By Vince Alvic A. F. Nonato, Reporter

Senators, party-lists to be proclaimed on Thursday: Commission on Elections

Posted on May 18, 2016

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec), sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), plans to proclaim the winning senators and party-list groups on Thursday, May 19.

Commissioner Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon confirmed this in an interview with reporters, adding that the body plans to proclaim all winners simultaneously.

The proclamation will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, where the NBOC has been processing at least 164 certificates of canvass (CoC) representing votes from provinces, highly urbanized centers and overseas posts.

The Comelec had earlier decided to proclaim all winners at the same time, instead of proclaim leading candidates piecemeal over several days as what was done for the 2013 midterm elections.

Thus far, the provinces of Northern Samar and Lanao del Sur have yet to transmit their CoCs. Special elections were held in the said provinces over the weekend because of security concerns.

Based on a partial and official count as of press time (reflecting votes covered by 122 of 164 CoCs), reelectionist Senate President Franklin M. Drilon continued to lead the tally with 18,339,754 votes.

He was followed by neophyte Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, the former director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority with 18,234,410 votes.

The other leading contenders poised to win the 12 Senate seats were: Senator Vicente C. Sotto III, former senators Panfilo M. Lacson, Richard J. Gordon and Juan Miguel F. Zubiri; world-renowned boxer Emmanuel D. Pacquiao; former Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel; former senator Francisco N. Pangilinan; Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin T. Gatchalian; Senator Ralph G. Recto; and former Justice secretary Leila M. de Lima.

Ms. de Lima so far has 13,917,290 votes, holding a lead of more than a million over 13th placer, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis N. Tolentino, who garnered 12,620,785 votes.

The representatives of Messrs. Villanueva, Sotto, Pangilinan and Recto, and Ms. de Lima on Monday asked the Comelec to proclaim the winners. But Mr. Tolentino’s representative blocked the move and said the NBOC should proclaim winners based on 100% transmission of votes.

Meanwhile, 11 party-list groups have so far breached the 2% threshold set by the Party-List System Act, guaranteeing at least one seat at the House of Representatives.

In order of number of votes, these were: Ako Bicol Political Party; Gabriela Women’s Party; One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals (1PACMAN); Act Teachers Party-List; Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines; Kabalikat ng Mamamayan (Kabayan); Agri-Agra na Reporma para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas Movement (AGRI); Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA); Buhay Hayaan Yumabong; Abono Party-List; and Cooperative Natcco Network Party (COOP-NATCCO).

Front-runners Ako Bicol and Gabriela may win the maximum allocation of three seats, based on the votes they garnered. The nine other two-percenters may also gain a second seat.

A total of 59 seats at the House of Representatives have been reserved for party-list groups. Under the so-called Panganiban formula set by the Supreme Court, the remaining 30-odd unfilled seats will then be distributed among the groups that are next in rank.

Prominent incumbent party-list groups such as Bayan Muna, Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party, Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP), Anak Mindanao Party-List (AMIN), Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), and An Waray, fall shy of the 2% quota but are still poised to win one seat each.

A heated exchange, however, erupted at the NBOC hall as the representatives of six party-list groups projected to win only one seat, led by An Waray, moved for an increase in seat allocation.

Magdalo Para sa Pilipino counsel Reynaldo B. Robles, whose party-list group ranks at the lower end at the magic circle, contested such a move that would possible bump it out of a congressional seat.

Mr. Robles said that the Comelec should not be asked to change the seat allocation formula when canvassing is already going on, adding that Magdalo has not even received a copy of the petition.

“It’s as if we’re playing basketball and we shot a three-pointer during the last three second, only for them to say that the referee has changed the rules,” he said.

He pointed out that the Supreme Court had already laid down the Panganiban formula in its 2009 decision on Banat v. Comelec.

Meanwhile, five congressmen-elect formally submitted to the House of Representatives on Monday their credentials attesting to their election victory in the May 9 general elections.

Representatives-elect Arnulfo P. Fuentebella (4th District, Camarines Sur), Federico S. Sandoval II (Lone District, Malabon City), Alberto T. Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), Manuel Jose M. Dalipe (2nd District, Zamboanga City), and Johnny T. Pimentel (2nd District, Surigao del Sur) presented to the Office of the House Secretary-General the original copies of their Certificates of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation.

Mr. Fuentebella of the Nationalist People’s Coalition won the position of 4th District Representative of Camarines Sur, garnering 83,969 votes, against singer-turned-politician Imelda A. Papin’s 83,229 votes by a tight margin of 0.5% (740 votes).

Mr. Fuentebella was House speaker from 2000-2001.

His party colleague, Mr. Sandoval secured the position of Malabon City representative, garnering 69,887 votes and defeating the Liberal Party’s Teresa Aquino-Oreta, who garnered 68,108 votes in a tight race.

Mr. Ungab, who took over the post of his brother, Rep. Isidro T. Ungab, garnered 114,910 votes, beating Davao City Councilor Karlo B. Bello (HUGPONG) who got 53,334 votes.

Mr. Dalipe of the Nationalist People’s Coalition defeated reelectionist Rep. Lilia Macrohon-Nuño of the Nacionalista Party, the former garnering 69,100 votes as against the latter’s 48,947 votes.

Mr. Dalipe is a former Zamboanga City councilor and vice-mayor.

The Liberal Party’s Mr. Pimentel won the congressional post against United Nationalist Alliance’s Conrad Cejoco, garnering 37,080 votes as against Mr. Cejoco’s 30,088 votes.

Mr. Pimentel was governor of Surigao del Sur in 2010-2013 and 2013-2016.

Last Friday, three congressmen-elect -- John Marvin C. Nieto (3rd District, Manila), Edward V. P. Maceda (4th District, Manila) and Rosanna G. Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija) -- have presented their Certificates of Proclamation to House Secretary-General Marilyn Barua-Yap. -- with James Glenn M. Gomez