The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, May 19 proclaimed as Senators-elect the 12 candidates with the highest number of votes in the recent polls.
The National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) resumed its session after tabulating 166 certificates of canvass (COC) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). The NBOC has finished its canvassing of the election returns from cities, municipalities, provinces, overseas voting, local absentee voting, and detainee polls.
Winners Franklin Drilon, Joel Villanueva, Vicente Sotto, Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Migz Zubiri, Manny Pacquiao, Kiko Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Leila De Lima were proclaimed as Senators-elect of the May 9 national polls.
Chairman Andres Bautista gave a rundown of the Comelec’s achievements for the 2016 elections, such as the 96 percent transmission rate to the transparency server compared to 76 percent in 2013 and 90 percent in 2010.
“The 2016 elections was the most divisive and vicious and yet arguably it was the most organized and efficient we have had in our nation’s history,” said Bautista.
The Comelec Chairman also quoted outgoing US President Barack Obama to describe the democracy shown in the 2016 polls. “US President Barack Obama stated that the successful elections and voter participation is emblematic of the Philippines’s vibrant democracy,” he added.
The Comelec chairman likewise commended commissioners for their work in strengthening all aspects of the election’s credibility and transparency.
Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, head of the Comelec’s steering committee, was recognized for his work in strengthening the polls’ technical operations. “Lim ably managed the technical operations. Telecommunications and satellite providers [made sure] transmission of results would be adequate,” said Bautista.
Commissioner Arthur Lim was also recognized as responsible for the voter turnout for overseas polls. “This 31.45 percent turnout was higher than the 2010 and 2013, which only recorded 26.96 percent and 16.11 percent, respectively. This is the highest overseas turnout for any elections,” explained Bautista, who added that there were more registered overseas voters in 2016, with 1.37 million over the previous polls’ 737,000.
Commissioner Al Parreno was lauded for his work to ensure safe, peaceful polls, with his work as head of the gun ban committee. Likewise, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon was recognized for her work as head of the local absentee voting committee. Commissioner Sherriff Abas was also commended for spearheading a complicated packing and shipping committee, which made sure all election paraphernalia was delivered to all designated areas in the country.
Bautista also pointed out the speed of this election’s transmission of results. “[In] this elections, we saw the fastest vote transmission rate with 60 percent of votes transmitted by 8:00 pm \of election night. In that same hour in 2013 and 2010, the precision rate was only 23 percent and 17 percent respectively. In addition, results from each vote-counting machine were published on internet in real time, even if vote receipts were printed on election day,” he said.
Citing that the transparency server was able to transmit more than 96 percent of poll returns, compared to a respective 90 percent and 76 percent in 2013, Bautista said, “These are concrete affirmations that the commission generally outperformed this year notwithstanding challenges including a Supreme Court directive to implement printing of ballots two months before elections.”
Commissioners Arthur Lim, Christian Robert Lim, Rowena Guanzon, Sherriff Abas, and Al Parreno were also present at the senatorial proclamation. Aside from proclaiming winning senators, the NBOC is also set to proclaim 59 new party-list representatives at the Comelec headquarters.