Duterte camp urges Miriam to concede

Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte. File Photo

Panelo joins calls for early proclamation of president

MANILA - The camp of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte is calling on the four other presidential candidates to waive their rights to the ongoing canvassing of votes to pave the way for the swift proclamation of the Davao City mayor as president-elect.

In a press conference on Thursday, Duterte's spokesperson Atty. Salvador Panelo urged the mayor's election rivals to already formalize their concession.

Panelo pointed out that there is no more question that Duterte won the presidential race after establishing a commanding lead of six million votes over his closest rival, administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas, based on the unofficial tally.

"While it is true that constitutionally, kailangan magkaroon ng canvassing, pwede nating ma-shortcut yun, kung yung apat will waive their right to be present in the canvassing at sabihin nila, 'Di na namin kailangan, okay na yan,'" he said.

Panelo, who is also part of Duterte's legal team representing him in the joint canvassing committee, stressed that any delay in the proclamation of the president-elect should be prevented to avoid "a constitutional crisis."

The term of incumbent President Benigno Aquino III ends on June 30, a little over a month from today.

He said vice-presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., whose camp has been raising objections to some certificates of canvass (COCs) due to alleged discrepancies, should persuade his running mate, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, to already bow to the will of the Filipino electorate.

This way, the Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), could then focus on the canvass for the tight vice-presidential race, he said.

"Para lang matapos na," said Panelo. "Kasi kung hindi eh magtatagal tayo. Hindi mo ma-proclaim yung presidente kahit na overwhelming kasi hindi pa tapos yung canvassing. Hindi matatapos simply because nag-oobject sila (Marcos camp) sa canvassing ng particular COCs."

"Kung mag-concede si Miriam, then wala na tayong problema sa proclamation ng presidente," he added, calling it an "act of statesmanship" on the part of the feisty senator.

"At yung problema nung dalawa, si Bongbong Marcos at Leni Robredo, eh yun na lang ang matitira sa canvassing. Dun na lang sila maglaban. We will be avoiding a constitutional crisis."

READ: Marcos bid to have Duterte proclaimed first nixed

Panelo, however, clarified that they are not in a hurry and only want to make things easier for the NBOC.

"Hindi tayo nagmamadali, kung hindi pinapadali lang natin yung trabaho para everybody happy. Sa halip na nagiintindi tayo ng canvassing, maraming dapat asikasuhin sa ating bansa," he said.

"Kasi pag hindi ka pumayag na matigil na yung sa presidential, eh di ibig sabihin nakatali ka dun sa vice presidential, wala kang mapo-proclaim, damay sila. Eh pwede namang hiwalay eh, kung yung apat nga ay mag-formalize na ng kanilang concession na nanalo si Mayor Duterte," Panelo added.

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