Comelec’s defense: We used faxed tallies

Paterno Esmaquel II
(UPDATED) The Comelec issues the basis for its supposedly 'rushed' proclamations

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

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Explaining the basis for its supposedly rushed proclamations, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, May 17, said it partly used faxed tallies in proclaiming 6 initial winners of the senatorial race.

The Comelec earlier ordered local canvassers that have failed to transmit their certificates of canvass (COCs) as of 5 pm on Wednesday, May 15, to fax these directly to the national board of canvassers (NBOC) based in Manila.

The Comelec used these tallies, called grouped canvass reports, to project the numbers from the COCs that the NBOC has yet to receive. The poll body, which sits as the NBOC, however didn’t include these grouped canvass reports in the official tally.

In determining the exact number of votes that a candidate received, the official basis is still the canvassing done in PICC, Pasay City.

In Resolution No. 9706 released to the media on Friday, the Comelec said it used validated grouped canvass reports as basis for the following:

  • “to determine the votes obtained by all the candidates for senator; and

  • “to ascertain whether or not the standing of the candidates who may be initially proclaimed as duly elected senators, will be affected by the remaining provincial and city certificates of canvass still to be received by the NBOC”

Resolution No. 9706, which was promulgated on Thursday, May 16, said earlier delays in the transmitting COCs has hampered the canvass and consolidation of votes for senators and party-list groups. (Read the full resolution below.) 

Comelec’s Basis for Early Proclamations

In Resolution No. 9701 issued on Wednesday, the Comelec said it will use the grouped canvass reports in monitoring, not necessarily in the official canvassing.

The NBOC on Thursday proclaimed 6 senators after having canvassed only 24% of COCs.

Various political camps, led by the the United Nationalist Alliance, protested the proclamation, saying it was too early to proclaim the winners. 

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal called it a “defective proclamation.” “It is a proclamation which has no force and effect and any candidate who received and used that certificate of proclamation is betraying the trust imposed upon them because the votes garnered was not indicated in the certificate. Accepting that is like turning their back on the voters,” Macalintal said in a phone interview with Rappler.

Netizens jumped in, with some saying it was not a “brilliant” idea by the Brillantes-led Comelec.

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

The NBOC will later announce if the board will proclaim more senators Friday evening. –

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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