The National Board of Canvassers started canvassing Tuesday night. Christopher Toledo
CBCP: No call to suspend proclamation of new senators
Kristine Joy Patag ( - May 16, 2019 - 4:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Thursday clarified that it is not calling to suspend the proclamation of senators elected in Monday's polls.

CBCP president Romulo Valles, archbishop of Davao, stressed: “The CBCP has not made a call or appeal or suggestion to suspend the proclamation of the wining senatorial candidates in our recent elections.”

He said that “if that kind of news is circulating—that the CBCP has made such a call—that is again pure fake news!”

Caritas Philippines, the humanitarian arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, called on Wednesday for “an independent and impartial investigation” into glitches of the 2019 midterm polls.

Monday’s elections saw a myriad of issues such as malfunctioning vote counting machines and an hours-long delay in updates from the Comelec's transparency server. The Philippine National Police also reported that at least 300 were arrested for suspected vote buying.

Data from the PNP showed the amount confiscated reached P12,208,958 from 225 incidents of vote buying nationwide.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas executive secretary, said: “We are calling to suspend the proclamation of winning senatorial candidates until the allegation of fraud is resolved.”

Valles however stressed that Gariguez was not speaking for the CBCP.

Formal petition needed

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez however said that a “formal petition must be filed” to delay the proclamation of winners.

The petition also has to be addressed to the Comelec en banc, which has the power to decide on it, Jimenez added in a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections will conduct a hearing on June 4 into the technical hiccups that marred the midterm polls.

READ: Midterm polls ‘credible’ but probe into glitches needed, says Sotto

The Comelec en banc, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers,  has resumed the canvassing of votes nationwide as of this story's posting.

It said that as of 4 p.m. Thursday, it has canvassed 109 out of 167 certificates of canvass.

The latest partial, official count from the Comelec showed administration-backed Senate bets dominating the top slots in a 12-seat race. — with reports from Ian Nicolas Cigaral and News 5

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