THE Senate and the House of Representatives will jointly convene on May 24 as part of the National Board of Canvassers to count the votes for president and vice president in the May 9 elections.
Senate Secretary Oscar G. Yabes said that both houses of Congress will form the NBC, which is mandated to canvass the votes for the presidential and vice-presidential race, on May 24, a day after Congress resumes its sessions.
“On May 23, the Senate will first finish its work and pass on third reading a number of bills which are on the last stages of enactment. The next day we will proceed to join the House in convening the NBC,” Yabes said.
According to Yabes, the Senate and the House of Representatives, led by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., will adopt the concurrent resolution to call the joint public session on May 24, to be held at the House of Representatives building in Quezon City.
“During the joint session, the two chambers will adopt the rules for canvassing and create the Senate and House panels that will form the Joint Canvassing Committee, which will conduct the actual canvassing of votes,” he said.
Yabes then said that the two panels will then start canvassing of votes on May 25, which will also take place at the House of Representatives building.
He noted that the consolidated canvassing system which has received the electronically-transmitted Certificates of Canvass from provincial and city boards of canvassers, as well as special canvassing panels for overseas absentee voting, has been initialized and stored in the venue since May 9, the day of the elections.
“Likewise, we will physically transport to the House on May 24, Tuesday, all of the ballot boxes purportedly containing COCs and election returns which, as mandated by the Constitution, have been earlier transmitted to the Senate,” he said.
Yabes explained that Congress is performing its constitutional mandate: “Under Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, the Senate and the House of Representatives, in joint public session, will canvass the votes for the presidential and vice-presidential elections, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law.”
“Unlike the senatorial and local elections where the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of the winning candidates are conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), it is Congress which canvasses the votes and proclaims the next president and vice-president,” he added.
The 16th Congress, which began on July 22, 2016, will adjourn sine die its third and last regular session on June 10, 2016.