Senate, party-list canvassing to continue despite SC petition, says Comelec

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2022 02:11 PM

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MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday said it will continue its canvassing of votes for the Senate and party-list races, unless they get an order from the Supreme Court suspending it.

"Hangga't wala po kaming nakukuha na kahit anong order na pinapahinto kami, na pinapatigil kami, tuloy-tuloy lang po ang magiging canvassing po namin," Comelec commissioner George Garcia said in an interview on ABS-CBN TeleRadyo. 

(As long as we do not receive any order stopping us, our canvassing will continue.)

The Comelec has convened as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for the senatorial and party-list races, while Congress serves as the NBOC for the presidential and vice-presidential races.

Garcia's comment came after a group of petitioners sought a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court on the canvassing of votes by the Senate and House of Representatives for presidential frontrunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The said group of petitioners — Fr. Christian Buenafe, Fides Lim, Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vibal, and Josephine Lascano — also asked the high court to cancel Marcos' certificate of candidacy due to alleged material misrepresentation.

They further asked the SC to declare the 31.1 million votes for Marcos as stray.

"Ang Korte Suprema, once na may ma-file na kaso sa kanya, basta nag-exercise siya ng jurisdiction, can always issue anything. They can always issue an interlocutory order. They can always issue an interlocutory remedy. Puwedeng gawin ng Korte Suprema natin iyan," Garcia said.

(Once a case has been filed at the Supreme Court and it has exercised jurisdiction over it, the court can always issue anything.)

Meanwhile, Garcia said that other than the Supreme Court petition, there have been no electoral protests filed on the outcome of the May 9 polls.

He said though that the poll body has received more than a thousand complaints related to vote buying through its Task Force Kontra Bigay. 

The task force was created last March to look into reports of vote buying in the country, which Garcia said the poll body considers as a form of electoral cheating.