Brillantes to quit if proclamation fails

Paterno Esmaquel II
The poll chief threatens to resign – for the nth time – if the 6 senators that the board of canvassers proclaimed get dislodged from the Magic 12

PARTIAL PROCLAMATION. The national board of canvassers proclaims 6 senators despite having canvassed only 24% of COCs. Photo by Vincent Go/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – How sure is poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed the right set of 6 winning senators?

So sure, Brillantes said on Friday, May 17, that he threatened to resign – for the nth time.

In an interview with reporters, the poll chief guaranteed that the 6 senators that the national board of canvassers (NBOC) proclaimed Thursday evening, May 16, will end up winners after the board tallies all certificates of canvass (COCs).

The NBOC, which is composed of the Comelec en banc, proclaimed 6 senators based on only 24% of COCs. Brillantes said the media pressured the NBOC to do this.

Ilalaban ko. Magre-resign ako kapag natanggal ‘yung anim,” said Brillantes, who had threatened to resign several times in the past. (I will fight for it. I will resign if the 6 get dislodged.)

Brillantes said the NBOC may proclaim 4 to 6 more senators on Friday evening. The board will recompute to determine if the rankings of the next 6 senators will remain unchanged.

The chairman also explained why the NBOC chose not to grant interviews before the proclamation on Thursday. He said the board encountered some “issues,” and debated their answers to questions that the media wanted to ask them. “We have to settle it among ourselves first,” he said.

It was also the media that pressured the NBOC to proclaim the first 6 senators on Thursday, Brillantes explained. (Watch more in the video below.)

Kasi nagmamadali ang media,” Brillantes said. “Kayo ang nagmamadali. Every time we do not proclaim on what we say, everybody says, ‘Ops, nagkaroon ng palso, nagkakuwan. Pero hindi naman namin minadali. Sinisigurado lang namin.”

(Because the media was rushing us. You are the ones rushing. Every time we do not proclaim on what we say, everybody says, ‘Oops, there was a problem.’ But we didn’t really rush it. We just made sure.)

Negative perception

The poll chief downplayed possibly negative perceptions.

“We’re doing everything that is all right, legitimate, and everything. Perception of whom? The public? Who is representing the public? I have never heard any negative perception from the public. If I hear one, we will probably respond to it. Is the media saying that the public has a negative perception?” Brillantes said.

Brillantes said the untallied COCs as of Thursday involve “very small votes” from overseas absentee voters. These comprise 200 of 301 COCs, or 66.4%.

The number of voters in the canvassed COCs so far, however, is 13.38 million. That’s around 36.8% of the projected voter turnout of 36.4 million.

The Comelec is soon expected to publicize its resolution on Thursday’s proclamation. –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at