The camp of President Rodrigo Duterte wants Congress to stop its canvassing and
immediately proclaim him because his victory is unassailable.
Salvador Panelo, Duterte’s spokesman, on Thursday said there is no use for the official counting of votes in Congress for the presidential race because Duterte’s rivals have long conceded, except for Sen. Miriam Santiago.
Panelo also wants the losing candidates– former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay–to sign a waiver for their right to official canvassing of votes.
The Constitution provides that the proclamation of the President and Vice President should be done at the same time but the spokesman insisted that this provision could be disregarded if Duterte’s rivals will waive their right to canvassing.
“I see the Marcos camp making objections [to]every COC [Certificate of Canvass]. That could take long. Baka walang ma-proclaim [No one may be proclaimed]. The Constitution does not state that separate proclamations [are]allowed, but it doesn’t mean that it prohibits [them]. If it does not prohibit [them], then separate proclamation[s]could be done,” Panelo told reporters.
He was referring to the camp of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is in a tight race with Rep. Leni Robredo of the administration Liberal Party.
“We are not worrying. It’s just that if we continue with this, the new President could not be proclaimed in time. We’ll have a crisis,” Panelo said.
Under the law, the winning President and Vice President should be proclaimed by June 30.
“The canvassing should not take so long. What is the need for the [official]canvassing when you already know the winner? If they waive their [losing candidates]right [to]canvassing, then it should be good. We want the canvassing for President done so that Duterte can be proclaimed,” Panelo said.
He urged Santiago to show a “pure act of statesmanship” by conceding to Duterte.
“If Senator Miriam would consider conceding today, the work of the joint congressional canvassing panel would be considerably eased, paving the way for President-elect Duterte’s swift proclamation,” Panelo said.
Amado Valdez, dean of the University of the East College of Law and also a legal counsel for Duterte, advised the camp of Marcos to urge his running mate to concede if he wants a separate canvass for the vice presidential race
“Congress, sitting as National Board of Canvassers [NBOC], the Filipino people and the international community, can thereby focus on canvassing the votes for Senator Santiago’s running mate… and all volunteer-lawyers for the Duterte-Marcos ticket can now train all their guns to protect Marcos’ votes,” he said.
Inocencio Ferrer, Jr., another lawyer for Duterte, disclosed that Panelo has instructed his team to prepare the proper manifestation to be filed with the NBOC on Friday or Monday next week.
“We’re treading uncharted waters. All presidential elections since 1992 involved simultaneous canvassing and simultaneous proclamation of the President and Vice President,” Ferrer said.