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Comelec to wait for all results before proclaiming winners

May 11, 2010 5:26pm

Unlike in past elections when the canvassing was done manually, the winners in the senatorial and party-list races in this year’s automated polls will not be proclaimed unless all the results have been counted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"Way back then, the practice was to proclaim winners even without complete election results if only to avoid protests. But here under the [automated] system, there can be no proclamation unless there is a hundred percent count," said Comelec chairman Jose Melo at a press briefing on Tuesday.

The Comelec is currently sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) counting the votes in Monday’s elections, the first nationwide automated polls in the country.

Melo issued the statement after the Comelec released partial official results of the elections early Tuesday. He noted, however, that they would no longer release any updates after their last report based on votes cast by 30,431,735 voters.

Delayed proclamation?

Melo admitted that the canvassing might delay the proclamation of election winners.

The NBOC will base its proclamation on the certificates of canvass (COC) that will be sent by the Provincial Board of Convassers (PBC). The PBC will in turn receive COCs from the city and municipal board of canvassers.

On the other hand, Congress, also sitting as the NBOC, will serve as the canvassing board for the position of president and vice president. They are set to convene on May 31.

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, only four of the country’s 80 provinces were able to transmit their COCs to the Comelec.

The low turnout of COCs from PBOC all over the country prompted the NBOC to declare a recess on Tuesday and resume on Wednesday morning.

Likewise, only five cities—San Juan, Valenzuela, Malabon, Makati and Paranaque—in Metro Manila were able to transmit their COCs to Comelec for national canvassing.

"Proceedings might be delayed... but [we will continue] to update you with results as they come," said Melo.

Fast transmission

Melo, however, noted that the transmission of results from the precincts to all levels of canvassing have been generally fast. "The exercise [of voting] was faster than you can say Garci," he said.

The poll body chief was referring to the 2004 election controversy where an allegedly wiretapped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano surfaced, revealing alleged plots to rig election results.

He said the Comelec is pleased that the election results have so far not been questioned by anybody. "[It shows] credibility on the part of the count. Credibility on the part of the system, credibility on the part of the Comelec," he said.

Commissioner Larrazabal said that the poll body has received almost 79 percent of the uncanvassed official results as of Tuesday morning.

Random Manual Audit

On the other hand, the Comelec has yet to release the results of the Random Manual Audit (RMA), which is supposed to be held in 1,145 precincts nationwide.

"There was no report yet from the field. In the [National Capital Region], we have not received complete reports yet . . . so far they are accurate but we cannot announce it yet because we are waiting for [its completion]," said Commissioner Lucenito Tagle during the same briefing.

The commissioner, however, did not specify the permissible margin of error between Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS)-generated results and the RMA.

"We will come to that later once we see the reports," he said. - KBK, GMANews.TV
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