Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comelec pushing Congress to rely on automated count, not manual CoCs

By Marie A. Surbano

Original Story:

A president-elect proclaimed by Congress on the basis of electronically transmitted data appears to be the wish of the Commission on Elections, as the Comelec yesterday urged Congress to start counting the votes for president and vice president, despite the Senate not having received the manually prepared Certificates of Canvass (CoCs).

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez urged Congress to do the count by making use of the electronically transmitted CoCs as its basis in coming up with the results and for Congress to quickly proclaim a president-elect.

“Automation works. Automation is effective. All that is left is to see how many people can take advantage of it and its benefits, and, hopefully, Congress will also do that (rely on the automated count),” he said.

He stressed that Congress can start counting the votes for the two highest positions as almost all election returns are already transmitted and that it will not take long before the provincial board of canvassers (PBoCs) can complete the canvassing.

Senate sources, however told the Tribune yesterday that it is unlikely that the electronically transmitted data will be the basis of any presidential and vice presidential proclamation, as members of Congress prefer to wait for all the manually prepared CoCs before convening as a canvassing board, and use the manual CoCs as their basis for the proclamation of the president and vice president elect to ensure that the count is accurate and jibes with the electronically transmitted count.

“They (Congress) feel that this is the best way to check on the accuracy of the automated count. If they just go with the electronic count, then there won’t be any counter check on the electronically-transmitted count. It would be exactly the same (as the count Comelec has been doing the past days,” the sources said.

A senator who asked not to be named also told the Tribune that “perhaps the Comelec and others want to apply this pressure on the Congress, because they (Comelec) are afraid that the count will be different, if the manual CoC will be the basis of the congressional count, and not the electoronic count.”

The senator added that should the congressional count not match that of the Comelec’s electronically transmitted data, then this could reflect on the high inaccuracy of an automated count.”

On the part of Senate President Juan Ponce Ernile, he said the date of the national canvassing can be pushed ahead. “That can be discussed,” he said, adding that “Congress is the one that canvasses the votes cast for each candidate for president and vice president. It is the function of Congress to proclaim through proper resolution whoever is the winner for president as well as for vice president. No one else can do that,” Enrile said.

“Nobody will become president unless there is a proclamation of Congress. So any speculation, any tabulation or any summation of results of election will be meaningless. It is Congress, under the Constitution, that is authorized to do the formal canvassing and proclamation of winner for president and vice president,” he added.

Already, Speaker Prospero Nograles has instructed House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap to lead the House special task force on canvassing in a series of consultative meetings with its Senate counterpart led by Senate Secretary Emma Lirio Reyes.

“We have agreed to propose to the joint session of Congress options on the rules of canvass that may be adopted to ensure efficient, transparent and credible canvass of votes,” Yap said in a press statement.

The canvassing is expected to be held at the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City.

But Jimenez said that it is not yet clear when Congress will convene to canvass the votes for president and vice president.

According to, Section 16 of the Omnibus Election Code states that Congress should convene not later than 30 days after Election Day to open all the CoCs and count the votes for the positions of president and vice president.

“I see nothing that prevents them from doing it earlier so they should be able to do that if they are minded to,” he added.

Jimenez, however admitted that the Comelec cannot dictate on Congress when or how to count the votes.

“They formulate their own rules of canvass. Right now, we don’t know whether they will use our automated system or they will opt to use the CoCs that will be brought to them... if they want to do it slower, if they want to use different methods,, we are perfectly fine with that,” added Jimenez.

The Comelec en banc is sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC) that will canvass votes for senatorial and party-list votes.

Original Story:

No comments:

Post a Comment