Velasco vows expeditious, credible count of votes for president, VP

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco assured the public on Sunday that the canvassing of votes and proclamation of winners in the recently concluded presidential and vice presidential elections will be “expeditious, transparent and credible.”

In a statement, Velasco made the assurance ahead of next week’s joint public session of the House of Representatives and the Senate to convene as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to count the votes cast and proclaim the country’s next President and Vice President.

“The Congress, sitting as the NBOC, is duty-bound to make sure that the entire process of vote counting and transmission of results will be done expeditiously and with utmost transparency and integrity,” Velasco said.

As agreed upon by the leaders of both houses of Congress, the legislature –through Velasco and Senate President Vicente Sotto III — is scheduled to proclaim the duly-elected President and Vice President on May 27.

“We will perform our constitutional duty quickly and efficiently. We will be combining accuracy and speed in order for us to meet our committed timeline,” Velasco said.

The House chief also said that the vote canvassing will proceed despite a pending disqualification case against presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. before the Supreme Court.

“Our duty to canvass is mandated by the Constitution itself,” Velasco pointed out. “Nothing therein says that this duty is suspended while a case, which has already been dismissed by the Commission on Elections, is pending with the Supreme Court.”

“We are bound to proclaim the winning President and Vice President, and uphold the will of the people with dispatch,” Velasco added.

On May 23, the House and the Senate will resume their separate sessions to adopt a joint resolution convening Congress to a joint session and act as NBOC for the two highest elective posts of the land.

Each chamber is expected to formally create a contingent to the Joint Committee that will do the actual count of votes cast for President and Vice President during the May 9 polls, starting May 24.

Each contingent will have seven regular members and four alternate members. The Speaker and the Senate President shall designate the chairperson of each panel.

It is expected that the Senate will initiate the delivery to the House of the ballot boxes containing the certificates of canvass (CoCs) to be counted by the Joint Committee.

Procedure

The Speaker and the Senate President shall serve as presiding officers during the joint session.

The Senate President shall open, in the order they were received, all electronically transmitted CoCs in the Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS) and all manually counted and physically delivered CoCs not electronically transmitted in the CCS.

The Joint Committee shall decide all questions and issues raised involving the CoCs by a majority of vote 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. –LBG, GMA News

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