Zubiri: How can CA confirm Comelec execs if simple task of delivering COCs is hard for them?

Zubiri: How can CA confirm Comelec execs if simple task of delivering COCs is hard for them?

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) drew the ire of Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri anew on Wednesday, after Certificates of Canvass (COCs) went missing again — this time for Mandaluyong City, Sulu province, and the City of Manila.

During the Congress’ second day of canvassing for the presidential and vice presidential race, the COCs for the said areas were found missing from their respective ballot boxes — making it six areas now including Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Sur, and Pampanga without COCs inside the sealed boxes.

“I would, again, out of frustration, my gosh, where — as I said, it is such a simple duty of the PES (provincial election supervisors) and its a constitutionally-mandated duty of the Comelec to deliver the provincial COCs to the Senate so that we may canvass them on time during the National Board of Canvassers and joint session of Congress,” Zubiri said.

“How difficult is that to do?  As a matter of fact my co-chair, the Comelec is now in the Senate trying to apply for confirmation, on the Commission of Appointments.  How can we confirm them, they can’t even deliver to us today the COCs needed to canvass the votes for president and vice president?” he asked.

Zubiri then asked Comelec’s Deputy Executive Director for Administration Helen Aguila Flores as to why such things happen — to which the poll official said that it may be due to fatigue of the provincial election supervisors.

“In the course of my conversations with the provincial election supervisors concerned and this morning with the election officers of Mandaluyong, it is a common feature of their explanation that despite their prudence in trying to organize the different copies, it is inevitable that somehow, they have missed to organize that part that is intended for this August body in view of many factors your Honor,” Flores said.

“Like lack of sleep because they continuously do the canvassing, and being a former provincial supervisor myself your Honor, I have also gone through that experience and we really, really beg for your kind understanding your Honors please, regarding such omission or shortcoming on the part of our field officers who are most of the time under pressure your Honor during the canvassing,” she added.

Zubiri, however, countered that such an activity only happens once every six years since Congress only convenes to canvass votes during presidential and vice presidential elections.

He also stressed that while they can disregard the said areas’ votes — because the lead of presumptive president and former senator Bongbong Marcos is already so huge — he does not want to disenfranchise provinces.

“I totally understand the pressure that you go through because we are all elected officials […] but however this is on a once-every-six-years.  We don’t even do this midterm because the results of the senators are delivered to Comelec-National Canvassing Board,” Zubiri said.

“So ito po ay every six years lamang, and we don’t want to delay the process, this is our democracy at stake here and we want to make an accurate count, we do not want to disenfranchise any province because really, if you look at the results, masyadong malaki ang agwat, we can proceed with the canvass, and disregard provinces because it will not affect ranking for number 1, 2, 3,” he added.

He also asked Comelec to find the PES responsible, and report why such issues happened — hoping that such incidents do not happen in the next 2028 general elections.

“So Ma’am, in this particular situation for Sulu, can we order the Comelec to immediately locate the PES for the province of Sulu, and may I add also the City of Mandaluyong, and report immediately online on Zoom and do what we did for the three provinces?” Zubiri asked.

“I hope this does not happen again because in the 2028 elections, siguro naman simple instructions na lang, we don’t need the returns from the municipalities or the other areas or jurisdiction.  We only need two documents sealed in a ballot box delivered,” he added.

This is not the first time Zubiri scolded Comelec for the missing COCs, as he also lashed out at the poll body for not doing its job well after COCs of Sultan Kudarat, Pampanga, and Surigao del Sur were not found inside ballot boxes on Monday night.

RELATED STORIES:

Zubiri admonishes Comelec for missing COCs: ‘They have only one job’ 

Missing COCs put off Congress’ canvassing of votes from Pampanga, Sultan Kudarat 

  

JPV

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