Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile points to the tally board for the presidential election that shows the grand total of votes of senator and president-elect Benigno Aquino III during the May 10 poll, on the last day of canvassing for president and vice president at the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, June 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - It's final. Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III and Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) vice-presidential candidate Jejomar Binay will be proclaimed as the country's next president and vice-president, respectively.
Final Congressional Tally
The final tally of the National Board of Canvassers showed Aquino with 15,208,678 votes, winning the presidential race with no surprise. His lead over second placer PMP presidential bet Joseph Estrada was 5,720,841 votes. Estrada garnered 9,487,837 votes.
Binay, Estrada's running mate, on the other hand, won the vice presidency with 14,645,574 votes in the final count. Aquino's running mate, Manuel Roxas II, was in close second place with 13,918,490 votes.
There were talks that Binay won because relatives of Aquino, particularly the Cojuangcos, campaigned for the Noy-Bi (Aquino-Binay) tandem and not the LP tandem, especially in Mindanao. (Read: Peping camp campaigned for Noy-Bi)
The proclamation for president and vice-president has been scheduled on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday said that it would be held at 2 pm.
Aquino had 15,072,053 votes in the June 7 tally while Estrada was 5 million votes behind with 9,471,029. Only the province of Lanao del Sur had to be canvassed on the last day.
National canvassing resumed at 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday.
It took Congress 1 hour and 10 minutes to canvass the votes from Lanao del Sur, a province with a reputation for being one of the cheating capitals in Muslim Mindanao. The province recently conducted special elections in 28 precincts.
After all the votes were counted, House Speaker Prospero Nograles said: "That's the last COC."
Aquino an obvious winner
Aquino was the obvious winner even before the Congress, sitting as the NBOC, started canvassing votes for President and Vice President.
Partial tally of the Commission on Elections, before the Lanao del Sur votes were considered, showed that his lead over Estrada was over 5 million votes.
Aquino even won in San Juan, Estrada's home city, with 22,225 votes against the former president who also served as San Juan mayor for over 20 years. Estrada received 21,341 votes in San Juan.
In Cebu, a bailiwick of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino won with 759,938 votes.
This was achieved despite the fact that some members of the powerful Garcia family shifted their support to Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manuel Villar. Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia remained with the Lakas-Kampi.
Administration standard-bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. finished in second place in Cebu with 344,783 votes while Villar was in third with 200,287 votes.
Cebu is the country's biggest voting province with 2.2 million registered voters. (Read: Lakas-Kampi defections: 'Gloriaquino' or 'Villaroyo'?)
Tight VP race
Last Thursday, the tight race between Binay and Roxas led Congress to decide that canvassing would not be terminated.
The canvassing on June 3 ended with Binay leading with 640,000 votes over Roxas, lower than his earlier canvassing lead of 800,000. (Read: Binay's lead over Roxas -- Congress)
Votes from some of the provinces and cities canvassed in the last days gave Binay a bigger margin. His lead in the provinces of North Cotabato, Batangas, Quezon City, Davao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro, Sultan Kudarat and Davao, Pasay and Makati cities ranged from around 20,000 to more than 100,000 votes.
Roxas led in Southern Leyte, Pampanga, Capiz, Marikina City, Cebu City and Surigao del Sur by thousands of votes.
Last Thursday, Binay's lead was only around 640,000. In June 2, when the NBOC suspended canvassing, the vice-presidential race was still very tight with Binay leading by around 120,00 votes over Roxas.
The Roxas camp claimed poll fraud in the vice-presidential contest owing to the higher incidence of null votes for vice-president. Binay's camp, however, countered that Congress is not a venue for investigating null votes. (Read: Roxas claims 'Garci' touched PCOS and Binay camp: Congress not venue for null votes)
Binay's camp initally said that they were looking to win with a 930,000 margin. They claimed that the Makati mayor would win fair and square since he won in 14 of the 17 regions.
They scored the LP camp for trying to condition the minds of the people into thinking that Binay cheated. (Read: Binay camp sees 930K winning margin)
Before the NBOC could canvass the Lanao del Sur votes on Tuesday, June 8, Roxas' lawyer Joey Tenefrancia objected to the opening the COCs from the province, raising a number of observations.
He said Roxas received 10 votes or less in 600 plus precincts, 40% of which are from Lanao del Sur, and zero to one votes in 94 clustered precincts, 64.66% of which were in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where Binay received majority of the votes. He also noted that those areas in the ARMM have an unusually high voter turn out of 97%.
On Monday night, Tenefrancia said he was disappointed that Congress did not pay attention to their concerns when he claimed that some precincts showed "statistical impossibilities" that favored Binay.
"Senator Roxas has sought to ensure that the true will of the electorate will be upheld. We have consistently manifested and moved that an accurate and complete count of the votes be conducted," Tenefrancia said before Congress before it suspended session on Tuesday.
The Roxas camp confirmed that they are planning to challenge the results of the vice presidential elections. - abs-cbnNEWS.com/ Newsbreak