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Duterte camp says no need for Santiago to concede

/ 03:46 PM May 27, 2016
Duterte's legal team holds a press conference at the House of Representatives on the third day of Congress’ canvassing of votes. YUJI GONZALES/INQUIRER.net

Duterte’s legal team holds a press conference at the House of Representatives on the third day of Congress’ canvassing of votes. YUJI GONZALES/INQUIRER.net

In a seemingly conflicting stand on early proclamation, the camp of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said Congress’ canvassing of votes should be finished first before the mayor can be proclaimed.

Contrary to the earlier statement of Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Justice Secretary-designate Vitaliano Aguirre said there was no need for presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago to concede defeat.

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“Even if all candidates for President conceded to the win of Mayor Duterte, still it is the constitutional duty of the Philippine Congress to canvass and tabulate the votes, after which that is the only time to proclaim the winning candidates,” Aguirre said at a press conference at the House of Representatives with the rest of Duterte’s legal team.

Panelo on Thursday said Duterte’s rivals should be “statesmanlike” by conceding defeat and foregoing their constitutional right to have their votes canvassed so that the mayor could already be proclaimed and Congress could focus on the hotly contested vice presidential race.

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READ: Panelo urges Duterte rivals to concede his early proclamation

But Aguirre said Duterte could not be proclaimed President even if all candidates conceded defeat unless  Congress was done with the canvassing of votes.

“Hindi na kinakailangang mag-concede dahil kahit naman mag-concede hindi naman ma-i-po-proclaim,” he said.
(There is no need for anyone to concede, because even if they concede, he cannot be proclaimed.)

Asked about the conflicting statements from the camp, Aguirre said it was “not a crack in the Cabinet” but a matter of personal legal opinion.
“Siguro personal opinion niya (Panelo) ‘yun. ‘Yun ang nakalagay sa constitutional process. Hindi mo pwedeng i-shortcut ‘yun,” he said.
(That’s probably Panelo’s personal opinion. But the constitutional process says you cannot shortcut the proclamation.)

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) spokesperson Paola Alvarez noted that Panelo was affiliated with the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), and not Duterte’s party. “We are the PDP and Mayor Duterte ran for president under PDP,” she said.

Echoing Alvarez, Aguirre said Panelo “represents the LDP, who merely adopted Mayor Duterte as their candidate for President.”

Noting the fast canvassing process, Aguirre said the winning candidates can be proclaimed in two days’ time.

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“This is the fastest canvassing in Philippine history. We thought that it would last for about two weeks, but the proclamation of Mayor Duterte could be 10 days earlier than that of President Aquino,” he said.

Mr. Aquino ran for president in the May 10 elections and was proclaimed winner on June 9, 2010. IDL

With 113 certificates of canvass opened, Duterte, the clear winner in the presidential race, was leading the Congress tally as of the second day of canvassing by as many as six million votes.

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TAGS: canvassing, concede, Congress, Elections 2016, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Politics, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, Vitaliano Aguirre
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