MANILA — Lawmakers canvassing the votes for president and vice-president flagged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday after its field officials failed to submit hard copies of the certificates of canvass (COCs).
Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), was forced to suspend its canvassing of votes from Mandaluyong City and Sulu province because COCs were not inside the ballot boxes submitted to the Senate.
“It is such a simple duty of the PES (Provincial Election Supervisor) and it's a constitutionally mandate duty of the Comelec to deliver the provincial COCs to the Senate so that we may canvass them on time during the National Board of Canvassers, during the session of Congress," said Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri.
"How difficult is that to do?" he added.
The lawmaker demanded an explanation from the highest ranking poll official present, Deputy Executive Director for Administration Helen Aguila-Flores.
“It is inevitable that somehow they have missed to organize that part... in view of many factors like lack of sleep," she replied.
Zubiri then instructed the Comelec “to immediately locate the PES for the province of Sulu and may I add the city Mandaulyong and report immediately online on Zoom.”
Flores told the panel that a member of the Comelec-Mandaluyong office is locating the certificate and would bring it to the canvassing committee.
“I hope this doesn’t happen again in the 2028 elections,” Zubiri said.
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said, “We share the same frustration and we hope the Comelec will actively take part in locating the PES.”
On Tuesday night, the panel also deferred the canvass of votes for president and vice president from Surigao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, and Pampanga due to missing COCs.
Their hard copy of the certificates of canvass were inadvertently left with the provincial canvassing board instead of being submitted to the Senate.
Photos of the COCs were instead sent via Viber and authenticated by the respective provincial election supervisors.
Congress also instructed the election supervisors of the 3 provinces to submit a written explanation on the incident.
“In fact, we have word that all three will be coming to personally deliver the COCs,” Romualdez added.
The certificate of canvass is usually the product of the long election day as it reflects the final results per province, making it the basis for proclamation for provincial positions. Results for the Senate and party-list races are submitted for canvass to the Comelec, while results for president and vice-president are canvassed by Congress.