By Jeffrey Damicog
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday sternly warned representatives of candidates and party-lists not to disrupt the proceedings for the canvass of votes at the headquarters of the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).
“You have no business to hamper,” stressed Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas during the canvassing proceedings at the NBOC headquarters at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
Abas reminded representatives of senatorial candidates and party-lists attending the canvassing that they are only allowed to raise an objection and raise corrections over the certificates of canvass presented before the NBOC which is comprised by the Comelec commissioners.
“Otherwise we will cite you in contempt,” Abas warned them.
“Papalabasin namin kayo dito o kaya ikukulong namin kayo (We will kick you out or detain you),” the Comelec chief said.
Abas advised representatives that any other concerns should be put in writing and submitted to the Comelec.
“Reduce that into writing and within 24 hours we will answer it. That is under the law, under the rules,” he assured
“We have given you respect so you should also respect us,” Abas pointed out.
Abas gave the warning after the proceedings were briefly disrupted when lawyer Rommel Bagares, who is the legal counsel of Append party-list, reached the podium and tried to ask the Comelec that they be allowed to see the audit logs of the transparency server.
Comelec Commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon reacted to his appearance at the podium and asked him what is his purpose.
“We are on continuing canvassing here. What is your objection according to the rules?,” shouted Guanzon at Bagares.
“You are not allowed to make your speech here and waste our time,” she reprimanded the lawyer.
Eventually, Bagares conceded and returned to his seat.
On the other hand, Abas advised Bagares to submit a manifestation regarding the lawyer’s concerns.
Lawyer Aaron Pedroso, the legal counsel of Partido Lakas ng Masa, said it they are also adopting the concerns raised by Bagares and will be submitting a manifestation as well.
Bagares told reporters he sought to open the logs of the transparency server after it experienced a glitch which resulted to a seven-hour delay.
“Kasi ngayon nagca-canvas tayo pero di natin alam kung tama ba pagbasa ng makina sa ating mga boto at hindi pa nila lubos na napapaliwanag sa atin kung ano ang puno’t dulo na data glitch ng pitong oras (We have begun canvassing but we are not sure if the machines read the votes right and there is no proper explanation for the seven-hour glitch at the transparency server),” he said.