Buhay, A Teacher, Bayan Muna lead party-list race
As the canvassing of votes for the party-list groups resumed, a poll watchdog on Monday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to account for the 23.67 percent of election returns (ERs) that had not been electronically tabulated because of transmission glitches.
Purported technical gremlins halted the quick count conducted by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), as well as the canvassing of votes for the senatorial race, with the Comelec resorting to the use of the so-called “grouped canvass reports” to tally votes for senators instead of the official certificates of canvass (COCs).
As of noon, the partial unofficial count of party-list votes by the PPCRV and its media partners stood at 76.33 percent, or 59,665, of the 78,166 ERs nationwide, equivalent to about 31.6 million of 52.3 million registered voters.
The party-list groups in the top 10 were Buhay with 1,056,681 votes; A Teacher, 831,250; Bayan Muna, 784,040; 1-Care, 731,226; Akbayan, 680,159; AKB, 619,427; Gabriela, 597,959; OFW Family, 593,485; Abono, 584,088; and Senior Citizens, 552,709.
In a statement, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said that as of Friday afternoon, the untransmitted ERs numbered 18,504, estimated to contain at least 8.5 million votes. The transmission problems affected the sending of COCs to the Comelec, which as of Friday had received only 117 out of 304 expected COCs.
“The Comelec is enjoined to share with the public the status of these ERs. Were the CF (compact flash, or memory) cards brought to the municipal board of canvassers? Were the ballots counted manually at the precinct and an ER prepared? Were there manual counts at the municipal or provincial canvassing sites?” Namfrel said.
Question of credibility
In a phone interview, Namfrel secretary general Eric Albia said the credibility of the party-list results would remain in doubt unless the Comelec was able to explain the delayed transmission and prove that there was no tampering.
“The ERs should have arrived in the first few hours [after the voting ended]. That’s not what happened. The balance of 23-percent untransmitted ERs should be revealed and explained, otherwise, the party-list canvass, just like the senatorial, will remain in doubt,” he told the Inquirer.
The Comelec, acting as the national board of canvassers, resumed the canvassing for the party-list votes around lunchtime on Monday, taking a break only to hand to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV his certificate of proclamation after he failed to make it to the proclamation ceremony last week.
Trillanes told reporters he had been on vacation and did not expect the proclamation to happen so quickly. “I was unable to take a flight back in time for the proclamation,” he said.
The Comelec on Monday used the COCs for the canvassing of party-list votes.
In a press briefing, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body decided to canvass all the votes for the 123 party-list groups printed on the ballot, even if 12 had been purged by the Comelec. Eleven had their accreditation revoked following the Comelec’s application of the new standards set by the Supreme Court, while the 12th’s registration was canceled.
The disqualified groups could still appeal the Comelec’s decision to the Supreme Court, but votes for them would be tallied separately although these could later be merged with the official canvass if they obtain a favorable ruling from the high court, Brillantes explained.
Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka para sa Magsasaka sought the issuance of an urgent temporary restraining order against the May 10 resolution of the Comelec disqualifying it from taking part in the May 13 polls. It said it received a copy of the Comelec resolution only on May 15.
“Binhi can possibly win at least one seat in Congress,” the group said in its petition. With reports from Christine O. Avendaño; and Matikas Santos, Inquirer.net
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