Sotto warns of constitutional crisis if SC stops Congress from canvassing votes for President, VP

Published May 19, 2022, 1:27 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III today (May 19) warned that a possible Supreme Court decision stopping Congress from canvassing the May 9 votes for President and Vice President would court a constitutional crisis.

Sotto issued the statement after civic leaders on Tuesday have asked the High Tribunal to stop the Senate and House of Representatives from canvassing the votes cast for former senator and presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.

‘ If that happens, we will be courting a constitutional crisis from the fact that Congress can no longer meet after June 3rd. Who will then conduct the canvass as mandated by the Constitution?,’’ Sotto asked.

Sotto stressed that July 25 is a key date for Congress.

‘’So, no President or VP (Vice President) by June 30? What do they propose? Holdover? Tell me if that is not a crisis!,’’ he added.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, a former Senate President and former Justice Secretary, said the petition would not prosper.

‘’The Supreme Court cannot restrain or stop the Congress, acting as the National Board of Canvassers, from performing its constitutional duty of canvassing the votes for President and Vice President of the Republic, and proclaiming the winner,’’ he stressed.

The prayer for a restraining order was contained in a petition to reverse the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissing the bid to cancel Marcos’ certificate of candidacy (COC).

“The injunctive relief sought is clearly urgent. Petitioners respectfully ask this Court to act without any delay in considering this application,” the petition said.

The Senate and House of Representatives are scheduled to convene on May 24 to canvass the votes cast for President and Vice President.

The canvassing and proclamation will be held at the House of Representatives.

As of now, the Senate has received 88.44 percent or 153 of the total 173 COCs, as of Thursday, May 19.

Transmitted to the Senate were Certificates of Canvass (COCs) and Election Returns (ERs) from Sulu, the United States of America, and Australia.