Congress finishes canvassing 105 out of 173 COCs
MANILA, Philippines — The two chambers of Congress, convened as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), were able to process 105 out of 173 — or about 60% — certificates of canvass (COCs) for president and vice president on the first day of canvassing on Tuesday.
Congress suspended the joint committee session at around 11 p.m., 13 hours after it opened the canvassing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
An NBOC member, Ako-Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin, the proceedings were “smooth-sailing,” especially when the representatives of presidential and vice-presidential candidates did not interpose objections to the results.
“So the job of the NBOC members became easier,” Garbin, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino, told reporters after the suspension of the session.
However, three discoveries of “missing” COCs occurred during the canvassing.
The COCs of Surigao del Sur, Pampanga, and Sultan Kudarat were not found in the ballot boxes physically transmitted by election officers to the Senate, which caused the NBOC to defer their canvass until they could locate the documents.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec), particularly the provincial election supervisors of the said provinces, were told to explain the missing COCs “within the hour.”
The missing COCs prompted Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri to “admonish” the Comelec for being “remiss of that job that is constitutionally mandated for them to do.”
The supervisors then appeared before the floor via Zoom and told the NBOC that the COCs were inadvertently left behind and were still in their possession.
The NBOC had them swear under oath that the documents they were holding were authentic and had them send a copy of the COCs via Viber so that Congress could continue with the canvass.
The provincial election supervisors were also directed to deliver the physical and original copy of the COCs by Wednesday morning.
According to Garbin, some NBOC members were initially considering citing the provincial election supervisors in contempt due to the missing COCs but they no longer pushed through with it after the supervisors were able to explain the situation.
“Inadvertently, they were not able to send them with the rest, but that is really remiss on the part of the election officers and that is why they were admonished. In fact, some were contemplating on [citing them for] contempt. But they were also able to explain the circumstances of the missing COC,” he said.
Garbin added that the missing COCs did not affect the integrity of the canvassing of votes since the election supervisors were able to locate the documents and produce copies.
“They were given one hour to produce and explain. Maybe if they were no able to produce, they might have been cited for contempt,” the lawmaker said when asked if NBOC members would still push through with the contempt citation.
The canvassing of votes will resume at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Garbin said.
Based on the latest canvass of votes, which represents 60% of the COCs, presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had the lead with over 24 million votes, which is 58.88% of the total number of votes.
He is followed far behind by Vice President Leni Robredo with 11.4 million votes and Sen. Manny Pacquiao with 2.9 million votes.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the running mate of Marcos, led the vice presidential race with over 24.1 million votes, representing 60.88% of the canvassed votes.
The total number of votes canvassed is about 40.6 million.
Vote-rich provinces whose COCs have been already processed include Cavite, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Laguna, Iloilo City, Batangas, Pampanga, Cebu, Antique, Bulacan, and Rizal.
The proclamation of the winning presidential and vice-presidential candidates is expected on Wednesday.
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