Close races, glitches delay senators' proclamation
MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec), sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for the senatorial and party-list races, has deferred until Thursday the proclamation of winning senators that was originally scheduled Wednesday.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. attributed the delay to close electoral results at the local level in many areas.
He said this prevents the transmission of national results in those areas to the National Board of Canvassers under the Omnibus Election Code.
The Omnibus Election Code mandates that precinct results be consolidated and canvassed at each municipality and city for the determination of winners at the local elections before these can be transmitted to the provincial level -- or in the case of cities, straight to the national board for further consolidation.
The automated election system's own consolidation and canvassing system is also programmed not to transmit the electronic certificates of canvass at the city, provincial and municipal levels to the next level unless there is 100% transmission from all precincts.
Brillantes also mentioned concerns on the electronic transmission of results because of signal problems and other technical issues.
"No agreement as yet as to when proclamation will be held. Most probably tomorrow," he said.
"We're still analyzing what's happening in field. We're most likely proclaiming tomorrow night, depending on arrival of COCs. We will try to finish as soon as we can. We will (issue) new resolutions," he added.
Brillantes said aside from the ladderized system and the closeness of local results, there are technical issues that he'd rather not discuss.
Pressed for details, Brillantes said signal problems have had an impact. "Weak signal, nakaka-apekto iyon."
Transmissions to the Comelec's transparency server and central server have slowed down to 69.1% and 75% of PCOS machines nationwide as of Wednesday afternoon.
Asked if the percentage that has not been transmitted to the Comelec's transparency and central servers are the same that have not transmitted through the ladderized system, the poll chief said, "meron, pero di necessarily same thing."
Brillantes said sometimes, there is no transmission because of signal problems. However, this is not as widespread as the problems over close local races.
He said one option they are considering to speed up the process is manually bring in the results from the provinces through discs.
Asked to explain the discrepancy between the speed of transmissions to the Comelec transparency server and the servers of the canvassing boards, the poll chief explained that the transmissions to the transparency server do not go through the ladderized system.
"Matagal talaga iyun. Ganun kabilis transmissions sa transparency at central server. When we have unofficial results in our central Comelec server, we cannot use the central server because it is unofficial," Brillantes said.
PCOS machines transmit electronic election returns to the canvassing server, the transparency server and the central server.
Brillantes expects more transmissions in the coming hours.
Due to the delay in the proclamation, Brillantes said the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), which is using results from the transparency server, will continue its count. "Dapat tumigil na sila kahapon. Usapan naman is they can continue."
The Comelec has tried to remedy the transmission bottleneck by issuing Resolution 9700, which allowed partial transmissions of the national results and provisional proclamations at the local level in cases when untransmitted results can no longer change the final outcome.
"Certain issues at the local official canvass will have to undergo the ladderized system. There are close contests in several areas. These are being delayed," Brillantes said.
The Comelec is working on how to solve the problem.
Brillantes explained they can actually proclaim only the top 2 senators Wednesday night.
"We can proclaim some today but decision is, proclaim tomorrow, first and second in unofficial results. They will be proclaimed tomorrow night together with several others."
He said the delay isn't worse than in 2010. "In 2010, first proclamation was May 15 and only 9 were proclaimed 5 days later. Remaining 3 were proclaimed after 8 days. It took a total of 8 days to proclaim 12 senators," he said.
"Now, we should be able to make partial proclamation tomorrow and finish tomorrow or Saturday. Five days, we finish the 12," Brillantes said.