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Comelec: Proclamation today a ‘pretty sure bet’

May 21, 2019

Winners of the May 13 senatorial race will be named today, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said, rejecting calls for a partial proclamation with over 1.5 million votes left to be tallied.

“I think at this point, it is a pretty sure bet that we are going to have the proclamation [on May 21],” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a briefing on Monday.

Election personnel canvass the remaining ballots at the Philippine International Convention Center.PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

“All indications point to proclamation tomorrow (today) and in fact we are preparing as if it were tomorrow just to be on the safe side,” he added.

The Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), is still waiting for five out of a total 167 certificates of canvass (CoCs). Four of these involve votes cast by Filipinos in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and the

United States while the final one will come from the province of Isabela, where special elections were held yesterday in a village in the municipality of Jones.

Armed men burned vote-counting machines in Dicamay 1, Jones last week, prompting the staging of the special polls. The result will be added to the CoC from Isabela province, which was expected to be delivered yesterday evening.

The remaining CoCs account for 1,683,938 registered voters, 1,050,681 of which are in Isabela. The rest comprise Filipinos in Saudi Arabia (326,620), remaining votes from the US (228,472), Japan (76,166) and Abuja, Nigeria (1,999).

The Comelec’s Jimenez said the NBOC wanted to finish tallying the remaining votes as these could still affect the final senatorial rankings, at least for the bottom spots of the so-called “Magic 12.”

On Sunday, a lawyer representing former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa — comfortably in fifth place — called for partial proclamation of the top 6.

“We have resisted that so far. Clearly we have stayed the course with our goal of proclaiming just one batch of senators and partylists,” Jimenez said.

“Overall, the uncanvassed returns total to 1.6 million, again a very significant number considering the margins that we are seeing in the rankings of the senatorial candidates, which again means that we do have to wait for the completion.”

Party-list groups will be proclaimed on Wednesday.

Latest tallies

Based on the unofficial Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) count as of 4:59 p.m. on Monday, reelectionist Sen. Cynthia Villar remained on top of the “Magic 12” list with 25,118,965 votes, followed by fellow reelectionist Mary Grace Poe (21,913,157) and former presidential aide Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (20,456,634).

Rounding out the top 6, who will receive full six-year terms, were former Sen. Pilar Juliana “Pia” Cayetano (19,635,429), dela Rosa (18,805,707), and reelectionist Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (18,043,450).

Set for three-year terms, meanwhile, were former senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid (16,881,514), Ilocos Norte Gov. Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos (15,732,445), former Metro Manila Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino, (15,370,463), Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd (14,550,380), Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. (14,547,185) and reelectionist Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay (14,449,155).

Based on the official Comelec counts as 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, meanwhile, the ranking stood as follows:

– Villar, 24,757,642;

– Poe, 21,563,558;

– Go, 20,223,738;

– Cayetano, 19,390,096;

– dela Rosa, 18,639,583;

– Angara, 17,786,740;

– Lapid, 16,587,742;

– Marcos, 15,362,702;

– Tolentino, 15,196,397;

– Pimentel, 14,395,957;

– Revilla, 14,279,625; and

– Binay, 14,065,071.

All but Poe, Lapid and Binay have been endorsed by the administration, and the Comelec said it was also preparing for a possible proclamation appearance by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We are not just preparing security-wise, we are also preparing space for him and his entourage on the floor for tomorrow (today),” Jimenez said.

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