Koko calls proclamation 'premature'

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 17 2013 09:36 PM | Updated as of May 18 2013 05:36 AM

MANILA – Senator-elect Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III believes the proclamation of the 9 winning senators on Thursday and Friday is premature, based on the number of votes still uncanvassed.

Pimentel questioned the decision of the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to proclaim the winning senators with still around 5 million votes still unaccounted for.

"Ang lamang ng 7th place sa 13th place is less than 5 million [votes]. So theoretically, or mathematically speaking, pwede bang abutan ng 13th placer ang 7th placer or 8th placer," he told dzMM on Friday.

Pimentel stressed, however, that he is not questioning the results, but the process of proclaiming early.

“Kapag ganyan ang sitwasyon, it is better to wait at huwag muna mag-proclaim, mag-canvass more. Mag-canvass pa ng mag-canvass until sa darating tayo sa punto na ‘yung unaccounted number of votes na hindi pa naka-canvass ay hindi na talagang makakaapekto sa resulta, then you proclaim,” he said.

“Dapat hindi muna nagpo-proclaim, dapat tuloy ang trabaho ng canvassers, get more results,” he added.

Pimentel also expressed fears that the practice may serve as a precedent for future elections, saying the NBOC should "strictly" follow the law and procedures.

“How about in the future, kung hindi mababait ang nakaupo sa National Board of Canvassers, at mayroon silang hidden agenda and then gagamitin din nila itong practice na speed, nako kawawa ang mga kandidato,” he said.

The senator said the NBOC in this year’s polls should aspire to be remembered as a board that strictly adhered to the rules than be a board that delivered quick results.

Pimentel, along with Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV and Antonio Trillanes IV, were proclaimed Friday night, but only Aquino was able to attend the proclamation at the PICC in Pasay City.

Trillanes out of town

Trillanes said he is with his family for a long-planned vacation, but stressed that he would have attended proclamation if he was in town.

"I respect Pimentel's opinion, he's very much concerned with rules and procedures,” Trillanes said.

“As far as I'm concerned, all candidates by now should know their total number of votes. We're arguing about formalities,” he added.

Trillanes also said he is not inclined to file a motion questioning the proclamation.

The Comelec earlier proclaimed Team PNoy candidates Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Sonny Angara, and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidate Nancy Binay.
Binay, however, did not show up for her proclamation, saying she wanted no doubts about her victory in the May 13 polls.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes has defended the proclamation, saying they have basis to proclaim the winning candidates.

Brillantes also said he is willing to resign as Comelec chairman if it turns out the 6 senators proclaimed Thursday would lose the election.