Aquino-Roxas lawyers oppose canvassing of incomplete COCs

June 1, 2010 8:35 pm 

By Mediatrix P. Cristobal

MANILA, June 1 — The Aquino-Roxas Bantay Balota (ARBB) vote protection volunteer group on Tuesday opposed the inclusion of the certificates of canvass (COCs) from various provinces in the national canvass of Congress, the first of which is from Cavite where more than 14,000 votes have been unwittingly excluded in the said COC.

Atty. Joey Tenefrancia of ARBB, standing as counsel of vice-presidential candidate Senator Mar Roxas, manifested this objection in the Joint Canvassing Committee of Congress, as he asked for the tally of election returns (ERs) in Cavite to be compared to the COC, in accordance with Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166.

“We object to the canvass of the Cavite COC, as it is not accurate,” he said, pointing out that more than 3,000 votes have been excluded because of the lowering of threshold from 100 percent to be able to proclaim local candidates. Meanwhile, more than 11,000 votes were also excluded, as 13 precincts transmitted not the actual votes cast on May 10, but the mock votes cast during the final testing and sealing (FTS) of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

ARBB lawyers also posed objections to the canvassing of votes from Bulacan and Laguna, where the transmitted COCs were also incomplete due to the lowering of canvassing thresholds and the erroneous transmission of FTS mock votes.

Tenefrancia also manifested that in Cavite City, more than 27,000 votes in the vice-presidential race were recorded as null votes. Also, while other candidates’ counsels said these votes may seem to not affect the vice presidential race in the province, Tenefrancia stressed that each and every vote must and should be counted properly.

Cavite is the first case brought up before the Joint Canvassing Committee where its COC was rendered incomplete because of the decision of the Commission of Elections (Comelec) to lower the threshold of transmission, and the erroneous transmission of FTS mock results.

Meanwhile, Camarines Norte Rep. Liwayway Vinzons-Chato stressed that while the lowering of thresholds and the transmission of FTS mock results may not be a case of genuineness and authenticity, the issue of incomplete COCs as a result of these should be immediately decided on by the Joint Canvassing Committee for this may involve hundreds of thousands of votes unwittingly excluded from the COCs.

“Comelec lowered the thresholds and transmitted incomplete COCs. Comelec gave a list of areas where the thresholds have been lowered. This is an admission that many votes in various provinces have been excluded in the COCs,” she said.

“It is our responsibility to find out the extent of its effects on the final outcome of the presidential and vice presidential race. It will be a disservice to our people if we do an incomplete canvass,” she stressed. (PNA) LAP/MPC

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