Saturday, July 07, 2012

‘Lucky 13’ In 2013


MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may just proclaim the candidate who got the 13th highest votes for senator in the May, 2013 elections.

That is if Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who awaits being called to duty at the International Criminal Court (ICC), resigns her post in the Senate and effectively leaves a vacancy for a 13th elected senator next year.

“Even if Sen. Miriam does not resign up to January, we were already discussing the possibility that we will require the shading of only 12 for the 12 senators (on the ballot)… but we will proclaim 13. The number 13 we will proclaim if she resigns after the configuration of the ballot,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said in a television interview.

“We can do that by issuing a resolution that the number 13 will be the one that will fill-up the vacancy,” he added.

But Brillantes said there is a need for the Senate to declare a vacancy first before Election Day.

“The Senate should come out with a resolution that there’s a vacancy because we cannot do anything that’s the prerogative of Sen. Miriam. She was really elected for six’s her decision to leave or not to leave within the six year period,” he said.

To recall, the Comelec earlier said that they would prefer if Senator Santiago will make her decision on whether to resign or not before October 5, which is the deadline for the filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC).

This is in order for them to know whether they will program the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to read votes for 13 or just 12.

Meanwhile, Sen. Franklin M. Drilon chided the Comelec for supposedly pressuring Santiago to bare her plans ahead of her ascension to the ICC.

“To me, Comelec Chairman (Sixto) Brillantes is wrong because it is the Comelec that proclaims winners in the senatorial race not the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines,” Drilon said in Filipino in an interview over Radio DWIZ.

“They can configure the PCOS machines to accept 13 winning candidates but until Miriam resigns, they are only required to proclaim 12 senators,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the Comelec was wrong in assuming that the senator should say when she has to quit for the purpose of programming the PCOS machines accordingly to the number of senators to be voted.

“You can configure a PCOS machines to read 13 senators. But Comelec only has to proclaim the 12 and the 13th senator would be declared when Miriam assumes her post in the ICC,” he said.

“I am no IT expert but I can see that the Comelec’s problem is very easy to resolve. There really is no problem. There is no need to pressure the senator to resign,” he said.


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