Congress forms Joint Canvassing Committee; Actual canvassing of votes for President, VP starts Wednesday

MANILA — The Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday convened as the National Board of Canvassers during a joint session and formed the Joint Canvassing Committee after adopting the rules for canvassing.

Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. presided over the session at the Batasang Pambansa Complex and proceeded to named members to the Joint Canvassing Committee.

The Senate panel is composed of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III as chair and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III, Ralph Recto, Juan Ponce Enrile and Vicente Sotto.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Joseph Victor Ejercito were appointed as alternates.

On the side of the House of Representatives, Majority Floorleader Neptali Gonzales II was appointed as chair of the panel with Reps. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (Cavite), Romero Federico Quimbo (Marikina), Reynaldo Umali (Or. Mindoro), Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City), Fredenil Castro (Capiz) and Silvestro Bello III (1-BAP) as members.

Appointed as alternates were Reps. Oscar Rodriguez (Pampanga), Ibarra Gutierrez (Akbayan), Rolando Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur) and Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora.

The Joint Canvassing Committee will conduct the actual canvassing of votes.

The consolidated canvassing system to which certificates of canvass from provinces and cities have been transmitted, and the special canvassing panels for overseas absentee voting, have been initialized and stored at the House since May 9.

Ballot boxes containing COCs and election returns that were received at the Senate have been transported to the House early Tuesday.

Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution mandates the Senate and the House of Representatives, in joint public session, to “canvass the votes for the presidential and vice-presidential elections, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law.”

The actual canvassing has been initiated, starting with the opening of COCs that were manually counted and not electronically transmitted.

However, it was decided that actual canvassing will be postponed till Wednesday, May 25, also at the Batasan. Cielito Reganit/PNA/