Party-list count gives way to Senate canvass
MANILA, Philippines—The National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) on Tuesday night suspended the canvassing of votes for party-list groups in order not to delay the canvass of the senatorial votes.
“We are suspending it because pagpinagsasabay namin, nadedelay ang (if we hold them simultaneously, it would delay the) senatorial (canvassing) dahil mukhang maraming (because it looks like there are many) issues sa (with the) party list,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. in a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center where the Comelec en banc has convened as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).
The Comelec en banc (as the whole), which Brillantes chairs, sits as the NBOC.
Questions have been raised about what to do with the votes that were cast for the 12 party-list groups that the Comelec had disqualified but were reinstated by the Supreme Court shortly before the May 13 elections.
The NBOC and the party-list groups’ lawyers on Tuesday tangled over whether or not votes cast for the 12 disqualified groups should be canvassed.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal suggested the NBOC conduct a separate canvass for the disqualified groups.
Speaking for the NBOC, Brillantes said the votes for the 12 groups would be “conditionally admitted subject to whatever Supreme Court ruling or other supervening event will affect their status.”
After a 20-minute exchange between the NBOC and the lawyers, Brillantes suspended the proceedings.
“The better mode is for us to suspend the party-list (canvass) and proceed with the (canvassing of the) senatorial (votes) so that we can finish the senatorial (canvass) quickly since apparently there are no issues with that canvass,” Brillantes said.
He reiterated that the NBOC would “attempt to finish” the senatorial canvass within 48 hours after Monday’s election and proclaim the winners, at most 10 of the 12 senators, by 7 p.m. tonight.
Meanwhile, the Comelec has allowed “provisional proclamations” of candidates by local boards of canvassers provided their victories were assured even if the final election results were not yet in.
Brillantes said the commission had received numerous reports nationwide of “tension going on while waiting for the proclamation of winning candidates.”
“It is affecting so many lower boards. We have been receiving so many calls from all over the country that the lower boards do not want to proclaim the winners in the absence of any clearance from Manila. We are now authorizing them to proceed with the proclamations… so long as the results of the elections would not be affected,” Brillantes said.
He said there were around 50 localities nationwide where the winning candidates were anxious to be proclaimed, like Manila where former President Joseph Estrada won against erstwhile Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.