MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may be able to proclaim three more winning party-list groups before the 16th Congress opens on July 22.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. yesterday said three more party-list seats might be filled at the House of Representatives before President Aquino delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) if they will be able to finish canvassing close to 40,000 votes.
“(After we complete the canvassing), we can already proclaim three more. Preferably, I said we should finish it by the 19th. But we are looking at completing it before July 22, before the SONA,” he said.
Of the 58 seats allocated for party-list groups at the House, six remain unfilled as it was stopped by the Supreme Court (SC) from completing the proclamation in view of the petition filed by Senior Citizens and Abang Lingkod.
SC has ordered the Comelec to reserve seats pending the resolution of the petitions. This prompted the poll body to withhold the Certificate of Proclamation for one seat of the An Waray group and stop the proclamation of the winners of the five other seats.
Results of the canvassing showed Senior Citizens had obtained 677,642 votes which is equivalent to two seats while Abang Lingkod got 260,215 votes, entitling it to one seat.
“We are reserving the two seats plus the one of An Waray, so we can proclaim the three others already,” Brillantes said.
Based on Comelec Resolution No. 9742, a total of 47 clustered precincts holding 39,368 votes remain uncanvassed due to the absence of election returns (ERs) caused by defective compact flash (CF) cards of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
These precincts are found in the provinces of Isabela, Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Cebu, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Benguet, as well as the cities of Manila, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, and San Juan in Metro Manila.
The resolution showed the ballots from the concerned clustered precincts would be subjected to batch feeding or counting by PCOS machines so the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIs) to be able to canvass the votes.
The batch feeding/counting will be held beginning July 15 to 19 at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.