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Supervision and Control Over Board of Canvassers Section 227 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that COMELEC

has direct CONTROL and SUPERVISION over Board of Canvassers. It was held in Aratuc v. Comelec that such authority includes the power to revise, reverse and set aside actions of BoC and to do what the latter should have done even if questions relative thereto have not been elevated by an aggrieved party. COMELEC may motu proprio relieve at any time and for cause any member of BoCs and designate the substitute. In City Board of Canvassers of Tacloban v. Mascoso, the COMELEC deputized the City Treasurer and instructed the latter to convene the City Board. Safekeeping of Transmitted Election Returns Section 230 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that ballot boxes shall be kept in a safe and secure room before and after the canvass. The said room shall be padlocked with three locks and the keys shall be kept in the possession of (1) chairman of the Board of Canvassers; (2) representative of the ruling party; and (3) representative of the dominant opposition political party. Duly-appointed watchers shall have the right to guard the room and the violation of such right shall constitute an election offense. Canvass by the Board The Board shall meet not later than six oclock in the afternoon of election day at the place designated by COMELEC. It shall meet continuously from day to day until the canvass is completed. It may adjourn only for the purpose of awaiting the other election returns from other polling places within its jurisdiction. Each time it adjourns, the total votes canvassed so far shall be transmitted to the COMELEC and shall make available such information to the mass media and other interested parties. Subject to reasonable exceptions, canvass must be completed within: (1) 36 hrs in municipalities (2) 48 hrs in cities and (3) 72 hrs in provinces. The Certificate of Canvass shall be duly signed and thumbmarked by the right hand of each member, supported by a statement of votes received by each candidate in each polling place and on the basis thereof, proclaim as elected the candidates who obtained the highest number of votes cast in the province, city, municipality or barangay. Failure to comply shall constitute an election offense. The proclamation of candidates as winners on the basis of erroneous certificates, with the result that the candidate obtaining the winning number of votes was not proclaimed may be held criminally liable. It should be noted that the pertinent criminal offenses punishable under the Omnibus Election Code are malum prohibitum, meaning criminal intent is immaterial to their commission. Returns for national positions shall be canvassed first. The Board shall proclaim the as elected candidates for local positions and for members of the House of Representatives.

It should also be noted that barangay elective positions are non-partisan in nature. This must be correlated with the provisions of Election Laws pertaining to the transmittal of election returns, where copies thereof are transmitted to accredited political parties.

Persons Not Allowed Inside the Canvassing Room The following are prohibited from entering the canvassing room and within a radius of 50 meters from such room: (1) Military personnel; (2) Police Officers (3) Barangay Tanods; and (3) Security Personnel, whether private or public, whether armed or unarmed. However, the Board, through majority vote, may make a call in writing for the detail of police or and peace officers OUTSIDE the room and within a radius of 30 meters for the following purposes: (1) For the protection of the Board and the paraphernalia in their possession; and (2) For the maintenance of peace and order It goes without saying that police and other peace officers may not, under any circumstance, participate in the actual canvassing of votes or the transmittal of election returns. When Election Returns are Delayed, Lost or Destroyed. If missing, the Board shall, by messenger or otherwise, obtain such missing election returns from the board of election inspectors concerned. If lost or destroyed, the Board, upon prior authority of Comelec, may use any of the authentic copies of said election returns, or any certified copy thereof issued by Comelec, and direct its representative to investigate the case and immediately report the matter to the Comelec. BUT if the missing election returns will not affect the election results, the Board may terminate the canvass and proclaim the candidates elected on the basis of the available election returns. If, for example, one candidate for municipal mayor has already obtained more than 50% of the total electorate in the partial election results, the proclamation of such candidate may now be done on the basis of the available returns.