Abakada Party list Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz, Campaign Adviser of Vice Presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today insisted that the winners in the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections may be proclaimed separately.
During the joint session of Congress, convened as the National Board of Canvassers, Dela Cruz proposed an amendment to the rules of the canvass, seeking separate consideration for the votes of the President and the Vice President but his proposal was outvoted and the rules were adopted without amendment.
He noted that the Certificates of Canvass consists of two documents, one containing the votes for the President and the other the votes for the Vice President so separate canvass and proclamation is possible.
“If the presidential canvass is uncontested then the President-elect can be proclaimed separately from the Vice President.,” Dela Cruz said.
In the case of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, Dela Cruz said the former can be proclaimed tomorrow after the joint congressional committee had tallied all the votes for him because all his rivals have conceded.
“Perhaps tomorrow he can already be proclaimed. There is no need for us even to through the COCs for the President,” Dela Cruz said.
After adotping the rules, the NBOC started opening the ballot boxes containing the COCs in preparation for the canvass for the President and Vice President.
However, Dela Cruz said that since there are various issues that have to be looked into and several COC’s that have to be examined in the case of the Vice Presidential elections, the canvass should proceed.
Despite the defeat of the proposal of Dela Cruz, Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the rules actually allow for separate canvass and proclamation for the President and Vice President.
He proposed a similar amendment earlier, arguing that in case of a question on the COC regarding any one of the elective positions, separate consideration of votes should be done to avoid unnecessary delay in the canvass and proclamation.
“The explanation that was given to me is that that (option) is already incorporated in the rules, so I asked for an assurance that that is their interpretation and that is going to be the interpretation of the (joint) committee,” said Sotto in an interview.
He said that since the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate President Franklin Drilon gave him assurance that the rules should be interpreted as such he withdrew his proposed amendment.
“But whether they accepted my proposed amendment or not I was able to achieve my intention because it brought into the limelight that issue that the rules should be interpreted as such,” Sotto said.
In a privilege speech on Monday, Marcos called for the separate proclamation of President and Vice President as he also raised various issues that cast doubt on the integrity of the elections.
Among these issues were the introduction of a script in the transparency server used in the polls without proper authorization from the Commission on Elections en banc, as well as various incidents of vote-buying, intimidation and other efforts to disenfranchise voters.