Vote canvassing in Congress begins

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But canvassers won’t entertain poll fraud raps
BY EFREN L. DANAO

Congress, which is due to constitute itself into the National Board of Canvassers today (Monday), will make the fastest proclamation of the president-elect and vice president-elect in Philippine history, Senators Edgardo Angara and Juan Miguel Zubiri vowed on Sunday.

The two senators told dzBB’s public affairs program Balitang Todo-Todo hosted by Nimfa Ravelo that they saw no major problems in making the board’s canvassing of the votes for president and vice president the fastest ever recorded in its history.

“The early conceding of defeat by major candidates for president will facilitate the canvassing,” Angara said.

Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party and former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) conceded to apparent president-elect Benigno Aquino 3rd a day after the May 10 elections.

Sen. Richard Gordon and Brother Eddie Villanueva followed later.

Former President Joseph Estrada, the only major candidate who has not conceded, trails Aquino by more than five million votes in partial unofficial vote count.

“Even if those major candidates will still be represented by lawyers at the canvassing, there will be heated debates and points raised would merely be for the record or for future guidance because their principals had already conceded,” Angara said.

Zubiri said that proposed rules to govern the counting by the canvassers’ board would assure the faster proclamation of the winners.

He pointed out that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had declared that no privileged speeches would be allowed during the canvassing.

To facilitate the work, the House of Representatives and the Senate will form a canvassing committee to be composed of nine members from each chamber.

Under the proposed rules, candidates for president and vice president could not be members of the canvassers’ board.

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