Congress defers canvassing of votes from Davao City

June 7, 2010 7:06 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, June 7 — The 18-man joint panel of Congress — the Senate and the House of Representatives — acting as the National Board of Canvasser (NBOC) that canvasses votes for president and vice president, on Monday deferred the canvassing of the certificates of canvass (CoCs) from Davao City, which could delay the proclamation of the two top posts of the land.

Davao City, where more than 500,000 votes are being expected, does not have statement of votes (SoV) to accompany the CoC that it submitted to Congress for canvassing.

SoVs contain the breakdown of results per precinct. In case of discrepancies between the electronically-generated CoC in Congress and the manually transmitted results that were delivered to the Senate, the NBOC may refer to the SoVs to check.

It was Romulo Macalintal, lawyer for presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro Jr., who moved for the deferment, saying that the CoC can only be canvassed if supported by corresponding documents such as the SoV.

He noted that the SoV would determine the authenticity and due execution of the CoCs.

Macalintal also noted that while the registered number of voters in the province was 948,428, the turn out was only 580,236.

Lawyer Danilo Cullo, head of the provincial board of canvassers in Davao City, said their canvassing and consolidation server failed to print the SoV despite the help from Smartmatic personnel.

Speaker Prospero Nograles questioned Cullo for proclaiming the winning local candidates in Davao City without the SoV.

Nograles run for mayor in Davao City but lost to Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of incumbent Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

He asked Cullo why until now, almost a month after the elections, they still could not generate the SoV to support the results of the elections in the province.

"Do you know that under the law you can’t proclaim anybody without the SoV? The SoV is the basis for the proclamation. Do you know that?" asked Nograles.

To the Speaker’s surprise, Cullo replied: "I don’t know."

"We proclaimed (winning candidates) based on the CoC and the CoCP (Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation)," he said.

Nograles said it was unacceptable that the machine used in Davao City failed to print the SoV, when other provinces were able to produce an SoV.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the soft copy of the SoV exists but it cannot be printed because the server might crash. The SoV has 10,000 pages.

For his part, Smartmatic–Asia Pacific president Cesar Flores said they are now locating the laptop used in Davao City in order to generate the SoV from the server. The laptop was brought to the warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna after the May 10 elections.

"As soon as they find it, within the day, we will bring it here," he told the congressional canvassing body.

In the end, the NBOC ruled it will await the copy of the SoV before they start canvassing the CoC of Davao City, which is one of the five remaining CoCs that Congress have yet to canvass before proclaiming the winners.

Earlier, the the NBOC canvassed the votes from Eastern Samar.

Presidential front-runner Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay dominated the presidential and vice presidential race with 14,527,770 and 14,158,578 votes, respectively. (PNA)

vcs/LGI

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