Comelec on Marcos bid vs tally: 'Right to know' at stake

COMELEC EN BANC. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is preparing to weigh the appeal of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr to stop the manual tally of votes. Photo courtesy of Comelec EID

COMELEC EN BANC. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is preparing to weigh the appeal of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr to stop the manual tally of votes.

Photo courtesy of Comelec EID

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, May 11, said it is weighing the proposal of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr to stop the unofficial tally that shows contender Leni Robredo leading the vice-presidential race.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body, however, has not received a formal letter from Marcos on this.

"Pag-uusapan po ng Comelec en banc kung ano ang dapat gawin, pero again, dito dapat nating timbangin ‘yung on the one hand karapatan ng isang kandidato, at on the other hand, karapatan din naman ng taumbayan na makita ang information," Bautista said. 

(The Comelec en banc will discuss what we will do, but again, here we have to weigh, on the one hand, the rights of one candidate, and on the other hand, also the right of the people to see the information.)

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, for her part, said the law allows the unofficial tally of votes, also called a "quick count." 

"You know that that's provided for by the law so that we have a transparent election. The people have the right to public information, and it's always best to have transparent elections so that there is no doubt about the credibility of the elections," Guanzon said in a news conference.

Based on the partial, unofficial tally from the Comelec transparency server that Marcos wants to stop, Robredo leads the vice-presidential race, with 13.95 million or 35.1% of votes as of 2:03 pm on Wednesday.

Marcos trails Robredo with 13.72 million or 34.6% of votes at the same time on Wednesday. Below are the latest results:

Checks and balances

Marcos’ request comes as the 95.47% of precincts have reported election results, breaching even the Comelec’s expectations for unofficial results.

This unofficial tally comes straight from vote-counting machines. 

The official results, on the other hand, go through a bureaucratic, step-by-step process where the numbers from each precinct go through the town or city hall, the provincial capitol, then to the national board of canvassers.

The official results for the presidential and vice-presidential races can only be canvassed by Congress as a board of canvassers starting May 23.

While the official results take a long time to be finalized, the unofficial tally is meant to countercheck the official results as parts of checks and balances.

One of the two servers receiving the unofficial results, in fact, is called the Transparency Server. 

Marcos: Unofficial results confusing 

For the camp of Marcos, however, results from the Transparency Server can even jeopardize the election process.

Marcos’ campaign adviser, Representative Jonathan dela Cruz, said that "the unofficial count may confuse the public because we have an official count."

Dela Cruz said there might be a problem "if the unofficial count doesn’t tally with the official count." 

Instead of first filing a formal letter with the Comelec, the camp of Marcos faced the media on Tuesday, May 10, to publicize this appeal to the poll body and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.

Of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates this year, only Marcos has so far insinuated cheating. 

In the presidential race, former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II and Senator Grace Poe have already conceded to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as they hailed the May 9 elections as credible. – Rappler.com