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From President-Elect to Inauguration, How the Winner Assumes Power

The transition process, explained.
by Arianne Merez
May 9, 2022
Photo/s: Echo Antonio

A presumptive president will emerge after partial and unofficial results of the 2022 election are tallied and it's mathematically impossible for the second-placer to overtake the candidate on top.

It's an unofficial way to refer to the winner, until that person is proclaimed by the Senate and the House as the victor in the official canvass, after which the chief executive in waiting will be called president-elect.

The transition that starts on election day will culminate in the inauguration of the country's 17th leader -- simply called president.

The presidency, vice presidency, 12 Senate seats, 300 posts in the House of Representatives, and some 18,000 local positions are to be decided by some 65 million Filipinos within a 13-hour voting period.

READ: Voting Starts in Historic Election for New President Post-Pandemic

What happens after May 9

The election process continues after May 9 until the new officials are proclaimed by Comelec and Congress.

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Once the polling precincts close at 7 p.m., the Commission on Elections' Board of Canvassers will start to count the electronically-transmitted Election Returns or the Certificates of Canvass.

From May 9 onwards, the Board of Canvassers will meet daily until the canvass is completed. The Comelec had said that for local government posts, winning candidates can be proclaimed as early as May 9 just hours after the voting period ends.

For the presidency and vice presidency, the proclamation of the winning candidates will depend on members of Congress who are tasked under the 1987 Constitution to canvass the election results for the two positions.


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In the May 9, 2016 elections, the winners of these two positions became clear as early as just a few hours after the voting period ended, with President Rodrigo Duterte garnering 38.56% of the total votes by 1 a.m. of May 10 based on quick counts using official data from counting machines.

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How power is transferred

The transition from the Duterte administration to a new government starts after Congress proclaims a president-elect and vice president-elect. Usually, it takes about a month for the president-elect to assume office in Malacañang.

The president-elect forms a shadow cabinet or transition team to plan out the incoming administration's work ahead of formal appointments which can only be made once the president-elect formally assumes office.

The outgoing administration meanwhile, in this case, that of President Duterte, will turn over information on pending projects, policy works, and other government information to the team of the president-elect.

The Constitution dictates that the president take up an official residence, usually at  Malacañan Palace.  Incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte and his immediate predecessor, the late Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III however both declined living in the lavish Palace, opting to stay instead in a residential building inside the complex.

The residence was called by Aquino "Bahay Pangarap" or Dream House during his presidency, and was later renamed by Duterte to "Bahay ng Pagbabago" or House of Change.

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The transfer of power is made official during the inauguration, a ceremonial event, that is held at noon of June 30 as mandated by the 1987 Constitution to mark the start of a new six-year term of a president.

On Inauguration Day, the president-elect traditionally arrives at Malacañan in the morning to pay a courtesy call to the outgoing president before they head out to the inauguration venue. The outgoing president is also given final military honors at around 12 noon which signals the start of a new government.

While there is a lot of pomp that goes with the inauguration such as parades and symbolic ceremonies, the constitution only mandates that the president make an oath before he or she "enter on the execution" of the office of the presidency.

The oath is as follows:

"I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President [or Vice-President or Acting President] of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God." [In case of affirmation, last sentence will be omitted]

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Essentially, the transition from the old government to the new one is completed after the new president is sworn in at noon.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines shall render its first 21-gun salute to the new commander-in-chief and the new president delivers his inaugural address which usually consists of the new administration's program for its first 100 days.

An inaugural parade is traditionally held and then the President takes over the Malacañan Palace and holds the first Cabinet meeting of the new administration, marking a new era in Philippine history.

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