By Leslie Ann Aquino
After undergoing audit, the Commission on Elections found no discrepancy in the certificate of canvass of Cotabato City in the recently concluded Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite.
The Comelec, sitting as the National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers (NPBOC) on Thursday ordered an audit due to alleged discrepancy in the number of votes cast for yes and no and the number of registered voters vis-à-vis the number of registered voters who voted.
Lawyer Consuelo Diola of the Comelec NPBOC Secretariat relayed to the En Banc the report of the Audit Group when it reconvened in Manila, Friday.
“Your honor, we received from the audit group today, January 25, a report concerning the entries of the COC. Their report states that in the COC, the ‘yes’ votes, 36,682, and the number of ‘no’ votes appearing in the COC is 24,994. Per their audit, there are 2 pages of the summary of votes. Page 1, the ‘yes’ votes is 31,031. Page 2 is 5,651, which totals 36,682. So it would be that the COC and the summary statement of votes are the same. There is no discrepancy,” Diola said.
“For the ‘no’ votes, it appears in the COC, 24,994. In the statement of votes, summary statement of votes, page 1, the number of votes for the ‘no’ is 22,507. On page 2, it reflects the ‘no’ vote, is 2,487. So therefore, the ‘no’ votes is 24,994. So the COC and the summary statement of votes are the same 24,994. So there are no discrepancies as far as the votes are concerned, your honor,” Diola added.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas later revealed that the matter of “discrepancy” in the incompleteness of the number of registered voters, and number of registered voters who actually voted in the COC of Cotabato City will be treated as a “formal defect.”
After making the declaration, the NPBOC then proceeded to canvass the COCs in other areas where the January 21 plebiscite was held.