The outcome of the vice presidential race is still uncertain as the Commission on Elections admitted there are still discrepancies in the certificates of canvass from six provinces, accounting for about 4.2-million votes, and special elections to be held in 11 towns with 19,791 votes.
A lawyer for an opposition group who asked not to be named said the number of provinces with discrepancies has ballooned to 20 provinces, and that the hard copies of election returns did not match with the transmitted tally sent to the transparency server of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.
“There are discrepancies between the votes transmitted to PPCRV and the server of Comelec,” the lawyer said.
The source did not say which provinces were affected, however, saying these reports were still being verified.
Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim maintained that there are only six provinces where votes have discrepancies and were now being audited by a subcommittee created by the Comelec.
The six provinces that are still undergoing manual audit at the national board of canvassers are Benguet with estimated voters turnout of 281,833; Ilocos Sur with 329,561; Zamboanga del Sur with 780,760; Misamis Oriental with 690,528; Nueva Ecija, 1,055,726; and Iloilo with 1,078,011.
Lim also said that the 15 CoCs that have yet to be canvassed due to ongoing special elections are: Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Apayao, Negros Occidental, Marinduque, Zamboanga del Norte, Cebu, Sarangani, Agusan del Sur, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar and Antique.
Comelec Secretary Consuelo Diola supported Lim’s count.
“If they are claiming that there are 20 provinces, they may put them in writing,” she said, adding that political representatives have submitted manifestations to audit the votes of the six provinces.
Diola said that there are several discrepancies that has been resolved during the manual auditing of subcommittee on Sunday,
She said they expect that several political parties will be withdrawing their manifestations concerning the CoCs of six provinces.
Diola said the votes that were transmitted from the vote counting machines to the transparency server were those election returns while the results transmitted to the Comelec server are those that have already been canvassed and consolidated.
“So these are just a seeming discrepancies,” she said.
Aside from the 15 CoCs and the six provinces, Diola also admitted that provinces of Laguna and Southern Leyte were ordered “quarantined.”
She said Leyte’s CoCs was quarantined after the province failed to include votes from two towns while Laguna transmitted the result from the Pre-Election Logical Accuracy Test that had been conducted before the elections.
“The CoCs from Laguna and Southern Leyte remain under quarantine and we are still awaiting their respective chairmen of the provincial board of canvassers to arrive here,” Diola said.
The manual auditing began at around 10:40 a.m Sunday at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
The subcommittee started by reopening a ballot box from Benguet.
But the verification process was halted after they learned that the ballot box contained CoCs for the presidential and vice presidential race.
Ballot boxes from Misamis Oriental were also being opened.
The CoCs were presented to legal counsels of representatives of respective senatorial candidates and party-list groups for them to verify and scrutinize the results from the transparency server.
Representatives of some candidates have expressed their plan to file a manifestation for further study by the National Board of Canvasser, after discrepancies were detected in CoCs from Laguna and Ilocos Sur.
In the case of Baguio City and Benguet, meanwhile, the transparency server had combined the votes from the province and city, even though they were indicated separately in the CoCs.
The reaudit of the CoCs, however, showed that the number of votes reflected by the transparency server was the same as the total of the figures on the document.
As of Saturday, a total of 149 out of 164 CoCs have been tallied by the NBC.
Lim assured that this auditing process will only take two days.
On Friday, the Comelec announced that it is looking to proclaim the 12 wining senators on Tuesday or Thursday.
Also on Sunday, a Comelec official said vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was leading the overseas absentee voting count over administration bet Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
Based on the final and unofficial tally, Marcos garnered 176,669 votes from overseas and migrant Filipinos, almost twice the number of votes that Robredo got, at 89,935.
The overseas votes could play a crucial role in a tight vice presidential race, with a voter turnout of 432,706.
In a separate press briefing, Comelec commissioner Arthur Lim has announced that they were able to receive all certificates of canvass from 182 posts and the National Board of Canvassers are set to canvass those votes.
“Looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty, we are very pleased to know that the turnout is already very high and very satisfactory,” Lim, the chief of the OAV committee, said.
He said that the 31.4 percent voters turnout was the second highest figures since 2004.
“The NBOC will issue in due course, I think by Monday (today) at the latest… a formal canvassing report of the OAV votes,” Lim said.
Despite the uncertainty over the final count, the Robredo camp said it was poised to declare victory because it was “mathematically impossible” for Marcos to overcome her lead.
“In 18 regions, Leni won in 10 regions, while Senator Marcos only won in seven regions. The others were won by their other rivals,” said Boyet Dy, Robredo’s policy chief.
The latest unofficial tally gives Robredo a lead of 257,567 votes. – With John Paolo Bencito