Congress to proclaim winners with or without Duterte


duterte20160530THE Senate and House of Representatives will reconvene as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) today to proclaim the 16th President of the republic and the new Vice President even if President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will not show up.

Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. signed the formal invitation for Duterte and Vice President-elect Leni Robredo after the termination of the canvassing of votes on Friday but they are yet to receive word if the incoming President will attend.

Duterte earlier indicated that he will not attend his proclamation.

He said he has never attended any proclamation and that his lawyers this time can attend in his behalf.

During the official canvassing, Duterte was represented by his legal advisers — Vitaliano Aguirre, Salvador Ata, Silvestre Bello 3rd and Salvador Panelo.

“Nanalo naman ako pero sabi ko nga [I won but like I said]…God would want me to face defeat but it never happened,” he told reporters during an impromptu news conference at Hotel Elena in Davao City late Saturday night.

The Senate chief said Robredo will attend the proclamation to be held at the Senate Office building at 2 p.m.

According to Drilon, Duterte’s absence does not have any legal implications on his assumption to the presidency.

“It is my hope that he [Duterte] attend the proclamation, dahil iyon ang tradition, at ito po ay isang institution na nagpapatibay sa ating demokrasya, ang paproklama ng ating pangulo at pangalawang pangulo, [because this is the tradition and this is an institution that strengthens our democracy, the proclamation of our President and Vice President, that is why we extended the invitation,” he said in a radio interview.

Drilon, however, admitted that Duterte is not obliged to attend the event.

“The proclamation will be legal even if the candidate is absent, but I hope our invitation will be accepted,” Drilon said.

The Senate chief added that he sees no reason why the proclamation should not push through.

According to him, all parties were heard during the canvassing and they were given a chance to air their queries on Certificates of Canvass (COC ).

Even the undervoting issue raised by the camp of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had been noted.

Drilon said undervoting is natural because it only means that there were voters who voted for a particular presidential candidate but did not pick a Vice President.

Citing election figures, he noted that 42,290,407 voters picked a President but only 40,805,888 chose a Vice President.

“This means that there are at least 1.4 million voters who did not vote for any candidate for Vice President,” Drilon said.


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