May 20, 2019
IT does not raise public confidence in the recently concluded midterm elections and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to see the poll body eagerly schedule a proclamation of winners in the Senate and party-list races for 4 p.m. yesterday, issue invitations to the event, and then back off just hours later to announce that the proclamation would not push through.
We expect the Comelec to be surefooted and commanding in its management of the elections, and its canvass of the election results.
Emotions and nerves have been stretched to the limit by the demands of the campaign, and are now witnessing the final stage of the election process.
Candidates are naturally eager to get themselves proclaimed as speedily as possible; they will press to get official assurance that their labors have been worth all the effort and the sacrifices, and have not been in vain.
The public and the media similarly are anxious to get hold quickly of a reliable, accurate and official tabulation of the votes in the elections. We want the news served to us fast.
Yet all these considerations and the clamor for the proclamation of winners are secondary to the more imperative need for a vote tabulation that is accurate, complete and devoid of disruptions.
In this light, the Comelec decision to defer yesterday’s proclamation of winners was unassailable and prudent. The circumstances demanded it.
In explanation, the elections body said the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) has so far canvassed 149 out of 167 certificates of canvass.
A Comelec official said there are 13 COCs that are still pending and need to be transmitted to the Comelec.
He cited both particular areas of the country, and certain foreign capitals that still have to transmit the results of overseas voting in their jurisdictions.
Significantly, there are pending issues to resolve, the Comelec official said.
“The COCs are going to be manually delivered here from certain areas. That is why they must fly here, ‘yung mga abroad,” he said.
“’Yung mga electronic transmission alam na natin ‘yung Lanao del Sur, Isabela, Zamboanga del Norte eto ‘yung problema ang VCMs and SD cards,” the official said.
In the case of Jones, Isabela, the Comelec official said there was a pending recommendation to the commission en banc to hold special elections on May 20.
“This involves one precinct which was burned, affecting around 1,000 votes, which can affect the outcome of the local elections,” thus leading to a request for a special election.
All these pending issues must be resolved first before the Comelec can complete its canvassing. And only when the canvassing is completed can Comelec physically identify the winners in the Senate and party-list elections.
Meantime therefore, the elections body must hold off from scheduling the proclamation of winners.
Before the work is done, any invitation to a proclamation should be disregarded as a mistake or fake news.
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