TEXT AND PHOTOS BY AUBREY SC MAKILAN
ELECTION WATCH/BREAKING NEWS
May 16, 2007 – 1:44pm
Due to shortage in manpower, the canvassing of votes in Manila could take a week.
Jovencio Balangquit, chair of the Commission on Elections Board of Canvassers of Manila (CBOC) said he first projected to finish the canvassing in four days. But due to a shortage in Comelec personnel, it could take them a week to complete the process, he said in an interview May 15 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila. “Wala pang tulog ang marami d’yan,” (Most of us haven’t slept yet since the elections.) he said noting that they will just resume the canvassing by March 16.
The procedure was also delayed for almost an hour when several watchers and canvassers flocked the area as replacement to their colleagues for the next shift. The only entrance to the stadium where the canvassing would be done was closed by the police since about 2:30 p.m. to facilitate orderly entry and exit of people.
The stadium was filled with canvassers in color-coded shirts. The group of Sonny Cruz, a poll watcher for a vice mayoral candidate, was ingenious to wear a white turban cap to be able to look for their co-watchers easily in the crowded stadium.
Tasks were well-divided among the group of Cruz. Some lists the votes garnered by their candidate while Cruz was tasked with calling the attention of their counsel whenever an irregularity in the canvassing was observed by the group. Cruz would just raise a stick with white plastic flowers tied on its end.
All around the place were teachers, asleep while sitting down or eating in a corner.
Meanwhile, Bagalanquit was on stage, announcing every ballot box the CBOC was receiving. He goes through the process of checking if all ballot boxes were padlocked and sealed. He also announced the serial number of the ballot boxes and canvassers documented it.After all the ballot boxes had been received, the CBOC chair, opened the ballot boxes in front of watchers and counsels, cut the thin steel seal, checked the serial number, and inspected the election returns which were in sealed envelopes. These returns are them assigned to the tabulators of the canvassing committees.
or each district, three to five tabulators were assigned by the CBOC of Manila. It was already passed 5 p.m. of May 15 but only two tabulators were working on a ballot box. The said tabulators, who were from the prosecutor’s office, were just two of the four assigned for District 6 alone.
The tabulators used electronic calculators to compute the votes of candidates in the statement of votes.
At the end of each day, the CBOC would release a provisional total for the day’s canvassing. This would be posted on the huge wall inside the stadium.
The same partial results would be posted outside the stadium for the public. (Bulatlat.com)