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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Senate prepared to receive COCs, poll returns—Sotto

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Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate is ready to receive the certificates of canvass (COCs) and election returns (ERs) for president and vice president after the closing of the election precincts on May 9.

Under Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution, the Senate is mandated  to receive the returns of every election for President and Vice-President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city.

The returns will then be transmitted to Congress. The Senate President will receive the certificates of canvass and shall open all the certificates not later than 30 days after the day of the election in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives in a joint public session. 

Congress shall proceed to canvass the votes.

Senate Secretary Myra Marie Villarica said the Senate’s reception of the COCs and ERs shall be live-streamed via the Senate’s YouTube channel, starting from 6 pm on May 9, 2022.

“This is the first time we will broadcast live the arrival and deposit of all election documents for 24/7 in the Senate YouTube channel,” Villarica said.

“We are taking this opportunity to advance our digital initiatives and ensure transparency of the entire activity. We have also tightened security, particularly where the ballot boxes of the COCs and the ERs will be stored,” she also said.

Aside from CCTV cameras located in strategic areas, she said the Senate will also have roving cameras manned by personnel from the Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB).

Villarica said only vehicles transporting the ballot boxes containing the COCs and ERs and other vehicles that may be authorized shall be allowed to enter the indoor parking area. Vehicles bearing the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms (OSAA) car stickers will be allowed to park at the open parking area on a “first-come, first-served” basis. 

A “No ID, No Entry” policy will be strictly implemented.

According to Villarica, a daily status report of all arriving COCs will be displayed in a LED screen display at the 2nd floor of the Senate building for public viewing. 

Media personalities may request the status report from PRIB as early as 9 a.m. She said health and safety protocols would be enforced during the reception of the COCs and ERs. 

A disinfection and sanitation area will be set up outside the Senate building, she added.

“As per our health and safety standards, we will ask Commission on Elections personnel to wait for their turn in bringing in the ballot boxes. “

Unlike in the previous elections when they can enter the Senate building at the same time, she said they will have a holding area where they can wait for their turn before entering the lobby.

She said enclosures were installed at the Recto Room on the second floor of the Senate building for ballot boxes containing the COCs and in the basement for the ballot boxes containing the election returns.

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