THE race between Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Camarines Sur. Rep. Leni Robredo is too close to call even if 96.85 percent of the election results have been transmitted, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) admitted on Wednesday.
“It’s a tight race,” Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said, adding that there were still some one million votes from Mindanao and overseas that are yet to be transmitted.
As of 11:32 a.m., Wednesday, Robredo was leading Marcos by 231,693 votes.
Guanzon said there were still 250,000 overseas vote that have not yet been canvassed and another 500,000 votes from Maguindanao province in southern Philippines.
The certificates of canvass (COC) from 82 overseas posts were canvassed also on Wednesday by the Comelec sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for senators and party-list groups.
As of press time oon the same day, the NBOC has canvassed 29 COC from abroad.
Guanzon explained that the votes from Maguindanao were not transmitted because the assistant of the provincial election officer was beaten by unidentified persons who also flattened the tires of their car.
“I have asked the [Comelec] Information Technology Department to personally deliver a canvassing kit with laptop. As we speak, they are already transmitting from Buluan, Maguindanao, the 500,000 votes,” she said.
The commission, Guanzon added, is also inclined to call for a special election in the town of Binidayan, Lanao del Sur, which has some 20,000 voters.
She also explained that no elections were held in Binidayan because the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) did not report for work.
Aside from Maguindanao, the province of Sulu has so far transmitted only 65 percent of the votes; Basilan, 84 percent; Tawi-Tawi, 95 percent; and Lanao del Sur, 50 percent.
Guanzon pointed out that the uncanvassed votes were significant enough to make a difference in the tight contest for the vice presidential race.
“And so I can understand why Sen. Marcos is really on his toes,” she said.
Marcos was leading Robredo by almost a million votes at the start of the parallel counting being made by election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Pastoral Voting (PPCRV).
Robredo took the lead in the wee hours of the following day.
The Marcos camp has called on the Comelec to stop the PPCRV quick count because it was supposedly setting a trend in favor of Robredo.
But Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said that he is yet to receive a formal request from Marcos.
Guanzon said the PPCRV, the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and other election watchdogs are authorized by Republic Act 8436 or the Automated Election Law to conduct a quick count and release results of elections for public consumption.
“You have to be transparent to the people about the status of the electoral process to avoid doubt on the results of the elections,” she added.