Zubiri proclaimed Saturday

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Only a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court could stop the Commission on Elections from proclaiming Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri as the winner of the 12th Senate slot, which the Comelec could do as early as Saturday.

The Comelec spokesman, Director James Jimenez, said Thursday that if the Supreme Court did not act on the petition filed by Aquilino Pimentel 3rd to stop the canvass of votes from Maguin­danao, Zubiri could be proclaimed on Saturday.

The Court’s will hear oral arguments on Pimentel’s petition Friday.

Pimentel is asking the Court to compel the Comelec to accept his evidence that the votes from Maguindanao were fabricated and should be excluded from the canvass.

Pimentel said he had been denied due process by the Comelec, convening as the National Board of Canvassers, and the special provincial board of canvassers for Maguindanao.

The national board had wanted to proclaim Zubiri on Wednesday but had to defer it after receiving notice from the Supreme Court that it was hearing oral arguments Friday.

After the Certificates of Canvass from Bais, Negros Oriental, and Bogo, Cebu, were tabulated last Monday, Zubiri moved past Pimentel in the standings. Zubiri had a total of 11,001,050 votes to Pimentel’s 10,983,358.

A special election is still to be held on July 23 in Pantar, Lanao del Sur, and one precinct in Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi. But the results from Pantar which has 9,286 registered voters and Tandubas, which has 329, would not be enough to overhaul Zubiri’s lead.

It was in Maguindanao where the administration Team Unity scored a 12-0 sweep in the senatorial election. Zubiri topped the Maguindanao polls with over 195,000 votes, while Pimentel got only some 57,000 votes.

Zubiri got 12,656 votes in Bogo and 13,381 votes in Bais to Pimentel’s 4,434 in Bogo and 5,473 in Bais.

Pimentel said that if Zubiri is proclaimed, he would bring his case to the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

Pimentel said he believes he would be able to prove electoral fraud in Maguindanao and statistical improbabilities in the towns of Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Salvador, Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blas Sinsuat, Kabuntalan and Lutaya, all in Mindanao.