Congress starts canvassing votes for prexy, VP

The canvassing of votes for president and vice president in the recently concluded election has begun after Congress convened on Tuesday morning as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).,The joint session was led by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, who also approved the rules for the canvassing of votes.,Seven members from respective houses have been named to be its representatives in the Joint Canvassing Committee. For the Senate, Sotto picked Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, and Pia Cayetano, with Zubiri as chairperson of the Senate contingent.,Senators Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Risa Hontiveros, Koko Pimentel, and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa will serve as alternate members.,Meanwhile, Velasco designated 11 House lawmakers as regular and alternate members of the Joint Committee, including House contingent chairperson, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.,Aside from Romualdez, other regular members are Reps. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Kristine Singson-Meehan, Sharon Garin, Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe, and Juliet Marie De Leon.,The alternate members are Reps. Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc, John Ty Pimentel, Alfredo Garbin Jr., and Stella Luz Quimbo.,Under the rules, the Joint Committee shall decide on all questions and issues raised involving the Certificates of Canvass (CoC) by a majority of votes of its members, each panel voting separately.,In case the two panels disagree, the decision of the chairperson shall prevail. In case of a deadlock, the matter shall be resolved by the Speaker and the Senate President.,Once the canvassing is completed, the joint committee report shall be approved and signed by a majority of the members of the Joint Committee.,The report shall be approved and signed by a majority of the members of the Joint Committee. Each panel will vote separately.,After which, the report shall be submitted to the joint public session for consideration and approval. A majority of senators and House members, voting separately, shall approve the report and adopt the resolution of both chambers proclaiming the duly elected President and Vice President.,Upon adoption of the resolution of both houses, the Speaker and the Senate President shall proclaim the President-elect and the Vice President-elect.,‘Earliest proclamation’,Drilon said that there is nothing that can stop Congress from canvassing the votes for president and vice president, as well as the proclamation of the winners, despite petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) to stop it.,“I don’t see any issue that will delay us. I don’t think the SC will issue TRO (temporary restraining order)… The petitioners can file a petition in the PET (Presidential Electoral Tribunal),” he said.,Unlike previous elections, the outgoing senator also said that the canvassing and proclamation will be done earlier than usual.,“In this particular canvassing today because of the electronically transmission we do not see any question being raised, we expect the proclamation to be on time,” he said.,“If we can finish our work we can proclaim the winners on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning,” he added.,Likewise, Sotto said that the proclamation, which is expected to be done on Wednesday, would be the “earliest proclamation”.,“We do not expect any serious objection unless the CoC will have incomplete records or does not match what was electronically transmitted, other than that we don’t see any serious objection,” he said.,“Barring unforeseen circumstances, there is a possibility that we will foresee the earliest possible proclamation or end to the canvassing will be late afternoon tomorrow,” he added.,No objection,During the canvassing of votes, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who represents Vice President Leni Robredo, made a manifestation that they will not object to the inclusion of all certificates of canvass for president, to “further expedite proceedings.”,“We interpose no objection to the inclusion [of] all the certificates of canvass for president from the various provincial and city boards of canvassers found by this honorable board to be authentic and duly executed,” Macalintal said.,He also noted that they will waive its appearance in the joint canvassing “to further expedite its proceedings.”,Macalintal said the manifestation is a reflection of Robredo’s previous public statements, wherein she asked her supporters to respect the decision of the majority.,He quoted Robredo’s speech which she made shortly after the partial and unofficial tally of votes for president showed that her rival, Marcos Jr., is leading the presidential derby.,“She said: We need to accept the majority’s decision,” he added.,Vic Rodriguez, the counsel of Marcos Jr. expressed his gratitude to Robredo’s camp for what Zubiri described as “magnanimous” gestures in the electoral contest.,“We join in the manifestation of my distinguished colleague and one of the leading election law practitioners, Atty. Romulo, ‘Romy Mac’ Macalintal,” Rodriguez, the incoming Marcos administration executive secretary, said in a separate manifestation.,“Likewise, we would like to recognize and thank the patriotism exhibited by the Vice President Leni Robredo for expressly recognizing the integrity and the result of the recently concluded general elections,” he added.,After his manifestation, the two election lawyers exchanged handshakes.,The move was seen as a turning point as the start of the “healing,” which will end the grueling and what political observers described as the “most emotional elections” in the history of Philippine politics.,“At least now we can let the healing begin and we can set aside politics,” Zubiri said.,Romualdez also lauded the move of Robredo’s camp. He is a cousin of Marcos Jr. Reports state that he is poised to be the next Speaker of the House in the upcoming 19th Congress.,“We join the co-chair in expressing the gratitude and appreciation on behalf of both Houses and the Filipino people for the graciousness of the Vice President and the sportsmanlike conduct of her counsel in the person of Atty. Rommy Macalintal as well as the magnanimity of our President-elect Bongbong Marcos,” he said.,“The healing has begun. Let us unite as a nation, for and by the Filipino people,” he added.,Later in the day, Rodriguez admitted that he was surprised by Macalintal’s manifestation.,“We were all surprised but it was a good surprise,” he said.,Atty. Rizalina Lumbera, legal counsel of Moreno, also manifested that their camp will not object to the inclusion of COCs in the canvassing.