Enrile: Canvassing may have to wait
By Thea Alberto, Yahoo! Southeast Asia
(UPDATE 5) Although both chambers have approved the rules of canvassing, actual canvassing may have to wait for a few more days, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said after the joint session was suspended Tuesday.
“Hopefully we could begin but we ask the public to be patient. We will spend about two days or three days to clarify all these issues. We can’t open canvassing with a cloud of doubt,” Enrile told reporters.
Enrile said the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic officials have to appear before the joint committee of canvassing to clarify and answer several issues including allegations of poll fraud.
“Comelec must explain why, in its order or directive under Resolution No. 8786 dated March 4, 2010, it disregarded the requirement of the law for digital signatures to be affixed before transmitting the results of the voting,” Enrile said in his opening speech.
Enrile added that if the Comelec and Smartmatic refuse to heed their invitation to appear, a subpoena will be issued.
Meanwhile, the Senate president said a partial proclamation is possible.
“As much as possible, we will proclaim both. If there is reason to proclaim [one candidate] ahead, it’s not much a problem,” said Enrile when asked whether a president might be proclaimed ahead of the vice president.
“There is no legal question as long as we proclaim both by June 30,” he added.
The Senate and the House of Representatives finally adopted the rules for canvassing Tuesday, which signals the start of a journey towards proclaiming the winner for president and vice president of the country.
Enrile and House of Representatives Speaker Prospero Nograles presided over the public joint session.
“Let us rise above our political and partisan interest and…summon our collective will as institution and as statesmen of this nation, working on the people’s trust,” said Enrile, as he opened the session.
He also noted the “number of registered of voters,” which showed “256,733,195″ as the number of voters.
“What was brought to my attention was that in the field marked ‘No. of Registered Voters,’ the figure ’256,733,195′ was reflected. I inquired from Smartmatic if this was just a code or an outright error which must be corrected right away,” he said.
He said that Smartmatic has asked to be given time to verify the data.
Enrile said the Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that the poll body would make the necessary corrections.
During the deliberation on the rules, Representative of the 1st District of Maguindanao Didagen Dilangalen requested the presence of Smartmatic, the Comelec and information technology experts before the House approves the rules.
Nograles eventually ordered the presence of the Comelec, Smartmatic and IT experts in the joint session, which was set to resume 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The joint Congress might proclaim the winners for president and vice-president by June 15, according to Enrile.
The Philippine Constitution requires that a new president must be proclaimed on June 30.
Presidential candidate Maria Consuelo Madrigal was among the presidential candidates seen attending the session.
Photo by NPPA
Reposted From Thea Alberto at Yahoo News