The National Board of Canvassers on Thursday deferred the tabulation of the certificate of canvass from North Cotabato when lawyers of opposition senatorial candidates noted big discrepancies in the number of votes for their clients.
Provincial assistant election officer Joel Celis said the discrepancies were just human errors and blamed these on the lawyers of various candidates.
He said that during the provincial canvassing the lawyers of both losing and winning candidates raised various complaints of irregularities.
“Perhaps the members of the provincial board of canvassers were already ?confused that this resulted in clerical errors in the COC,” he explained.
The decision of the National Board of Canvassers to defer the tabulation came after lawyer Leila de Lima pointed out the “big discrepancies” in ?figures between the Statement of Votes (SOV) by municipality and the Kidapawan City COC.
According to www.gmanews.tv it was Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos who personally saw the discrepancies while De Lima was reading the figures in the Kidapawan City COC. This prompted him to check the figures against the SOVs by municipality.
The same website reported that in the Kidapawan City COC, Senator Edgardo Angara got 15,362 votes but 37, 960 votes were written in the SOV, while Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano had 19,601 votes but the SOV only reflected some 10,000 votes.
The other discrepancies were those of the votes for Bautista Felix Cantal, Joselito Cayetano and Melchor Chavez who got, 971, 96, 818, and 1211 votes, respectively.
The SOV, however, reflected a zero vote for each of them. North Cotabato has 556,678 registered voters, down from its 2004 figure of 557,808. (Williamor A. Magbanua/MindaNews)