ang bilangan,” he added.
“I don’t see any problem,” Sotto further said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon likewise said Senator Marcos’ inclusion in the Senate contingent is “not a valid concern.”
“You can also raise the same concern about Senate President Tito Sotto. You can raise the same concern on Kiko Pangilinan,” Drilon said, alluding to Sotto and Pangilinan who both ran for vice president in this year’s elections.
“Second, as I earlier stated, the national canvassing board has no discretion to rule on issues arising from the validity of the certificate of canvass, the number of votes appearing in the certificate of canvass,” he added.
Drilon pointed out that questions arising from the elections should be raised to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal and not the NBOC.
“In other words, if the certificate of canvass says [100,000] votes appear to be in favor of candidate x, you cannot claim that the [100,000] votes will not reflect the true voting and question if it’s really correct that they got 100,000. We will have to consider 100,000 in that example as votes cast and will be counted,” Drilon explained.
“Questions arising from that would be brought to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Because, again, I would repeat, it is a question of the proper process to be followed,” he added.
Aside from Sen Imee Marcos, the Senate contingent consisted of Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri; Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto; Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon; Senator Nancy Binay; Senator Grace Poe; and Senator Pia Cayetano.