Senate, House to convene as Nat’l Board of Canvassers to canvass votes for President, VP

Published May 23, 2022, 11:02 AM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate today (May 23) approved a resolution calling on the Senate and the House of Representatives to meet in joint session at 10 A.M. tomorrow to count the votes cast in the May 9, 2022 national elections and proclaim the President-elect and Vice President-elect.

This came as more senators physically attended the Senate session compared to past sessions where there were very few senators physically present and many attended through video conference the past two years.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III read into the record that there were 15 senators physically present and six attended virtually in today’s session.

‘’it looks like we have beaten Covid-19,’’ quipped Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri in today’s session following a three-month recess due to the three-month political campaign leading to the May 9 national and local elections.

All the ballot boxes containing the results of the archipelago-wide election were already transported from the Senate complex in Pasay City to the House of Representatives at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City today.

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).

Earlier, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. 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 National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).

Pursuant to Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution, the Senate and the House of Representatives shall meet in Joint Public Session not later than 30 days after the election to canvass the votes for President and Vice President of the Philippines, Drilon noted.

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

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

As agreed upon by the leaders of both houses of Congress, the legislature—through House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Sotto – is scheduled to proclaim the duly-elected President and Vice President on May 27.

There are petitions filed in the Supreme Court to stop the Congress from canvassing the votes for presumptive president Ferdinand ‘’Bongbong’’ R. Marcos Jr.

Drilon, however, believes the Supreme Court would respect the Congress as a co-equal branch and would not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop Congress from performing its constitutional duty to canvass the votes for the president and vice president.