No Show: Photo shows the red carpet that was rolled out for the proclamation of winning senatorial candidates at the Comelec’s National Board of Canvassers command center at the PICC in Pasay City yesterday. The proclamation was deferred again yesterday.
Geremy Pintolo
Magic 12 proclamation deferred
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) deferred anew yesterday the proclamation of the 12 winning senators and party-list groups amid the delay in the transmission of certificates of canvass (CoC) from Washington.

“We are sorry to disappointment everyone, looks like today is not the day,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told reporters.

He said the proclamation may be held in a day or two.

The poll body is looking at proclaiming the winning senators and party-list groups at the same time, Jimenez said.

“At this point, partial proclamation is not being considered. We are hoping that there will be one time proclamation,” he said. 

He explained the proclamation was delayed because the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), is waiting for the CoCs from Washington.

Jimenez said the ERs from the District of Columbia represent over 200,000 votes.

“We postponed the proclamation because we want to make sure there will be no movement in the ranking of newly elected senators,” Jimenez said.

The transmission of CoCs from Washington was delayed because the Special Board of Canvassers (SBoC) is still awaiting the ERs from Los Angeles, according to the Comelec spokesman.

According to Jimenez, the ERs from Los Angeles were expected to arrive in Washington at around 8 p.m. yesterday and will be immediately canvassed by the SBoC.

The last two uncanvassed CoCs from Washington and Saudi Arabia were expected to arrive yesterday morning.

The commission tentatively set the proclamation of 12 winning senators on Sunday, but it was postponed due to delay in the transmission of CoCs, particularly from overseas absentee voting supposedly due to defective SD cards.  

Jimenez said they have informed the 12 winning senators that the proclamation will be reset.

 “We sent them notices that the proclamation will not push through,” he said.

Jimenez clarified that the poll body did not send out invitations for the senators to be proclaimed.

Comelec Education and Information Division assistant director Frances Arabe said the NBoC hopes to proclaim the winning senators and party-list groups this morning.

She said the NBoC was set to reconvene last night to tabulate the last CoC from Washington.

“If the CoC from Washington arrives, we can make the proclamation at 10 a.m. today,” Arabe said.

She also briefed members of the media about the protocol during the proclamation at the PICC-Forum tent.

“There will be no media interviews as the senators enter the venue. We can hold a press conference after the program,” Arabe said.

Senators are allowed to bring a maximum of 10 companions each due to limited space at the venue.

Arabe said there will be a separate ceremony for the proclamation of the winning party-lists and their nominees.

PPCRV validation

Poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has yet to receive the ERs from parts of the National Capital Region.

For a period of six hours yesterday, the only numbers that moved in the PPCRV’s tally board was the time. 

The number of clustered precincts of 86,347 and the votes received by the candidates stood still from 10:42 a.m. until 4:24 p.m.

Data showed that ERs from the vote counting machines from Taguig, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas have not been transmitted to the PPCRV command center along United Nations Avenue in Manila.

But PPCRV executive director Maribel Buenaobra said this is not a cause for alarm.

“We are expecting the ERs to arrive soon,” Buenaobra said.

As of 3:45 p.m. yesterday, the PPCRV received 51,538 ERs or 60.09 percent of the 85,769 total number of ERs from different parts of the country.

The poll watchdog said PPCRV volunteers have encoded 27,000 ERs that have been matched with the figures from the transparency server, for a 99.98 percent match rate. 

The PPCRV noted discrepancies in figures in two ERs, Buenaobra said.

The PPCRV said they have not received ERs from the overseas absentee voting.

Ejercito still trailing

Reelectionist Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito remains at 13th spot with only one COC yet to be tabulated by the NBoC. 

Based on 166 CoCs canvassed as of yesterday morning, Ejercito obtained 14,290,558 votes or 199,957 lower than the 14,490,515 votes received by 12th placer Sen. Nancy Binay.

Sen. Cynthia Villar is stable in the top spot with 25,236,113 votes, followed by Sen. Grace Poe with 21,992,732. Bong Go placed third with 20,604,044 votes.

Pia Cayetano ranked fourth with 19,741,252 votes, followed by fifth placer Bato dela Rosa with 18,947,086 and sixth placer Sen. Sonny Angara with 18,124,619.

Lito Lapid was at seventh spot with 16,945,882 votes. Imee Marcos secured the eighth spot with 15,833,599 votes, followed by Francis Tolentino with 15,464,750 votes, Koko Pimentel with 14,629,785 and Bong Revilla with 14,613,432.

Based on CoCs from Saudi Arabia, Dela Rosa got the biggest number of votes at 25,069 or more than seven percent of the total votes cast, followed by doctor Willy Ong with 24,433 and Go with 24,233 votes.

Duterte allies

The Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) yesterday urged the winning senators to maintain their independence despite their close ties with the Duterte administration.

This is the first time that no candidates from the opposition made it to the Magic 12, according to Lente executive director Rona Caritos.

“Those who won are either partymates or friends of the President. If that’s the will of the people, so be it. But we hope they will uphold their independence,” Caritos said.

During the term of former president Benigno Aquino III, 10 of the 12 Senate slots were bagged by the candidates that he endorsed. – With Evelyn Macairan, Sheila Crisostomo, Cecille Suerte Felipe 

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