By Gillian M. Cortez, Reporter

WITH ONLY over a million votes left to canvass as of this reporting, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) scheduled today the proclamation of winners in the senatorial and party-list elections.

Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said the proclamation will most likely follow after the certificates of canvass (CoCs) from the province of Isabela are tallied by the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC). Winners in the party-list race will be proclaimed in the morning and winners in the senatorial race, in the afternoon.

“With 1,050,681 votes from Isabela province expected tonight, I think it’s a pretty sure bet that we’re going to have a proclamation tomorrow,” Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez told reporters in a press conference on Monday.

The municipality of Jones, Isabela, held a special election on Monday, following reports that armed men had burned vote-counting machines (VCMs) there. Additional VCMs had been sent to Jones, Mr. Jimenez said.

Besides the more than 1 million votes in Jones, also to be canvassed as of this reporting are 633,357 overseas votes from Japan, Saudi Arabia, the Nigerian capital of Abuja and the United States capital of Washington, D.C.

The top 12 in the senatorial race, as of NBoC’s partial, official results on May 19, are as follows: 1. Cynthia A. Villar — 24,757,642; 2. Grace Poe-Llamanzares — 21,563,558; 3. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go — 20,223,738; 4. Pilar Juliana “Pia” S. Cayetano — 19,390,096; 5. Ronald “Bato” M. Dela Rosa — 18,639,583; 6. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara — 17,786,740; 7. Manuel “Lito” Lapid – 16,587,742; 8. Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos — 15,362,702; 9. Francis N. Tolentino — 15,196,397; 10. Aquilino Martin “Koko” D. Pimentel III — 14,395,597; 11. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. — 14,279,625; and 12. Maria Lourdes “Nancy” S. Binay — 14,065,071.

When asked if President Rodrigo R. Duterte will attend the afternoon proclamation, Mr. Jimenez said, “Because he did come to (Mr. Go’s) filing of CoC (certificate of candidacy), that is something we are preparing for as well….We are not just preparing (for) arrivals, security-wise but we are also preparing a space for him and his entourage for the floor tomorrow.”

Also on Monday, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) affirmed the “bottleneck” in the transfer of election results that the Commission on Elections is in the “best position” to explain, the election watchdog said.

PPCRV Chairperson Myla C. Villanueva said they looked into the “File Transfer Manager” which transmitted the data from the transparency server to the tally boards in media institutions and the PPCRV. “We did observe that there was there bottleneck. We did observe, in our local way of saying things, nabubulunan (things got muddled),” she told reporters.

“It started but it did not complete. That obviously is the cause of the problem,” she said. “(I) think we have to ask the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to continue to explain to our public why it happened because they own the server….They are in the best position to open up all the details at that given point.” The initial results were first sent to PPCRV and media at around 6:00 p.m. on May 13 but did not change until 1:00 a.m. — with Vann Marlo M. Villegas