Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday said he is confident Congress would be able to canvass the votes and eventually proclaim the Philippine’s next President and Vice President this week despite the pending petitions filed in the Supreme Court asking to stop Congress from canvassing the votes for presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and presumptive vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Drilon believes the Supreme Court will respect the Congress as a co-equal branch and will not issue a temporary restraining order to stop it from performing its constitutional duty to canvass the votes for the president and vice president when it convenes as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).
“Tuloy po iyan at wala namang rason na pigilan kami ng Korte Suprema…Tungkulin ng kongreso na iproklama ang pangulo at pangalawang pangulo base doon sa certificates of canvass na aming natanggap (That will push through and there is no reason for the Supreme Court to stop us. It’s the duty of Congress to proclaim the president and vice president based on the certificates of canvass or COCs that we received),” Drilon said in an interview on Radio DZBB.
“The Supreme Court will not create that kind of situation where the Congress will defy them,” he added.
At most Drilon said he believes Congress would be able to finish the canvassing for one week since there is not much problem as most of the results of the elections were electronically transmitted.
“Sa tingin ko (I think), after one week, maipoproklama na namin ang winner (we would be able to proclaim the winner), yung ating magiging Presidente and Bise Presidente (Our new President and Vice President),” the outgoing senator said.
“Magiging moot and academic yung mga nakabinbin sa Korte Suprema dahil kung hinihingi nilang ma-restrain ang proklamasyon, e tapos na kami. Mapo-proclaim na namin by that time (the petitions asking to restrain the proclamation that are pending before the Supreme Court would become moot and academic because by the time we are done with the canvassing. We will be able to proclaim the winners by that time),” he pointed out.
However, the former justice secretary, said losing parties can avail of a legal remedy saying they can file a case in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), the electoral tribunal that decides eleciton protests involving the election of the president and vice president.
Drilon pointed out presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself file a protest against Vice President Leni Robredo in 2016 before the PET.
“Kung sa tingin ng petitioner ay hindi qualified si Marcos, ang remedy ay pumunta sila sa PET na ginawa rin noon ni Marcos (If the petitioners believe Marcos is unqualified, the remedy for them is to file a petition before the PET which Marcos, Jr. also did before),” he said.
Senator Francis Tolentino agreed with Drilon saying it is the best recourse that the groups who sought to stop the proclamation of Marcos, Jr. can take.
“The Senate will perform its constitutional duty of canvassing the votes garnered by the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates regardless of the pending cases before the Supreme Court on questions of law concerning qualifications,” Tolentino said in a statement.
“Our job is to canvass the votes cast and proclaim the eventual winners as manifested by the people’s collective will. If ever any losing party will question our decision thereafter, they can file a petition before the PET composed of the honorable justices of the Supreme Court,” he pointed out.
“That is our constitutional design, and it should rest that way for generations to come. The decision of the people is beyond eligibility, it is a decision of who they want to govern themselves. The people’s decision is the voice of God,” Tolentino further stressed.