Philippine elections: Who will the people choose?

By Charmaine Janis Rodriguez

More than 65.7 million Filipinos are trooping to their polling precincts today to cast their votes for the 17th President and Vice President of the Philippines as well as for other national and local candidates in the 2022 National and Local Elections.

The race to replace President Rodrigo Duterte has been a very highly emotionally charged one for Filipinos when former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s son, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., decided to run with Duterte’s daughter as his running mate versus incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo who has Senator Kiko Pangilinan as her Vice President.

In the days leading to the last day of the campaign period, mass gatherings organized by the two group’s supporters have been trending on social media with the huge turnout amid warnings by the health department against a possible surge of Covid-19 cases. Similar gatherings were done by other president hopefuls like boxing champion and incumbent Senator Manny Pacquiao, former police chief Ping Lacson and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno but with fewer attendees.

Today is also the last day for registered overseas Filipino voters to cast their votes (Philippine time). There are 1.69 overseas Filipinos who registered to vote for this elections, lower than the 1.82 million in 2019, according to a report The decline was due to the return of thousands of Filipino workers to the Philippines during the pandemic, most of whom lost their jobs.

Comelec Resolution 10695 also provides for the convening today of the Municipal/City/ District, Provincial and Regional Boards of Canvassers, National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), for Senators and Party-List Election, and thereafter, for the consolidation and canvassing of votes.

They have between today to May 12 to count and canvass precinct results and proclaim winning city /municipal elective officials.

The canvass of the results and proclamation of winners for senatorial, congressional, party-list, regional and provincial elections will be from May 10, 2022 (Tuesday) to May 16, 2022 (Monday), the resolution also reads.

As for the President and Vice President, the 1987 Constitution provides that it will be done by the Senate and the Lower House.

Section 4, Article VII states: “The returns of every election for President and Vice President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be transmitted to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the President of the Senate shall, not later than 30 days after the day of the election, open all certificates in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives in joint public session, and the Congress, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law, canvass the votes.”

The Senate President and House Speaker will preside the canvassing.

Senate President Tito Sotto is a candidate for Vice President but Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said they will still wait on him to decide what to do, according to a report.

He added that they only have 12 days, including one weekend, to finish the tabulation and declare the winners for President and Vice President.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is set to convene on May 23 yet to prepare for the canvassing, said House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza.

Mendoza, however, said that the heads of the two chambers of Congress along with members of the media and Comelec would meet today for the initialization process.

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