Inquirer.net : Comelec, sitting as NBOC, suspends canvassing, to resume Tuesday afternoon

By Christia Marie Ramos | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec), sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), suspended the canvassing of votes on Monday afternoon, an unprecedented move since the country started automating its election system.

“At this point, we are still awaiting electronic transmission of the results and, therefore, this canvass is hereby suspended to resume tomorrow at one o’clock in the afternoon,” Comelec Chairman Saidamin Pangarungan said.

The Comelec convened past 3 p.m. on election day, around four hours before voting ends at 7 p.m.

In a press briefing after the suspension of canvassing, Commissioner Aimee Ferolino said the “early suspension” of vote canvassing was made since vote counting machines (VCMs) have yet to transmit results.

“The en banc through the chair declared an early suspension since hindi pa naman magtatransmit yung ating mga VCMs,” Ferolino told reporters.

“And a report from the VCMs will still have to pass through the MBOC (Municipal Board of Canvassers) and the PBOC (Provincial Board of Canvassers). So ang, remember na magko-close ang voting generally by 7 o’clock, so after that, saka pa magka-count. So there’s no point waiting kasi wala pa naman talaga kaming mare-receive na results,” she added.

“That’s why we will resume tomorrow ‘pag meron nang mata-transmit to the NBOC,” she further said.

Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco, for his part, said what had happened is not a “postponement,” and was “merely a suspension of the proceedings.”

“Akin to a recess… Wala pong adjournment. Hindi po nag-adjourn and NBOC, we will continue with continuing quorum and we will resume the session po tomorrow,” he said.

The Comelec will be canvassing votes only up to the senatorial positions. The presidential and vice-presidential votes will be canvassed by Congress when it resumes session on May 23.

Earlier, Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said the country’s new senators may be proclaimed by May 15 to 16, citing previous polls.

For local positions, the Comelec may already proclaim the winners as early as the evening of the election day on May 9 up to May 10, he added.

There are a total of 18,100 national and local posts up for grabs in this year’s elections.