The Commission on Elections, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for the May 13 midterm elections, plans to proclaim on Sunday all 12 winning senatorial candidates and the winners in the race for party-list representatives.
The poll body has already sent out invitations to a proclamation ceremony at 4 p.m. tomorrow to certain winners such as Senators Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe, who were leading the tally as of Friday night, several news and radio outlets reported.
COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez told a news briefing Friday that the Sunday event was still “sobrang [super] tentative, but as a heads-up, it’s a reasonable date, but not confirmed yet.”
The move to go through with the simultaneous proclamation is seen as “more efficient [and] better for everyone,” he added.
“One of the directions we’re going is one proclamation for both Senate and party-list winners. But we cannot rush because we still need to compute [votes] in the party-list race,” Jimenez said.
In the 2016 elections, COMELEC proclaimed the country’s new senators on the afternoon of May 19, while the winners of the party-list race were proclaimed in the evening.
“With the party-lists, we still have to complete the computation. So the process is longer. Maybe three days apart. But I can tell you that we are already preparing for [their proclamation],” Jimenez said.
As of Friday evening, the National Board of Canvassers had canvassed 146 out of the 167 Certificates of Canvass.
COMELEC invited some of the winning senatorial candidates to formal proclamation ceremonies tomorrow afternoon as the remaining votes that have yet to be transmitted can no longer affect the ranking for the first 10 positions.
Meanwhile, former Senator Jinggoy Estrada conceded defeat Friday in the senatorial race.
Estrada, son of former President Joseph Estrada, still faces plunder charges for his alleged involvement in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.
Based on a partial, official COMELEC tally of votes as of 9:29 p.m. on Thursday, Villar remained on top with 19,383,224 votes, followed by Poe with 17,043,889.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s close aide former special assistant Christopher Go was in third place with 15,685,847 votes, followed by Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano with 15,330,363 votes, and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa with 14,529,585 votes.
The COMELEC has so far canvassed 129 out of 167 certificates of canvass as of May 17, accounting for around 74.97 percent of registered voters.
Others who entered the winners’ circle were Juan Edgardo Angara, 14,023,811; Lito Lapid, 12,628,054; Imee Marcos, 12,618,428; Francis Tolentino, 11,975,435; Aquilino Pimentel III, 11,283,357; and Nancy Binay, 11,041,386.
The lone opposition candidate to make it to the top 12 was Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, with 11,001,047 votes.
Jimenez said the poll body still wanted to proclaim all 12 winners at the same time―even though the remaining uncounted votes could affect the contest for 11th and 12th place.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the victory of three neophytes―Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino―was a measure of the trust people had in President Duterte’s endorsement.
But a fourth newcomer that Duterte endorsed, outgoing Maguindano Rep. Zajid Mangundadatu, failed to make it.
With the margins among those occupying the 10th, 11th and 12th spots, Sotto said, there still was hope for reelectionist Senator JV Ejercito.
In a statement, Estrada thanked those who supported and voted for him.
Estrada also said he would pray for former Senator Ramon Revilla who was at the 13th spot.
Estrada and Revilla were both detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame over their alleged involvement in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam. Revilla, however, was acquitted.
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