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All roads clear for nat’l canvass

The camp of presumptive president Bongbong Marcos Jr. expressed gratitude to the Vice President Leni Robredo for recognizing the integrity of the electoral process after the latter raised no objection on all certificates of canvass



Counting heads A joint session between the House and Senate as the National Board of Canvassers takes place at the House of Representatives in Quezon City to canvass votes for the presidential and vice-presidential polls and proclaim its winners; (Inset) Senate President Tito Sotto and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco preside. | Photograph by Analy Labor for the daily tribune @tribunephl_ana

The canvassing of votes for president and vice president in the recently concluded election has begun after the Congress convened on Tuesday morning as the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC).

The joint session was led by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, who also approved the rules for the canvassing of votes.

The camp of presumptive President Bongbong Marcos Jr. expressed gratitude to the Vice President Leni Robredo for recognizing the integrity of the electoral process after the latter raised no objection on all certificates of canvass.

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Marcos’ chief-of-staff and lawyer Vic Rodriguez thanked Robredo’s camp for their “recognition of the very clear win and mandate overwhelming given by the Filipino people” to Marcos.

“We have joined in their manifestation and we in fact thanked our esteemed compañero Atty. Romy Macalintal, as well as Vice President Leni Robredo, for recognizing the integrity of the elections, the electoral process and for recognizing the vibrancy of our democracy,” said Rodriguez, who is also the incoming Executive Secretary of the Marcos administration.

Seven members from respective houses have been named to be its representatives in the Joint Canvassing Committee. For the Senate, Sotto picked Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto and Pia Cayetano, with Zubiri as chairperson of the Senate contingent.

Senators Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Risa Hontiveros, Koko Pimentel, and Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa will serve as alternate members.

Meanwhile, Velasco designated 11 House lawmakers as regular and alternate members of the Joint Committee, including House contingent chairperson, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Aside from Romualdez, other regular members are Reps. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Kristine Singson-Meehan, Sharon Garin, Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe and Juliet Marie de Leon.

The alternate members are Reps. Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc, John Ty Pimentel, Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Stella Luz Quimbo.

Canvass rules

Under the rules, the Joint Committee shall decide on all questions and issues raised involving the Certificates of Canvass (CoC) by a majority of votes of its members, each panel voting separately.

In case the two panels disagree, the decision of the chairperson shall prevail. In case of a deadlock, the matter shall be resolved by the Speaker and the Senate President.

Once the canvassing is completed, the Joint Committee report shall be approved and signed by a majority of the members of the Joint Committee.

The report shall be approved and signed by a majority of the members of the Joint Committee. Each panel will vote separately.

‘Earliest proclamation’

Drilon said that there is nothing that can stop the Congress from canvassing the votes for president and vice president, as well as the proclamation of the winners, despite petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) to stop it.

“I don’t see any issue that will delay us. I don’t think the SC will issue TRO (temporary restraining order). The petitioners can file a petition in the PET (Presidential Electoral Tribunal),” he said.

Unlike previous elections, the outgoing senator also said that the canvassing and proclamation will be done earlier than usual.

“In this particular canvassing today because of the electronically transmission we do not see any question being raised, we expect the proclamation to be on time,” he said.

“If we can finish our work, we can proclaim the winners on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning,” he added.

Likewise, Sotto said that the proclamation, which is expected to be done on Wednesday, would be the “earliest proclamation.”

“We do not expect any serious objection unless the CoC will have incomplete records or does not match what was electronically transmitted, other than that we don’t see any serious objection,” he said.

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, there is a possibility that we will foresee the earliest possible proclamation or end to the canvassing will be late afternoon tomorrow,” he added.

No objection

During the canvassing of votes, Macalintal, who represents Robredo, made a manifestation that they will not object to the inclusion of all certificates of canvass for president, to “further expedite proceedings.”

“We interpose no objection to the inclusion (of) all the certificates of canvass for president from the various provincial and city boards of canvassers found by this honorable board to be authentic and duly-executed,” Macalintal said.

He also noted that they will waive its appearance in the joint canvassing “to further expedite its proceedings.”

Macalintal said the manifestation is a reflection of Robredo’s previous public statements, wherein she asked her supporters to respect the decision of the majority.

He quoted Robredo’s speech which she made shortly after partial and unofficial tally of votes for president showed that her rival, Marcos, is leading the presidential derby.

“She said: We need to accept the majority’s decision,” he added.

Rodriguez, counsel of Marcos Jr. expressed his gratitude to Robredo’s camp for what Zubiri described as “magnanimous” gestures in the electoral contest.

“Likewise, we would like to recognize and thank the patriotism exhibited by the Vice President Leni Robredo for expressly recognizing the integrity and the result of the recently concluded general elections,” he added.

After his manifestation, the two election lawyers exchanged handshakes.

The move was seen as a turning point as the start of the “healing,” which will end the grueling and what political observers described as the “most emotional elections” in the history of Philippine politics.

“At least now we can let the healing begin and we can set aside politics,” Zubiri said.

Romualdez also lauded the move of Robredo’s camp. He is a cousin of Marcos. Reports state that he is poised to be next Speaker of the House in the upcoming 19th Congress.

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