Comelec wraps up COC canvassing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The certificate of canvass (COC) from the province of Northern Samar was transmitted to the National Board of Canvassers on Wednesday afternoon (May 18). With that, all 164 certificates of canvass were in for the official count of the senatorial and party-list races.

It was a rather long wait for this and the results from Lanao del Sur, which came in noon of Wednesday. Northern Samar and Lanao del Sur were where the Commission on Elections (Comelec) carried out special elections after violence or threats of violence prevented some precincts from opening on May 9.

The transmission of all the COCs means the board should be able to push through with its plan of proclaiming the 12 winning senators and 59 party-list groups the following day. A staff member of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the proclamation ceremony was set for 3 p.m.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon informed reporters that Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte met with the Board earlier in the morning as part of the protocol before the proclamation.

Drilon is himself a candidate and as of last count, he ranks first in the senatorial race.

Electoral sabotage?

Among the personalities who attended the day's canvassing session was Sixto Brillantes, former Comelec chairman and now legal consultant to Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Brillantes was asked what he thought about Marcos' request for a system audit, as well as the electoral sabotage case filed by an advocacy group against the Comelec, Smartmatic, and PPCRV.

Brillantes, in his usual brutally frank manner, said he found both pointless.

"Dadayain ba ng tao yan? Unofficial ang bilangan? Saan ka naman nakakita ng nandadaya ng unofficial canvass? Hindi ka naman mananalo sa unofficial canvass eh. How can there be electoral sabotage when it is unofficial? Para magkaroon ng electoral sabotage, dadayain mo yung official count! Ano ba naman?! Dami namang bobo dito sa Pilipinas!" he said.

[Translation: Where can you find cheating in an unofficial canvassing? You cannot win in an unofficial canvass. For there to be an electoral sabotage, you have to cheat on the official count. There are so many stupid people in the Philippines!]

Brillantes added that what mattered was the official count, which would begin next week at the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon shrugged off the electoral sabotage case.

She disassociated the Comelec from Smartmatic, saying the legal liability for the transparency server script alteration was Smartmatic's burden.