MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has deferred the expected proclamation of winning senators and party-list groups in the 2019 midterm elections on Tuesday.
Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said in a press briefing that they are still waiting for the certificates of canvass (COC) from Washington, D.C. in the United States.
Jimenez explained the transmission of returns from Los Angeles caused the delay in Washington.
The COC from Washington, D.C. is expected to arrive on Tuesday evening.
He said these votes represent more than 200,000 registered voters, which may still change the rankings in the senatorial race particularly for candidates in the bottom of the top 12.
“In order to make sure na wala nang movement sa rankings ng elected officials natin, we need to get that squared away,” he said in a media briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
He added that even a partial proclamation is still not being considered at this point.
“So not today. We will announce when,” he said.
Jimenez said on Monday that the proclamation of winning senators and party-list organizations may likely be held on May 21.
READ: Comelec hopes to proclaim winning Senators, party-list groups on Tuesday
The Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), has so far canvassed 166 out of 167 COCs for the May 13 polls.
As of Tuesday, reelectionist senators Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe still topped the Comelec’s partial and official tally, followed by Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Ronald dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Koko Pimentel, Bong Revilla, and Nancy Binay.
Placing outside the winning circle are reelectionist senators JV Ejercito, Bam Aquino, and former senator Jinggoy Estrada.
Although a date has yet to be determined, the poll body is still eyeing to proclaim winning senators and party-list groups on the same day.
“Ang worst case scenario natin, baka ma-split ang dalawa. But again, right now we are confident na mapagsasabay natin,” Jimenez said.
Once the canvassing of votes is completed, Comelec said it will send out invitations to election winners and their families, and other government officials. Senate race winners will only be allowed to bring ten visitors each due to limited space in the venue.
“There will be no interviews by the media yet, that will be done after the ceremony. We can use the press conference area or even along the sides of the venue but after the program,” said Atty. Frances Arabe, Comelec Director for Education and Information Department.
The poll body has yet to confirm whether President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the proclamation ceremony.
A dry run for the upcoming event is also being held. (with details from Aiko Miguel)