MANILA, Philippines — Genuine Opposition senatorial candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to stop the Commission on Elections from proclaiming the 12th winning senator.
In his petition for a temporary restraining order, Pimentel also asked the high court to nullify the proceedings of the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBC), which included the results from Maguindanao province in the national canvass of votes for senator, for being unconstitutional and illegal.
He also wants to nullify the re-canvass of the municipal certificates of canvass (MCOC) that led to the preparation of a provincial COC for Maguindanao.
“The anticipated hasty termination of canvass proceedings and the imminent proclamation of the private respondent will work grave and irreparable injury on the petitioner and to the millions of people who voted for him expecting the proclamation of winners based on the cleanest count that the respondent NBC could possibly undertake,” he said.
Pimentel said the NBC should also be directed to determine the authenticity of the MCOC, while he should be allowed to present proof to back up his claim that the election results in Maguindanao were manufactured, and to question election officials in the said province.
He noted that while he still leads over closest rival, Juan Miguel Zubiri, he expects this to be gone when the votes from the remaining COCs are canvassed.
“The canvass proceedings before the public respondents have been a sham,” he said.
The Supreme Court had earlier denied Pimentel’s earlier petition to stop the canvassing of Maguindanao votes.
Zubiri, however, asked Pimentel on Wednesday to just bring their electoral fight to the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and let the Comelec proclaim the winner for the 12th and last Senate slot.
In an interview, Zubiri said Pimentel’s petition asking the Supreme Court to stop the proclamation of the 12th winner by declaring illegal the Comelec canvass of votes from Maguindanao was a dilatory tactic.
“I believe this is a last ditch attempt on his part to slow down the process of proclamation for the 12th (winning) candidate,” he said.
Zubiri noted that as of Wednesday, Pimentel’s lead was down to 501.
But Zubiri said he would win in the end and lead by a little over 17,000 votes over Pimentel after all the votes in the affected areas shall have been canvassed.
He said he would lead by 8,402 votes in Bogo, Cebu and 8,100 votes in Bais, Negros Oriental.
In Barira town in Shariff Kabunsuan, Zubiri said he led Pimentel by 2,266 votes.