Lawmakers set Monday proclamation for Duterte, Robredo

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Metro Manila  Philippines – Congress will proclaim Rodrigo Duterte as president and Leni Robredo vice president on Monday (May 30).

“The projected proclamation would be afternoon of Monday,” Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, co-chair of the joint canvassing committee composed of senators and congressmen, said in a statement Saturday.

The congressional canvassing committee ended its vote count on Friday, with Duterte winning by a landslide 16,601,997 votes. This is more than 6.6 million votes from those obtained by his closest rival, administration bet Mar Roxas.

But the administration gained the upper hand in Robredo who won the tight race. She obtained 14,418,817 votes – a gap of only 263,473 from the votes for Bongbong Marcos.

Congress took three days to tally the certificates of canvass – the fastest in Philippine election history.

“It’s good we ended on a Friday so our staff could have the weekend to finish the joint committee report,” Pimentel said.

The joint body directed the secretariat to finish the committee report in time for the scheduled proclamation.

Duterte had told reporters in Davao he will not attend his proclamation, but his lawyer, incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the mayor “might” yet be present in the proceedings.

Aguirre recalled Duterte’s earlier pronouncement that people should not believe him when he says something “improbable.”

While Duterte’s lead is solid, controversy is hounding the tight vice presidential race.

The Marcos camp is planning to file an electoral protest over the high number of undervotes because of ballots that did not indicate any preference for vice president.

But Pimentel said undervoting is a “non-issue.”

“Because for me personally, I cannot see, let’s say you discovered four million undervotes, how could that affect the results because the mandate of the canvassing is to count votes and not the non-votes or no votes,” the senator said.

He said any candidate can file an electoral protest, but they would have to justify it.

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