MANILA, Philippines – In a few days, the Senate and the House of Representatives will convene to canvass the votes for president and vice president.
Will the canvassing finally resolve the cliffhanger that is the vice presidential race between Liberal Party bet Leni Robredo and independent candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr?
Congress will convene as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) on May 25, and the Marcos team vows that it won’t be as easy compared to previous occasions. (READ: Audit of vice presidential votes? Here are the hurdles)
“We vow to scrutinize each and every COC for vice president and highlight the impossibility of the partial unofficial result,” lawyer George Garcia, head of Marcos’ legal team said in a statement on Sunday, May 22.
‘Exercise of right’
“This is an exercise of a right and our solemn obligation to the millions who supported Senator Marcos and those whose votes were not counted and were disenfranchised,” Garcia said.
A seasoned election lawyer, Garcia will also defend Marcos in the official canvassing together with former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes as a volunteer adviser.
Marcos’ camp has insisted that they will win in the official canvassing of votes.
Lawyer Jose Amorado of the senator’s quick count operations has earlier said that Marcos will win by more than 100,000 votes based on their own tally of at least 100 local certificates of canvass.
They have also filed two formal complaints before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) last week.
The camp first sought the Comelec’s permission on Wednesday, May 18, to allow their own IT experts to audit the servers of the automated election system (AES).
Two days later, Marcos campaign adviser Jonathan dela Cruz filed a criminal case against Smartmatic executives for breaching the election protocol when a new script was introduced into the Transparency Server.
The senator’s legal team is expecting a response on their first request on Monday, May 23. They earlier urged to delay the official canvassing of votes until the issue on the breach in the server is resolved.
“We remain hopeful that Comelec will grant our demand to open the AES for audit because I am sure the Comelec would want to uncover the truth in the unauthorized change in script of the transparency server,” Amorado said on Sunday.
Marcos, who is currently ranked second to Robredo in the tight vice presidential race, alleged that there was cheating in the unofficial canvass of votes. His camp cited the change in a script in the Transparency Server may have cause the sudden rise of Robredo’s lead.
The vice presidential candidate, who was strongly confident about winning, was ahead Robredo by almost a million at the start of the transmission of votes on May 9, election day. But his lead against Robredo slowly eroded into a few hundred thousand by 11 pm. The ruling party's candidate has since owned the top spot since dawn of May 10.
Robredo has all but proclaimed her win during a thanksgiving mass at the Ateneo de Manila University's Church of Gesu last May 15. On that same Sunday, Marcos claimed victory after celebrating mass with supporters at the Baclaran Church. – Rappler.com