Inquirer.net : Comelec to proclaim Magic 12 Wednesday

By Dona Z. Pazzibugan | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) plans to proclaim the top 12 candidates in the senatorial race, or the so-called Magic 12, by Wednesday and some of the winning party-list groups by Thursday.

The proclamation date was set during an executive session by all seven commissioners on Sunday night, the sixth day of the official canvassing of votes at the Philippine International Convention Center.

“We will proclaim the 12 senators on Wednesday afternoon if the COC (certificate of canvass) from Hong Kong is transmitted tomorrow and we will proclaim the party-list groups with guaranteed seats on Thursday afternoon,” Commissioner George Garcia announced afterward.

Convening as the National Board of Canvassers tabulating the results of the senatorial and party-list elections, the Comelec has so far tallied 159, or 92 percent of 173 COCs in total.

The poll body is just waiting for 14 more COCs, including 11 on the overseas vote from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Vatican, Iran, Kenya, Nigeria, and Mexico.

“They are in transit. We are just waiting for their arrival,” the poll body’s acting spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said earlier on Sunday.

Winning bets
The COC from Hong Kong would depend on the 1,991 registered voters in Shanghai who have yet to cast their votes because of the extended COVID-19 lockdown.

The Comelec also identified two other areas of concern—Cotabato province, where the votes in 63 barangays were manually tabulated, and Lanao del Sur province, where 14 barangays are due to hold special elections.

The top 12 senatorial candidates are Robin Padilla, Loren Legarda, Raffy Tulfo, Sherwin Gatchalian, Chiz Escudero, Mark Villar, Alan Peter Cayetano, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, JV Ejercito, Risa Hontiveros and Jinggoy Estrada.

The winning party list groups are ACT-CIS, 1-Rider, Tingog, 4Ps, Ako Bicol and Sagip.

Laudiangco earlier said the commissioners were considering whether to hold a partial proclamation for the groups which have garnered the requisite minimum 2 percent of the total votes cast in the party-list election.

He said the Comelec will fill 63 seats based on the formula set by the Supreme Court to allocate 20 percent of the total seats in the House of Representatives to the party-list groups.

No substitution
Laudiangco, who also heads the Comelec’s law department, said the last-minute substitution of nominees whom the party-list groups were required earlier to name to the poll body won’t be allowed.

The deadline for the substitution of nominees was on Nov. 15 last year, according to the Comelec’s Resolution No. 10717.

But the resolution also allows the substitution of nominees after that date, if the earlier listed nominees had died or become incapacitated.

“There has to be a hearing if there is valid ground to grant the substitution. This becomes an election matter,” Laudiangco said.