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How Fast Can Comelec Proclaim Winners in the 2022 Elections?

Thanks to automated elections.
by Erwin Colcol
Mar 22, 2022
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano
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The Commission on Elections may be able proclaim winning senators and party-list groups within seven days after the May 9 elections, with mayors and provincial candidates in just three days, through the automated elections system, a poll official said Tuesday.

The poll body held an end-to-end demonstration of the automated elections system for the media and other stakeholders, which involves the voting itself in the precinct level up to the transmission and canvassing of votes.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said that with the automated system, winners can be be proclaimed in a matter of days or even hours for some local positions.

"Kapag sa municipality, sa city, mabilis lang yan. Pinakamabilis namin is within 24 hours, may nag-proclaim na doon sa isang munisipyo on the same day at 10 p.m. In the province, I think three days ang pinakamabilis," he said.

"We're expecting for the national, seven days hopefully makapag-proclaim na tayo ng winning senators and party-lists," he added.

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

In the May 9, 2016 elections, the winners of these two positions became clear as early as just a few hours after the voting ends, 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.

While then-vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos initially led the race with over one million votes ahead of his closest rival, then-Rep. Leni Robredo, at the end of the polls, she overtook him by a little over 230,000 votes the following night.

Both Duterte and Robredo were formally proclaimed winners by Congress on May 27, only 18 days after election day.

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Casquejo also assured that there is no way for hacking incidents to happen under the automated elections system.

"Our VCM (vote counting machine) is standalone at the time of voting. So there is no one using any device or hacking knowledge can insert any result in the VCM," he said.

"The VCM transmit results in the split of seconds, or let us say 10 to 20 seconds papuntang transparency server. So there is no way a hacker can manipulate the results during that period of seconds," he added.

The Philippines held its first automated elections in 2010, which was won by the late President Benigno Aquino III.

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