3 provincial canvassers explain questionable COCs
MANILA, Philippines – A day after being summoned, the head provincial canvassers of Ilocos Sur, Davao del Norte, and Laguna faced the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to personally explain the discrepancies in their provincial certificates of canvass (COCs).
The NBOC on Wednesday, May 25, found the COCs from the 3 provinces questionable as the number of votes in the physical COCs and electronically-transmitted COCs differed. There were also two versions of either document that were submitted to Congress.
First to provide an explanation was lawyer Gloria Petallo, chairperson of the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) of Laguna.
Petallo was asked to explain why the NBOC received two different copies of manually-transmitted COCs and one electronically-transmitted COC.
Petallo explained that upon checking the first COC, they noticed that the municipality of Rizal only recorded a mere 84 votes – something unusual, as she said the municipality has over 11,000 registered voters.
Petallo said she immediately informed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc and was allowed to reconvene the PBOC.
"I noticed figures for the president down to provincial candidates, the positions only had 12, 9, 6, 3 (votes), which is very small considering the municipality has 11,615 registered voters and that there were 10,148 who actually voted. I immediately reported the matter to Comelec and I requested if the PBOC can be allowed to reconvene, for the purpose of correcting such discrepancies," Petallo said on Thursday, May 26.
Petallo said the municipality of Rizal transmitted the 84 votes from the pre-election logical accuracy test (prelat), instead of the actual votes cast in the area.
"We deducted the 84 votes from the provincial COCs and then from the difference, we added the true number of votes from the municipality of Rizal," she said.
Petallo said the NBOC has two copies of manually-transmitted COCs because they delivered the corrected one to the Senate, as their machines already bogged down.
The NBOC accepted the explanation and canvassed the COCs from Laguna.
In the case of Ilocos Sur, the NBOC found two electronically-transmitted COCs that were different from each other.
But lawyer Rhodora Arrocena, chair of the Ilocos Sur PBOC, explained they were asked by the Comelec en banc to review the results of their initial canvassing on May 10, a day after the elections.
After assessing the results, Arrocena said they found out that the actual votes cast in the municipality of San Ildefonso were not included in the first COC. What were included, she said, were the test votes from the prelat.
Like Petallo, Arrocena was also allowed to reconvene the PBOC on Tuesday, May 17.
"We compared the results in our Consolidated Canvassing System (CCS) with that of the hard copy of the municipal COC coming from the municipality of San Ildefonso. We decided that the official result of San Ildefonso corresponds with the hard copy from the Municipal Board of Canvassers," Arrocena said.
She said she delivered the hard copy of the corrected COC to the Senate on Wednesday, May 18.
The NBOC, upon checking all the COCs and documents, decided to include the COCs from Ilocos Sur for canvassing.
Davao del Norte
As for Davao del Norte, the NBOC asked the PBOC why there were two electronically-transmitted COCs.
The first, with 419,854 votes cast, was dated May 10 while the second was transmitted two days after, on May 12, with 445,218 votes.
Lawyer Jennifer Ancla, PBOC chair, explained that upon checking the statement of votes, they noticed that those from the municipality of Asuncion were not included.
"When we noticed in the first, we immediately informed the Comelec en banc to grant us authority to correct discrepancy."
She added: "When en banc granted us authority to reconvene, we immediately reconvened. We checked the CCS operator in the CCS machine and indeed the votes on May 10, 2016 did not include the municipality of Asuncion."
Ancla said they immediately transmitted the correct COC electronically upon confirmation of the discrepancy.
After scrutiny of the COCs from the 3 provinces, the lawyers of the candidates, even those of Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr and Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, had no more questions.
But George Garcia, Marcos' counsel, again manifested on the supposed under voting in the provinces. Garcia said there were 17,727 "under votes" in Ilocos Sur, while there were 26,127 "unaccounted votes" in Davao del Norte. – Rappler.com
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