Congress resumes session today

Published May 23, 2022, 6:27 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate and the House of Representatives are ready to canvass the votes cast for President and Vice President in the May 9 national elections as it resumes the 3rd Regular Session of the 18th Congress today, May 23.

MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO

Upon the resumption of session, the senators are expected to approve a concurrent resolution allowing both the Senate and House of Representatives to convene as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) starting on Tuesday, May 24.

The Senate has been receiving ballot boxes containing Certificates of Canvass (COCs) and Election Returns (ERs) for president and vice president from various parts of the country and abroad since May 9 or after the national and local elections.

The Senate, under Article 7, Section 4 of the Constitution, is mandated to receive the returns of every election for President and Vice President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city.

The ballot boxes that were delivered to the Senate would be transferred to the House of Representatives early morning today.

The Senate’s contingent to the NBOC are Senators Imee Marcos, Franklin Drilon, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Francis Tolentino, Pia Cayetano, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and Senators Sonny Angara, and Cynthia Villar will alternately serve as members of the NBOC.

The Senate is also expected to continue to work on several measures pending in the chamber.

These include Senate Bill No. 2490 which seeks to strengthen the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) by rationalizing and professionalizing its organization. The bill is up for third and final reading.

The Senate is also set to approve Senate Bill No. 2450, which provides for the permanent validity of birth, death and marriage certificates which is also up for third reading approval.

Senators are also expected to pass on final reading Senate Bill No. 2484, or the proposed Provincial Science and Technology Office Act; SBN 2455 or the proposed Creative Industries Charter of the Philippines; SBN 2423 or the proposed Private Security Services Industry Act; and SBN 2399 or the proposed Parent Effectiveness Service Program Act.

Speedy canvassing

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 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 Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and incumbent Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte were the runaway winners of the presidential and vice presidential races, 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, Marinduque’s lone district representative, 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 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.

 
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