When the 2010 Presidential Elections first introduced automation to how Filipinos voted for their leaders, one of the advantages most promoted about this replacement to the “traditional” manual count was the sheer speed at which results can be delivered and winning candidates can be proclaimed. The first automated outing at 2010, while still full of bugs, did give the promised fast tally. The next one (and first Senatorial) in 2013 was a bit better. By the 2016 Presidential Filipinos have started getting used to the short proclamation timetable afforded by automation. That is why the postponing of winning Senatorial proclamations a week after the polls was a notable surprising development.
CNN Philippines reports that what should have been the official proclamation of the 12 Senators who have won this year’s election, on Tuesday May 21, have been deferred by the Commission of Elections (COMELEC). The stumbling block has been holding back this momentous occasion was, according to COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez, a certificate of canvass (COC) from outside the country. This one is from overseas voters in Los Angeles, and it was going to be officially canvassed at 8 PM Tuesday in Washington DC. Once done, the COC would be transmitted to the Philippines and the National Board of Canvassers.
Normally, one last COC would not matter in the tally for a “magic 12” of winning Senators. Unfortunately the running count for the 12th, 13th and 14th positions in the Senate race was simply just too close to call without a complete count of canvass both in the Philippines and from overseas polls. The partial unofficial tally as of May 20 and with 165 of 167 COCs accounted for would have Nancy Binay at number 12 with 14,484,839 votes; JV Ejercito at 13 with 14,281,173; and Bam Aquino at 14 with 14,117,528 to his name.
The differences between the numbers are by a few hundred thousand where the three aforementioned Senate re-electionists are concerned. The Los Angeles COC, which would have 200,000 registered overseas voters, could shift any of the three on or off the 12th spot. James Jimenez made mention of these in a press briefing Tuesday, even as the Senate proclamation red-carpet would go unused for now. Jimenez sees the proclamation as happening at least before the week is out, but the announcement for Tuesday is duly off.
The COMELEC spokesperson even took a reference off the newly concluded HBO series “Game of Thrones” when explaining the deferment until the LA COC arrives. “In order to make sure na wala nang movement sa ranking ng mga elected officials, we need to get that squared away,” remarks Jimenez. “What do we say to the gods of proclamation? ‘Not today.'”
Image courtesy of Philippine Star