Only the Supreme Court (SC) can stop Congress in its duty to canvass the votes cast for the presidential and vice presidential race during the May 9 elections.
Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez had this to say Tuesday, May 17, following reports that disqualification cases against presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have reached the highest court in the land.
“We have a constitutional duty to perform, and we should do it unless the [SC] stops us,” said Rodriguez, who is also a lawyer.
The official canvass of votes, to be carried out by members of the House of Representatives and Senate in a joint session, will begin on May 24.
Rodriguez cited the relevant provision of the 1987 Constitution: Paragraph 4 of Section 4 of Article VII on the Executive Department.
The said paragraph provides: “The returns of every election for President and Vice President, duty certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the Senate shall, not later than thirty days after the day of the election, open all certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law, canvass the votes.”
It further states: “The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected, but in case two or more shall have an equal and highest number of votes, one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately.”
“Clearly, the Constitution directs us to do the canvass. It even sets a timeline. We have to carry out this mandate, unless and until there is a restraining order from the [SC],” stressed the veteran solon from Midnanao.
He warned his colleagues of possible efforts by some sectors to use the cases in the SC to disrupt or delay the canvass. “The tabulation should proceed smoothly and speedily, after which, Congress should determine and proclaim the winners.”
Partial and unofficial results of the polls showed Marcos and his running mate, vice presidential bet Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte with mathematically insurmountable leads over their respective opponents as both receives over 31 million votes.