Philippines Congress' announcement of next leaders left hanging

21:39, June 04, 2010      

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Filipinos might have to wait for another month before Congress declares presumptive president Benigno Aquino III as Philippines' 15th president, Philippine Election Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said on Friday.

Aquino cannot be proclaimed President-elect ahead of his vice president, Macalintal said, describing the move to do so as " impractical and premature" pending the canvass of four certificates of canvass (COCs) in Congress.

The four COCs, involving about two million votes, would be branded as "technically disenfranchised" because they would not be included if Congress will declare Aquino as President-elect, he added.

"The COCs could only be set aside or not included if they are lost, destroyed or not available for canvass, which is not the case for the COCs concerned," Macalintal said.

Congress on Thursday suspended the canvassing of votes and will not resume until Monday afternoon.

This means that the nation has to wait until next week before knowing the official winner of the vice presidential race, a close fight between Jejomar Binay, a local politician, and Senator Manuel Roxas II, running mate of Aquino.

But Congress might also have a difficult time reconvening for the proclamation of the vice president because of quorum problems, Macalintal said, noting that some senators and congressmen may no longer be available because they have already finished their terms.

The worst case scenario is that the winner of the vice presidential race would have to wait for the 15th Congress, which will open on July 26, to convene in joint session, Macalintal said.

Source: Xinhua


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