Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WHAT IF THERE WAS A TIE? (Breaking ties in local and national elections)

By Siesta-friendly

Just to ventilate: we don’t understand why in the age of electronic transmission, election results transmission in the Philippines suddenly seem to be anachronistic.  Electronic mail can be received in a matter of seconds all around the world.  Yet, the remaining electronic data from ballot machines taken 8 days ago seem to be taking their sweet time or maybe being redirected around the universe to get where they should be.

Plus, continued reports of irregularities give more and more light to COMELEC’s incompetence:  from 60 PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines being taken home by a PCOS technician to discrepancies between election data print-outs and the election data stored in the memory cards Not to mention the numerous PCOS machines breaking down since election day.

Time for a revamp of the entire COMELEC membership to have a more credible outcome next time.

So there.

The slow counting of votes for certain positions has also given us time to think about certain scenarios under the Omnibus Election Code like what happens when there is a tie for local and national posts (especially where the race seems close).

When the candidates for President or Vice President are tied

Upon the completion of the canvass of the votes by Congress, the candidates with the highest number of votes for President and for Vice-President shall be declared elected; but in case 2 or more shall have an equal and the highest number of votes, one of them shall be chosen President or Vice-President, as the case may be, by a majority vote of all the Members of Congress in session assembled. (Article II, Section 20, Omnibus Election Code)[1]

If the Certificates of Canvass are not complete

In case there are certificates of canvass which have not been submitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on account of missing election returns, a proclamation may be made if the missing certificates will not affect the results of the election.

But if the certificates of canvass which were not submitted on account of missing election returns will affect the results of the election, no proclamation shall be made. The Speaker shall immediately instruct the boards of canvassers concerned to obtain the missing election returns from the boards of election inspectors or, if the returns have been lost or destroyed upon prior authority from the COMELEC, to use any authentic copy of said election returns for the purpose of conducting the canvass, and thereafter issue the certificates of canvass.  The certificates of canvass shall be immediately transmitted to the House Speaker.

Proclamation shall be made only upon submission of all certificates of canvass or when the missing certificates of canvass will not affect the results of the election. (Article II, Section 20)

When other candidates are tied

In other instances where there are 2 or more candidates receiving an equal and highest number of votes, or in cases where 2 or more candidates are to be elected for the same position and two or more candidates received the same number of votes for the last place in the number to be elected, the board of canvassers, after recording this fact in its minutes, shall by resolution, upon 5 days notice to all the tied candidates, hold a special public meeting at which the board of canvassers shall proceed to the drawing of lots of the candidates who have tied and shall proclaim as elected the candidates who may be favored by luck, and the candidates so proclaimed shall have the right to assume office in the same manner as if he had been elected by plurality of vote.  (Article XIX, Section 240)

If there are pre-proclamation controversies

It must first be noted that as to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all members of Congress, elective regional, provincial and city officials, the COMELEC is the sole judge. (Article XXI, Section 249)

As regards pre-proclamation controversies, the COMELEC has exclusive jurisdiction. It may motu proprio (or on its own) or upon written petition, and after due notice and hearing, order the partial or total suspension of the proclamation of any candidate-elect or annul partially or totally any proclamation, if one has been made, as the evidence shall warrant. (Article XX, Section 242)

We won’t go into the details of election protests. They can be messy and very political.

[1]  Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, December 3, 1985.  http://www.comelec.gov.ph/laws/omnibus_election_code/oec_art2.html


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