Presidential, VP proclamation eyed next week

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Rep. Leni Robredo and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA – Senator Koko Pimentel said Thursday that Congress, sitting as National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), may proclaim the winners in the presidential and vice-presidential races on Monday.

"Relying on the information given to me yesterday, we canvassed 45 (certificates of canvass). Today, I’m told we canvassed 68 (COCs). So, we added, we canvassed 113 (COCs),” Pimentel told reporters on Thursday.

“I’m told we have to canvass a total of 166 (COCs), that means (there are) 51 left. So, conceivably, since we did 68 today, we can do 51 tomorrow," he explained.

Pimentel believes the final tally can be finished tomorrow, which then has to be transmitted to plenary with the committee report. The plenary will then issue a resolution of proclamation based on the report. 

"Gagawa pa po ng report (to be) submitted to the joint session. (The) joint session resumes its session and then issues a resolution. The resolution gets passed. That’s the resolution of proclamation," Pimentel said.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, counsel for vice-presidential candidate Leni Robredo, commented on the relatively faster pace of canvass.

"Well, mas mabilis ngayon sapagkat wala nang mga anumang mga technicalities na inilalahad ang mga abugado ng mga kandidato at halos iisang abugado na lamang ang nagsasalita, ‘yung abugado mula sa kampo ni VP candidate Bongbong Marcos at ang tinatalakay lamang ay lahat mga undervotes at dahil dito kami ay naniniwala na baka bukas ay halos matatapos na natin ang pagka-canvass niyan, except of course yung mga CoCs na manggagaling sa ibang bansa," Macalintal explained.

Election lawyer George Garcia, counsel for Marcos and Grace Poe, backed the call for an early proclamation of the president, noting Poe wants a quick proclamation after she conceded the race to Rodrigo Duterte. 

Poe also supposedly is fine with issuing a waiver of proclamation.

"Supposedly, during the first day of the canvass yesterday, we were supposed to manifest before the canvass board that Senator Grace Poe, dahil siya ay nag-concede na, will no longer actively participate in the canvass,” Garcia said.

“In fact, she is much willing and supportive of the early proclamation of the winning candidate, in this case presidential candidate Digong Duterte. In the case of Sen. Grace Poe, no problem so long as it will result to the early proclamation of President Digong Duterte, no problem about it," he added.

Pimentel, meanwhile, said he will ask Duterte to reconsider his plan to skip his proclamation. 

"Pakiusapan po namin kung pwedeng mag-attend po siya ng kaniyang proclamation, but it’s not really necessary or mandatory," Pimentel said.

Duterte is not required to be present in the proclamation.

Pimentel also dismissed the repeated observations over the undervotes in the presidential race.

"If you noticed undervotes, the concept of undervotes is always mentioned but the lawyers are not objecting to the inclusion. Hence, it is clearly a nonissue in the proceedings, even the lawyers know this, that’s why they are not objecting. It’s a nonissue in these proceedings," Pimentel explained.