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Congress to convene as canvassers board on May 25

Congress is set to convene as national board of canvassers (NBOC) tasked to proclaim the country’s new president and vice president on May 25 at the latest, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday.

Congress will resume sessions on May 23 following a three-month-long break due to the election campaign.

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But Drilon said the first two days of sessions would  be reserved for “legislative functions,” with the Senate and House mostly enacting pending bills.

He said Congress had until June 30 to proclaim the president and vice president.

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Drilon was at the Senate on Wednesday to receive the first batch of certificates of canvass (CoCs)  and election returns for president and vice president.

“[W]e will physically transfer these to the Batasan complex in Quezon City, where the canvassing will take place,” he told reporters.

As of press time, four CoCs have been turned over to the Senate—from San Juan City, Malabon City, Oriental Mindoro and those of the absentee voting.

When the NBOC convenes on May 25, Drilon said they would adopt joint rules of canvassing.

He said the Senate will form a committee of nine senators to make up the Senate panel of the NBOC and will choose from among 12 senators. Since Drilon sits in the committee being the Senate president, the Senate would need eight more senators.

12 eligible senators

There are only 12 of the 24 senators eligible to sit at the NBOC because seven senators run for office in this election—Senators Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Francis Escudero, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Gregorio Honasan; two are detained in Camp Crame due to plunder cases—Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr; while Senators Nancy Binay and Pia Cayetano are related to candidates who run for office—Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Alan Cayetano.

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Asked how soon the NBOC can proclaim the winning president and vice president, Drilon said he could not give a timeframe.

“I do not see any problem with the presidency, but given the very tight race for the vice presidency, I would refrain from making any predictions, given the fact that we do not know how things would evolve, or what questions would be raised,” the Senate president said.

He was referring to the close vice presidential race between Marcos and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, who is currently the front-runner. But Marcos has raised allegations he was being cheated. In the presidential race, Davao City Rodrigo Duterte is clearly the winner since he had a huge lead against his rivals who have already conceded.

Drilon also said they saw no difficulty in proclaiming the next president and vice president “due to the fact that we have a number of elections.”

“But we will still be vigilant in our efforts to make sure that there will be no interruptions in the smooth transition of power to the Duterte administration,” he said.

He has called for the creation of the transition team from the Duterte administration “to start talking to the transition team of the Aquino administration so there will be a smooth transfer of power on June 30.

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TAGS: Board of Canvassers, Elections 2016, Nation, news
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