All systems go: Congress ready to canvass votes, proclaim new President, VP

Published May 23, 2022, 4:06 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate and House of Representatives are all set to convene on Tuesday, May 24, as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to canvass the votes cast for president and vice president in the last May 9, 2022 elections and later proclaim the President-elect and Vice President-elect.

Ballot boxes containing the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) and Election Returns (ERs) delivered to the Senate are transmitted to the House of Representatives early morning of Monday, May 23, 2002. The Senate and House will convene as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to canvass votes cast for the May 2022 presidential and vice presidential elections.

For the past two weeks, the Senate received from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) 90.17 percent or 156 of the total 173 Certificates of Canvass (COCs) and Election Returns (ERs) for votes cast for president and vice president.

These ballot boxes were transmitted to the House of Representatives on Monday.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had earlier expressed confidence that both houses of Congress would be able to sit as the NBOC and finish their mandate to canvass the votes for president and vice president and eventually proclaim the winning candidates, presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Both Marcos and Duterte-Carpio exhibited a huge lead over their rivals in the last May polls.

Drilon said there is no stopping Congress from canvassing the votes and proclaiming the winning presidential and vice-presidential candidates once it convenes as the NBOC despite the pending petitions before the Supreme Court that seek to stop Marcos’ proclamation.

Drilon said he believes the Supreme Court will respect Congress as a co-equal branch of government and will not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop them from performing their constitutional duty.

“I do not foresee any problem that can slow down the canvassing of votes by the NBOC,” Drilon said.

Aside from Drilon and Sotto, the Senate contingent to the NBOC includes Sen. Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, Francis Tolentino, Nancy Binay, Ralph Recto and Cynthia Villar.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri told reporters that Congress hopes to finish the canvassing by May 25, Wednesday.

Drilon and Tolentino also said parties who lost in their bid to stop the proclamation of the winning presidential and vice presidential candidates can file their respective case in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

The PET is the electoral tribunal that decides election protests involving the election of the president and vice president, and is composed of SC justices.

“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…That is our constitutional design, and it should rest that way for generations to come,” Tolentino said.

“The decision of the people is beyond eligibility, it is a decision of who they want to govern themselves,” he further stressed.