MANILA – House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez on Tuesday vowed that Congress, convening as the National Board of Canvassers, will "uphold the integrity of the electoral process".
Romualdez gave the assurance as the House of Representatives and Senate began the official tallying of votes cast for the positions of president and vice president during the May 9 elections.
"As we carry out our duty as enshrined in the Constitution, rest assured that we will uphold the integrity of the electoral process. We shall ensure that the voices of our fellow Filipinos, both here and abroad, as expressed through their ballots are reflected and upheld," Romualdez said in his preliminary remarks.
Romualdez was officially named chairman of the House contingent of the NBOC
The House contingent is composed of Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla, Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino, Pampanga Rep. Juan Bondoc, Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, and AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin.
Meanwhile, the Senate contingent is composed of Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senator Nancy Binay, Senator Imee Marcos, Senator Grace Poe, and Senator Pia Cayetano.
Once it starts, the canvassing of votes cast by eligible Filipinos will continue on a 24-hour basis until the winners of the presidential and vice presidential race are proclaimed.
"As the Chairperson of the House panel, I give the assurance that the meetings before this Committee on the canvassing of votes will be characterized by accuracy, transparency, and expediency," Romualdez said.
During the joint public session of Congress led by Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday morning, the preliminary activities of the canvassing were carried out.
This mainly covered the opening of ballot boxes containing the certificates of canvass (COCs) from the overseas absentee voting (OAV), which was held a few days ahead of the May 9 polls.
"I join our fellow citizens in praying that the sovereign will of the Filipino people shall prevail, and that our cherished right to choose the next leaders of our country is a true reflection of the vibrant democracy enjoyed by us all," he said.
Under Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, the Senate and the House of Representatives, in joint public session, will canvass the votes for the presidential and vice-presidential elections, upon determination of the authenticity and due execution thereof in the manner provided by law.
Based on unofficial tally by the Commission on Elections, Marcos won via landslide after garnering more than 31 million votes while Robredo garnered 14.81 million votes in the presidential race. (PNA)