‘Delaying Tactics’ in Canvassing

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Joker Arroyo yesterday slammed delaying tactics in the congressional canvass of votes for president and vice president.

Arroyo said Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, should “abbreviate” its debates and do away with “primitive” means of counting the votes for president and vice president so the winners could be proclaimed soon and there could be an end to speculations that were causing instability.

Arroyo’s suggestion ran counter to that of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who said he wanted a simulation of the transmission of results from the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to show that cheating was impossible. This would convince the people, Enrile said, that the elections were credible.

Arroyo said a new president and vice president must be proclaimed by June 30 so anything that could disrupt the canvassing must be avoided.

He said electoral protests should not be brought before the canvassers because the main task of Congress was to count the votes and proclaim the winners.

“Congress (should) move fast; it has the obligation to proclaim. For example, if (Sen. Benigno) Noynoy (Aquino III), even if he is leading, unless he is formally proclaimed, he is not the president. So the canvassing must be abbreviated because many details were already coming in when we are not the Presidential Electoral Tribunal,” Arroyo said over radio station dzBB.

“We are just the canvassers and it said there that the certificates of canvass sent to the Senate President would be the basis for canvass. I repeat, the COCs electronically transmitted by city and provincial board of canvassers would be the basis. After due execution and authenticity established, there is no other basis except that COCs no matter what. That is what the law is, we cannot change that,” he said.

Arroyo said these COCs had been used to proclaim the 12 winning senators and that he could see no reason how they could be different in terms of votes for the presidential and vice presidential candidates.

He said comparisons could be made if there were doubts on the results of the electronically transmitted COCs.

Arroyo said the speedy counting and release of the results already assuaged fears that President Arroyo had plans to extend her term or there would be failure of elections that could pave the way for a military to take over or allow her to hold on to power. (Read more on Philstar.com and Yahoo! Philippines News)

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