House reconvenes, sets sights on speedy canvassing

Published May 22, 2022, 4:24 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

After a grueling campaign and election season, the 300-strong House of Representatives is set to resume sessions on Monday afternoon, May 23 to pave the way for the most important task of the current 18th Congress–the canvassing of votes for the just-concluded presidential and vice presidential race.

At 2 p.m. Monday, House members will reconvene to adopt a joint resolution convening the House into a joint session with the Senate and act as National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for the two highest elective posts of the land.

The joint session will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the House of Representatives in Batasan Complex, Quezon City.

Also expected in the House session Monday is the election on the floor of the chamber’s contingent to the NBOC.

Partial and unofficial election results via transparency servers showed that former senator Bongbong Marcos and current Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte were the runaway winners of the presidential and vice presidential race, respectively.

The goal of the lawmakers is to proclaim the winners by May 27. The two legislative chambers–the House of Representatives and the Senate–will then adjourn sine die on June 3, formally ending the 18th Congress.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday, May 22 assured the nation that the canvassing of votes and proclamation of winners in the recently concluded presidential and vice presidential elections will be “expeditious, transparent and credible”.

“The Congress, sitting as the NBOC, is duty-bound to make sure that the entire process of vote counting and transmission of results will be done expeditiously and with utmost transparency and integrity,” Velasco said in a statement.

As agreed upon by the leaders of both houses of Congress, the legislature—through Velasco and Senate President Vicente Sotto III—is scheduled to proclaim the duly-elected president and vice president on May 27.

“We will perform our constitutional duty quickly and efficiently. We will be combining accuracy and speed in order for us to meet our committed timeline,” Velasco, the Marinduque lone district congressman, vowed.

The House leader also said that the vote canvassing will proceed despite a pending disqualification case against presidential candidate Marcos before the Supreme Court (SC).

“Our duty to canvass is mandated by the Constitution itself,” Velasco pointed out. “Nothing therein says that this duty is suspended while a case, which has already been dismissed by the Commission on Elections, is pending with the Supreme Court.”

How will the canvassing proceed?

Each NBOC contingent will have seven regular members and four alternate members. The House Speaker and the Senate President shall designate the chairperson of each panel.

It is expected that the Senate will initiate the delivery to the House of the ballot boxes containing the certificates of canvass (CoCs) to be counted by the Joint Committee.

Velasco and Sotto shall serve as presiding officers during the joint session.

The Senate President shall open, in the order they were received, all electronically transmitted CoCs in the Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS) and all manually counted and physically delivered CoCs not electronically transmitted in the CCS.

The Joint Committee shall decide all questions and issues raised involving the CoCs by a majority of vote of its members, each panel voting separately.

In case the two panels disagree, the decision of the chairperson shall prevail. In case of a deadlock, the matter shall be resolved by the House Speaker and the Senate President.

Once the canvassing is completed, the joint committee report shall be approved and signed by a majority of the members of the Joint Committee.

The report shall be approved and signed by a majority of the members of the Joint Committee. Each panel will vote separately.

After which, the report shall be submitted to the joint public session for consideration and approval. A majority of senators and House members, voting separately, shall approve the report and adopt the resolution of both chambers proclaiming the duly elected president and vice president.

Upon adoption of the resolution of both houses, the Speaker and the Senate President shall proclaim the president-elect and the vice president-elect.