Noynoy, Binay retain leads, sure to be proclaimed
Aquino and Binay maintained their lead over their rivals even after votes from Lanao del Sur province — the last batch received by the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) — were tallied early Tuesday afternoon.
In the final tally, Aquino got 15,208,678 votes while his closest rival, former President Joseph Estrada, got 9,487,837, a 5.7-million lead.
In the vice presidential race, Binay received 14,645,574 votes while closest contender, Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, got 13,918,490, a 727,084-lead.
At the start of the canvassing, Roxas dominated the overseas absentee voting.
But Binay took the lead and even pulled away when votes from the provinces and cities were canvassed. On Tuesday, Roxas mulled filing an electoral protest against Binay.
The Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), convened on May 25 but only started actual canvassing of votes two days later after grilling the officials of the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic.
The NBOC is expected to officially announce the victory of Aquino and Binay on Wednesday afternoon, after 11 days of checking the election documents and tallying the votes from the country’s 80 provinces, 22 cities, and local and overseas absentee voters.
There were 278 certificates of canvass but the body opened and canvassed only 238 as 40 COCs from the overseas absentee voting bore zero votes.
The absence of electronically transmitted and manually submitted COCs delayed the canvassing of votes and other questions on the authenticity and due execution of the election document delayed the canvassing.
The NBOC even had to call a number of provincial boards of canvassers to explain the discrepancies. (See: Congress summons 12 canvassing board chairmen)
In a joint public session on Wednesday, the report of the 18-man joint congressional canvassing committee will be presented.
Lawmakers will then be allowed to adopt or reject it through voice voting — those in favor will shout aye and those against will say nay.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles said Wednesday's proceedings will be smooth.
Not even a problem with quorum will delay the proclamation, Nograles said.
"I think everybody is excited to be in a historic event like this where they will proclaim the next president and vice president. I don’t foresee a quorum problem or anybody who will try to rain on the parade," he said in an interview with reporters.
The lack of a quorum had been a perennial problem in the House whenever the chamber needed to pass an important bill, the latest of which was the freedom of information bill.
"I would like to appeal to every member of Congress, both House and Senate, to rise above ourselves and respect the will of the people, if we have any gripes or grievance, we should still follow the rule of law that we have in the country so we can show to the world that we are politically mature people," Enrile said.
At least 135 of the House's 268 members should be present in order to have quorum. On the part of the Senate, 13 senators are needed for the quorum.
Asked if they have already sent invitations to Aquino and Binay to attend the joint session, Nograles believed there was no need to do so since the candidates' lawyers and allies were always present during the canvassing.
But he said that the chamber "can also do that." "We will ask the secretariat," Nograles said.
The House will be preparing a holding room for the two where they will stay while waiting for the proclamation proper.
Enrile and Nograles believed that the automated elections and the canvassing were a success.
"Wala namang masyadong reklamo except the lowering of the threshold, null votes. If you notice most of the complaints came from the local, sa ibaba, in the national wala ka namang narinig na senador na nagcomplain except for technical matters like the null votes and the threshold, final testing and sealing," Nograles said.
(No one really complained except during the lowering of the threshold and null votes. Most of the complaints came from local polls. No senator raised objections except for technical matters like null votes and the threshold, final testing and sealing.)
It was mostly the lawyers of Roxas who raised the questions and objections regarding the matter.
They even filed an omnibus motion to exclude the canvassing of certain provinces but it was rejected by the NBOC. — RJAB Jr./RSJ/HS, GMANews.TV