Congress eyes 24-hour canvassing of votes for president, VP

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2022 02:52 PM

The Commission on Elections National Board of Canvassers continue to receive boxes containing certificates of canvass at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on May 15, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
The Commission on Elections National Board of Canvassers continue to receive boxes containing certificates of canvass at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on May 15, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — Congress is gearing up for a 24-hour canvass of the votes in the May 9 presidential and vice-presidential races.

House of Representatives Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza said the canvassing is set to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with the Senate and House convening as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).

Once the NBOC convenes, Mendoza said that a straightforward process is expected without any breaks or suspension of session.

“The Congress, sitting as the NBOC, is duty-bound to make sure that the entire process of vote counting and transmission of results will be done expeditiously and with utmost transparency and integrity,” Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said in a statement on Sunday.

“We will perform our constitutional duty quickly and efficiently. We will be combining accuracy and speed in order for us to meet our committed timeline,” he added.

Mendoza said the canvassing board will have alternate members who can take shifts during the planned 24-hour canvass. The Senate and the House will contribute 7 regular members each to the committee, with 4 alternates.

He also noted that the canvassing this time would be faster than previous elections due to its automated nature.

In 2004, the last manual election in the country, canvassing dragged on for weeks with winners proclaimed on June 24, just 6 days before the new administration was to take office.

From weeks, canvassing only took 3 days in the 2016 polls.

The joint Senate-House panel is expected to start actual canvassing by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Mendoza said the NBOC aims to finish canvassing by Friday. But should they be able to sustain a 24-hour canvass, they could proclaim the next President and Vice President by Thursday morning, he said. 

All the ballot boxes were received at the House at 5 a.m. Monday.

Meanwhile, Velasco said that the canvassing would proceed despite a pending disqualification case against presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. before the Supreme Court.

“Our duty to canvass is mandated by the Constitution itself,” Velasco pointed out. “Nothing therein says that this duty is suspended while a case, which has already been dismissed by the Commission on Elections, is pending with the Supreme Court.” 

“We are bound to proclaim the winning President and Vice President, and uphold the will of the people with dispatch,” he added.

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