GenSan canvassing pushes through despite protest

Custodio, a stalwart of the opposition Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), earlier filed a petition before the Comelec to compel City Prosecutor Edilberto Jamora to inhibit himself from participating in any of the proceedings of the board of canvassers due to his affinity with congressional candidate Manny Pacquiao of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi)    

Jamora, who was appointed as member of the board, is an uncle Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee.

But Jamora told reporters that he will continue to exercise his functions as a member of the board of canvassers until his appointment is revoked by the Comelec.

He admitted that he is, indeed, related to Pacquiao's wife but stressed that their civil affinity is already on the fifth degree.    

"The law clearly says that a member of the canvassing body shall not be allowed to participate in any of its proceedings if he or she is related to a candidate up to the fourth degree (of consanguinity)," he said.

Article 19X, Section 222 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that "the chairman and the members of the board of canvassers shall not be related within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any of the candidates whose votes will be canvassed by said board, or to any member of the same board."

The city board of canvassers is composed of the "city election registrar as chair, the city fiscal and the city superintendent of schools, and one representative from each of the ruling party and the dominant opposition political party entitled to be represented, as members. 

Meantime, the Comelec convened the board of canvassers at around 9 a.m. at the Sangguniang Panglunsod session hall but the actual canvassing of the election returns was delayed for more than an hour due to objections and clarifications from representatives of the NPC and Kampi of some provisions of the canvassing rules.

Lawyer Jose Villanueva, city election registrar, said they expect the canvassing to last until late Wednesday or early Thursday.

The city election office reported that close to 90 percent of the city's 250,728 registered voters cast their votes in Monday's midterm local and national elections.

As of 10:30 this morning, Custodio is leading Pacquiao by a mile based on the quick counts of the National Movement for Free Elections and the Systems Technology Institute

Custodio so far mustered 22,092 votes while the former world boxing champion only got 12,402 votes.

The first congressional district of South Cotabato is composed of this city and the municipalities of Polomolok, Tupi and Tampakan. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)