Comelec eyes single-stage canvassing system

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 10 2014 11:27 AM | Updated as of Mar 10 2014 07:27 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing the possibility of adopting a single-stage canvassing system to hasten the proclamation of winning candidates.

In a report to Congress on the conduct of the 2013 national and local elections, the Comelec asked for a review and possible change in the existing multi-tiered canvassing system.

Comelec stressed the need for a comprehensive review of Republic Act 9369, particularly on the multi-tiered canvassing system, considering it hasn’t really improved the legal framework of the elections.

Under the existing canvassing system, election returns (ERs) from every polling precinct are initially transmitted to Municipal/City Board of Canvassers (MBOC/CBOC) for the official canvassing and proclamation of elected city or municipal officials.

The Municipal/City Certificate of Canvass produced by the MBOC/CBOC shall then be transmitted to the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) for the official canvassing and proclamation of elected provincial officials.

The PBOC shall then come out with the Provincial Certificate of Canvass, which will be transmitted to the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for the official canvassing and proclamation of elected national officials.

Even with the introduction of automated election system, the Comelec is still using the multi-tiered canvassing system in the absence of new law.

Comelec, however, pointed out that amending the present canvassing system would further result in faster conclusion of the elections.

With “single stage canvassing system,” Comelec said, precinct results are canvassed and consolidated directly at the NBOC level.

“This will greatly speed up the reporting of election results as well as minimize confusion arising from speculations as to the contents of delayed canvass reports,” Comelec explained.

In the last May 2013 polls, it took three days to proclaim the first six winning senators while the others took more days to be proclaimed.

Yet, the three-day delay was still considered an improvement since winning senatorial candidates were proclaimed only after five days to more than a week after election day.

Proclamation of winning senators took a month or more when the manual system of elections was used.