Press Release
May 13, 2010

Transcript of Kapihan sa Senado with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Miguel Zubiri

ZUBIRI: If I may, we just had a meeting with Sec. Emma and our Senate legal staff. We fully concur with the Senate President on him meeting with the Speaker of the House to come up with an earlier date for the discussions on the rules and approval of the rules before we actually go into canvass. So you have my full support on that, Mr. President.

Q: What about the presence of the members of the Chamber?

ZUBIRI: We will consult with them one by one, I will make the calls for the Senate President and ask them. I think the most contentious issue, and I was going to discuss with the Senate President before this, is which documents to canvass. Kasi meron tayong manually transmitted at meron tayong electronically transmitted. Under the law, it is clear that it says electronically transmitted document is the document that will be canvassed by the Comelec in the National Board of Canvassers. That's the Comelec. We can decide on our own on which one to use.

SP: That's the Comelec because the law provides for the manner of canvass by the Comelec. But what law provides the manner of canvass by the Congress as a national canvasser for the votes for the president and vice president? The Constitution, and no law can transgress the Constitution, violate the Constitution, or can be more superior than the Constitution.

ZUBIRI: So we still have to make a decision. The only problem that we foresee is on an early count, as of today, we only have 43 COCs, electronically transferred. We have 272 COCs. So medyo malayo pa po 'yung pinadala dito sa atin.

SP: I will have to ask the Comelec to perform their job in transmitting to us the COCs. That's their responsibility. They are responsible for the conduct of elections in the country.

ZUBIRI: 'Yun nga Mr. President. I would just like to remind our friends in the media, kasi binabatikos kami ng media outlets sa umaga, yung mga komentarista, na ano ba yung ginagawa ng Kongreso. Gusto lang po namin ipaalam sa publiko na gumagalaw po kami. Pero hindi rin pwede kami ni Senate President magkaroon ng canvass na 43 lang po ang naipapadala pa lang dito sa atin. Ang mangyayari diyan, we will only finish 43 COCs, and then we will have to suspend session. Alam ninyo naman na napakahirap kumuha ng quorum, lalo na sa Kongreso, kung saan marami po ay natalo. 'Yung iba ay hinihintay pa ang proclamation nila. Hindi sila lahat makakapunta dito sa Metro Manila. So I appeal now to the Comelec, to speed up the delivery of this electronic COCs. 'Yung kasalanan po wala sa atin and I would like to say this in behalf of the Senate President. Wala pong sala dito ang Senado. Napakakaunti pa ng pinapadala nila dito to be able to call for early canvassing. Kaya po namin gawin ni Senate President ito, tomorrow or even the next Monday, but if we do not have the certificates to canvass, what do we have to do this for? What is important, the electronically transmitted as well as the manually transmitted be delivered as soon as possible.

SP: One thing I can assure the nation and the people, as far as I am concerned, I will see to it that we have a proclaimed president before June 30. We have to have a proclaimed president and vice president before June 30. If the COCs will not come, then we have no other recourse but to open the electronically transmitted COCs with the participation of the entire nation if possible, media, including all the political parties and canvass the votes transmitted to us electronically.

Q: Sir, when will that happen? What day are you looking at?

SP: A reasonable time, before June 30. Maybe May 31, when we open.

ZUBIRI: May I add, Mr. President, it all depends on the Comelec. All this is in the hands of Comelec now because we are only receiving the official documents and we have only received 43 so far. Hindi po nagkukulang ang Senado.

Q: I don't doubt you can shepherd the members of this Chamber to have a quorum. But the problem is in the House. What if the House cannot form a quorum?

ZUBIRI: That's why the Senate President will be seeing the Speaker of the House to discuss the possibilities. Whether the news is good or bad, they will have to discuss amongst them. We cannot answer for the members of the House, I believe their leader can at least answer for them.

SP: We have to do our Constitutional mandate. This is a Constitutional duty, not an ordinary duty imposed upon us. We have to proclaim a president and vice president.

ZUBIRI: As the Senate President said, it is our Constitutional duty, mahiya-hiya naman sila. Whether natalo sila o nanalo, they have to attend the session. It will be difficult to explain. Mahihirapan sila magbigay ng paliwanag na hindi sila aattend for whatever reasons they may have, ito po ay para sa bansa.

SP: I assume the patriotism of the elected members of the Representatives as well as the members of the Senate, but we are not without recourse if that should happen. A smaller number of members of the House can order the arrest of those who do not appear.

Q: In your meeting with the Speaker tomorrow, is the majority leader having a meeting with his counterparts?

ZUBIRI: We will set up a meeting with the Majority Floor Leader of the House of Representatives. Right now he is elated because he won as governor of Iloilo. Definitely, knowing the character of the man, he will be here for his duties to help in the canvassing. We will coordinate with the Senate President and the Speaker, kasi syempre we cannot decide on our own. We will have to listen to the leadership of the Senate and the House.

Q: Sir, ang bilis mag-unofficial canvass ng Comelec, pero ang bagal mag-electronic transmission.

ZUBIRI: Yung presinto ang nagta-transmit ng ERs, electronically transmitted to Comelec. Pag natapos na, let's say one province has 200 PCOS machines, 200 clustered precincts, if they finished already 195 clustered precincts, 'yan ang trinansmit na sa Comelec. Pero may lima pa na naiwan. Yung lima na 'yan, they will not be able to close the COCs of that particular province kasi naiwan. At 'yan ang hinihintay namin dito, 'yung provincial, the electronically transmitted provincial COC. So kung may limang presinto diyan na hindi matapos, it stops the whole provincial COC from actually being transmitted. 'Yan ang problema kaya nadedelay tayo.

Q: Sir, _____, o hindi na?

ZUBIRI: For whatever reason, if the NPAs burned it, or there was a failure of election in that particular barangay, diyan tayo nadedelay. Under the law, and the Constitution, we are supposed to canvass provincial COCs, provincial and urbanized cities, including overseas absentee votes as well.

Q: What will happen kapag malaking variance ng transmitted sa COCs?

ZUBIRI: It should be exactly the same. Pag may variance, then there is a problem with the system. For example, 'yung electronically transmitted dito sa atin, Baguio City, let's say the win is so and so number, and then the manually transmitted canvass is brought here, nagkaiba siya, we have a problem with the system. They could have been hacked along the way. Then it is highly probable that will happen, but it could be a possibility.

Q: Ano ang gagamitin ninyo?

ZUBIRI: That is what we will discuss amongst our House contingent members. That is a valid question, because what happens if they actually hacked a result coming here, and iba po 'yung lumabas sa provincial electronic COC na pinadala dito manually? That is a question that we will be discussing amongst our peers and amongst the leadership of both Houses. Which one will we actually recognize and validate? Definitely what will be important is the authenticity of the Comelec documents. The Comelec will eventually also have to authenticate these documents.

Q: Can we say that cheating happened along the way?

ZUBIRI: I don't know, to be very honest. In this particular system, napakahirap mandaya. I think the cheating that happened in this system was mostly vote buying. Boto nila, isang libo, tag-P500, per person. I think on the transmittal it can be easily corrected and fixed. The National Board of Canvassers in the PICC will have the original electronically transferred COCs for the province. So 'yung pinadala nila dito, it will be easy to check whether it was tampered or not. We will make sure, we will double-check our documents.

SP: Meron kaming receiving set sa House of Representatives. Meron din sa Comelec. Dito may manually delivered hard copy, plus I do not know yet what is contained in the sealed envelope. Yung diskette yata for that province that was delivered here. Maraming safeguards.

ZUBIRI: Problema na lang siguro, kailangan natin Mr. President, we should have a meeting with the Comelec leadership in the next few days to compel them also to complete their provincial COCs already. It is quite confusing. Di ba medyo confusing, meron nang national tally and yet hindi pa nabibigay 'yung provincial COCs dahil may mga clustered precincts dun sa mga probinsiya na nagka-aberya. Hindi nila maipapadala 'yung final provincial tally. Diyan tayo nagkakaproblema.

Q: I-postpone na lang natin 'yung proclamation ni Noynoy.

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