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DUTIES OF THE

BOARD OF
CANVASSERS
The canvassing of votes refers to the process
by which the results in the election returns are tallied
and totalled. The district, municipal, city and
provincial canvassers prepare certificates of canvass
or official tabulations of votes based on the election
returns which are the results of the ballot count at the
precinct level. These proceedings are administrative
and summary in nature.

A canvassing board's task is to compile and


add the results as they appear in the election returns
transmitted to it. (Guiao v. COMELEC, 137 SCRA
366)
When ministerial
It is the ministerial duty of a municipal
canvassing body to count and make a
canvass “of all the votes” cast. An incomplete
canvass of votes is illegal and cannot be the
basis of a subsequent proclamation. Why
must all the votes be counted when there is a
need to finish the canvass on time so that
proclamation can be made before the
beginning of the term of office? Because to
disregard returns is in effect to disfranchise
the voters. (Mutuc v. Comelec, 22 SCRA 662,
1968)
When Quasi-judicial
The board of canvassers must be
satisfied that the election returns submitted to
it are genuine and authentic, which means
trustworthy and not false. Thus, it will not be
compelled to canvass the returns and reject
them when they are found to be:

 obviously manufactured;
 contrary to probabilities;
 clearly falsified; or
 not legible.
COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD
PROVINCIAL CITY MUNICIPAL

Chairman Provincial City election Election


election registrar or a registrar or a
supervisor or lawyer of representative
lawyer in the COMELEC; of COMELEC
regional office
of the In cities with
COMELEC more than 1
election
registrar,
COMELEC
shall designate
the election
registrar who
shall act as
chairman
COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD
PROVINCIAL CITY MUNICIPAL

Vice Chairman Provincial City fiscal Municipal


fiscal treasurer

Member Provincial City Most senior


superintendent superintendent district school
of schools of schools supervisor or
in his absence
a principal of
the school
district or the
elementary
school
SUBSTITUTION OF A MEMBER
OF THE BOARD
PROVINCIAL CITY MUNICIPAL
Chairman Ranking lawyer of the COMELEC
Vice Chairman 1. Provincial 1. City auditor or 1. Municipal
auditor equivalent; Administrator;
2. Registrar of 2. Registrar of 2. Municipal
Deeds Deeds; Assessor;
3. Clerk of Court 3. Clerk of Court 3. Clerk of Court
nominate d by nominated by nominate d by
the Executive the Executive the Executive
Judge of the Judge of the Judge of the
RTC; RTC; MTC;
4. Any other 4. Any other 4. Any other
available available available
appointive appointive city appointive
provincial official officia municipal official
Member Same as for Vice Chairman
PROHIBITIONS ON THE BOARD OF
CANVASSERS
The chairman and the members of the Board of Canvassers
shall not be related within the 4th 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 said board.
(Sec. 222, B.P. 881)

No member or substitute member of the different boards of


canvassers shall be transferred, assigned or detailed outside of
his official station, nor shall he leave said station without prior
authority of the COMELEC during the period beginning election
day until the proclamation of the winning candidates. (Sec. 223,
B.P. 881)

No member of the board of canvassers shall feign illness in


order to be substituted on election day until the proclamation of
the winning candidates. Feigning of illness constitutes an
election offense. (Sec. 224, B.P. 881)
KEEPING ORDER IN THE
PREMISES
Proceedings of the board of canvassers shall be
open and public. Majority vote of all the members of the
board of canvassers shall be necessary to render a
decision.

The board of canvassers shall have full authority


to keep order within the canvassing room or hall and its
premises and enforce obedience to its lawful orders. If
any person shall refuse to obey any lawful order of the
board or shall so conduct himself in such disorder
manner as to disturb or interrupt its proceedings, the
board may order any peace officer to take such person
into custody until the adjournment of the meeting. (Sec.
24, R.A. No. 6646)
DUTIES OF THE CANVASSING
BOARD
The board of canvassers shall meet not later than 6
pm of the election day at the place designated to
receive the election returns and to immediately
canvass those that may have already been received.

The board of canvassers shall meet continuously


from day to day until the canvass is completed, and
may adjourn but not only for the purpose of awaiting
the other elections returns from the other polling
places within its jurisdiction.
DUTIES OF THE CANVASSING
BOARD
Each time the board adjourns, it shall make a total of all
the votes canvassed so far for each candidate for each
office, furnishing the COMELEC in Manila by the fastest
means of communication a certified copy thereof, and
making available the data contained therein to the mass
media and other interested parties

As soon as the other election returns are delivered, the


board shall immediately resume canvassing until all the
returns have been canvassed

A canvass cannot be reflective of the true vote of the


electorate unless all the returns are considered.
DUTIES OF THE CANVASSING
BOARD
Subject to reasonable exceptions, the
board of canvassers must complete their
canvasses within otherwise violation of this
requirement shall be a punishable election
offense.

 36 hours in municipalities
 48 hours in cities
 72 hours in provinces
DUTIES OF THE CANVASSING
BOARD
The respective board of canvassers shall
prepare a certificate of canvass duly signed
and affixed with the imprint of the thumb of
the right hand of each member, supported by
a statement of the votes received by each
candidate in each polling place and, on the
basis thereof, shall proclaim as elected the
candidates who obtained the highest number
of votes cast in the province, city, municipality
or barangay.
DUTIES OF THE CANVASSING
BOARD
The board shall proclaim as elected the
candidates who obtained the highest
number of votes cast in the province, city,
municipality or barangay on the basis of
the certificates of canvass. Failure to
comply constitutes an election offense.
DUTIES OF THE PROVINCIAL
CANVASSING BOARD
Canvass the Certificates of Canvass of Votes for President, Vice-President,
Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Party-List and
Elective Provincial Officials (CEF No. 20) submitted by the board of
canvassers of municipalities and component cities;

Upon completion of the canvass;

 Prepare in seven (7) copies , A Certificate of Canvass of Votes for


President, Vice President, Senators and Party-List (CEF No. 21);

 Prepare the Certificates of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation of


Winning Candidates for members of the House of Representatives and
Provincial Offices (CEF Nos. 22 & 23); and

 Proclaim the winning candidates for members of the House of


Representatives and provincial offices
DUTIES OF THE PROVINCIAL
CANVASSING BOARD
The Provincial Board of Canvassers shall distribute the Certificate of Canvass of
Votes for President, Vice-President, Senators and Party-List (CEF No. 21) as
follows:

 The first copy to the Congress, directed to the President of the Senate for
use in the canvass of election results for President and Vice-President;

 The second copy to the Commission sitting as the National Board of


Canvassers for use in the canvass of the results for Senators and Party-List
Representatives;

 The third copy to be kept by the chairman of the board;

 The fourth copy to NAMFREL, the citizens’ arm designated by the


Commission to conduct a media-based unofficial count;

 The fifth, sixth and seventh copies of the certificate of canvass of votes to
the first three (3) of the accredited major political parties. The parties
receiving the certificates shall have the obligation to furnish the other parties
with authentic copies thereof with the least possible delay.
DUTIES OF THE PROVINCIAL
CANVASSING BOARD
The first three copies of the certificates of canvass of votes
prepared by the provincial board of canvassers shall be
supported by a copy of the Statement of Votes by
city/municipality. The copy for the Congress shall, in addition, be
supported by a Statement of Votes by precinct as submitted to
the provincial board of canvassers by the city and municipal
boards of canvassers. The certificates shall be signed and
thumbmarked by the chairman and members of the provincial
board of canvassers and the watchers of the accredited major
political parties, if available. Thereafter, they shall be placed
inside their corresponding security envelopes.
DUTIES OF THE CITY/MUNICIPAL
CANVASSING BOARD
Canvass the election returns for President, Vice-President,
Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Party-List
and for elective provincial and city or municipal officials;

Upon completion of the canvass;

 Prepare in seven (7) copies, the Certificate of Canvass of Votes


for President, Vice-President, Senators, Members of the House
of Representatives, Party-List and Elective Provincial Officials
(CEF No. 20);

 Prepare the Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation of Winning


Candidates for City or Municipal Offices (CEF No. 24 & 25); and

 Proclaim said winning candidates


DUTIES OF THE CITY/MUNICIPAL
CANVASSING BOARD
The board of canvassers shall distribute the Certificate of Canvass of Votes for
President, Vice-President, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives,
Party-List and Elective Provincial Officials as follows:

 The first copy to the provincial board of canvassers for use in the canvass
for President, Vice-President, Senators, Members of the House of
Representatives, Party-List and other elective provincial officials.

 The second copy to the Election Records & Statistics Department


Commission on Elections, Manila;

 The third copy to be kept by the chairman of the board;

 The fourth copy to NAMFREL, the citizens’ arm designated by the


Commission to conduct a media-based unofficial count; and

 The fifth, sixth and seventh copies to the first three (3) of the accredited
major political parties. The parties receiving the certificates shall have the
obligation to furnish the other parties with authentic copies thereof with the
least possible delay.
DUTIES OF THE CITY/MUNICIPAL
CANVASSING BOARD
The first three copies of the certificates of
canvass of votes prepared by the city or
municipal board of canvassers shall each be
supported by a Statement of Votes by
precinct, signed and thumbmarked by the
chairman and members of the board, and the
watchers of the accredited major political
parties, if available. Thereafter, they shall
each be sealed and placed inside their
corresponding security envelopes which shall
likewise be sealed.
STATEMENT OF VOTES
The statement of votes is a tabulation per precinct of votes
garnered by candidates as reflected in the election returns;
its preparation is an administrative function of the board,
purely a mechanical act over which COMELEC has direct
control and supervision.

The Statement of Votes supports the certificate of canvass


and is the basis of proclamation. Consequently, any error in
the Statement of Votes would affect the proclamation made
on the basis thereof.

Failure to object to the Statement of Votes before the Board


of Canvassers does not constitute a bar to raising the issue
for the first time before the COMELEC, as the law is silent as
to when such objection may be raised.
CONGRESS AS THE NATIONAL BOARD
OF CANVASSERS FOR PRESIDENT AND
VICE-PRESIDENT
The Congress and the Commission en banc shall determine the
authenticity and due execution of the certificate of canvass for
President and Vice-President and senators, respectively as
accomplished and transmitted to it by the local boards of
canvassers.

The person having the highest number of votes shall be


proclaimed elected. But in case two or more shall be an equal
and highest number of votes, one of them shall forthwith be
chosen by the vote of a majority of all the members of both
houses of Congress, voting separately. The Congress shall
promulgate its rules for the canvassing of the certificates.
WHEN THE ELECTION RETURNS ARE
DELAYED, LOST OR DESTROYED
In case its copy of the election returns is missing, the board of
canvassers shall, by messenger or otherwise, obtain such
missing election returns from the board of election inspectors
concerned, or if said returns have been lost or destroyed, the
board of canvassers, upon prior authority of the Commission,
may use any of the authentic copies of said election returns or a
certified copy of said election returns issued by the Commission,
and forthwith direct its representative to investigate the case and
immediately report the matter to the Commission.

The board of canvassers, notwithstanding the fact that not all


the election returns have been received by it, may terminate the
canvass and proclaim the candidates elected on the basis of the
available election returns if the missing election returns will not
affect the results of the election. (Sec. 233, Omnibus Election
Code)
MATERIAL DEFECTS IN THE
ELECTION RETURNS
If it should clearly appear that some requisites in form or data had been omitted
in the election returns, the board of canvassers shall call for all the members of
the board of election inspectors concerned by the most expeditious means, for
the same board to effect the correction: Provided, That in case of the omission
in the election returns of the name of any candidate and/or his corresponding
votes, the board of canvassers shall require the board of election inspectors
concerned to complete the necessary data in the election returns and affix
therein their initials: Provided, further, That if the votes omitted in the returns
cannot be ascertained by other means except by recounting the ballots, the
Commission, after satisfying itself that the identity and integrity of the ballot box
have not been violated, shall order the board of election inspectors to open the
ballot box, and, also after satisfying itself that the integrity of the ballots therein
has been duly preserved, order the board of election inspectors to count the
votes for the candidate whose votes have been omitted with notice thereof to all
candidates for the position involved and thereafter complete the returns.

The right of a candidate to avail of this provision shall not be lost or affected by
the fact that an election protest is subsequently filed by any of the candidates.
(Sec. 234, Omnibus Election Code)
WHEN ELECTION RETURNS APPEAR
TO BE TAMPERED WITH OR FALSIFIED
If the election returns submitted to the board of canvassers appear to be
tampered with, altered or falsified after they have left the hands of the board of
election inspectors, or otherwise not authentic, or were prepared by the board of
election inspectors under duress, force, intimidation, or prepared by persons
other than the member of the board of election inspectors, the board of
canvassers shall use the other copies of said election returns and, if necessary,
the copy inside the ballot box which upon previous authority given by the
Commission may be retrieved in accordance with Section 220 hereof. If the
other copies of the returns are likewise tampered with, altered, falsified, not
authentic, prepared under duress, force, intimidation, or prepared by persons
other than the members of the board of election inspectors, the board of
canvassers or any candidate affected shall bring the matter to the attention of
the Commission. The Commission shall then, after giving notice to all candidates
concerned and after satisfying itself that nothing in the ballot box indicate that its
identity and integrity have been violated, order the opening of the ballot box and,
likewise after satisfying itself that the integrity of the ballots therein has been
duly preserved shall order the board of election inspectors to recount the votes
of the candidates affected and prepare a new return which shall then be used by
the board of canvassers as basis of the canvass. (Sec. 235, Omnibus Election
Code)
DISCREPANCIES IN ELECTION
RETURNS
In case it appears to the board of canvassers that there
exists discrepancies in the other authentic copies of the
election returns from a polling place or discrepancies in
the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the
same return, and in either case the difference affects
the results of the election, the Commission, upon
motion of the board of canvassers or any candidate
affected and after due notice to all candidates
concerned, shall proceed summarily to determine
whether the integrity of the ballot box had been
preserved, and once satisfied thereof shall order the
opening of the ballot box to recount the votes cast in the
polling place solely for the purpose of determining the
true result of the count of votes of the candidates
concerned. (Sec. 236, Omnibus Election Code)
CANVASS OF REMEAINING OR
UNQUESTIONED RETURNS TO CONTINUE

In cases under Sections 233, 234, 235 and


236 hereof, the board of canvassers shall
continue the canvass of the remaining or
unquestioned election returns. If, after the
canvass of all the said returns, it should be
determined that the returns which have been
set aside will affect the result of the election,
no proclamation shall be made except upon
orders of the Commission after due notice
and hearing. Any proclamation made in
violation hereof shall be null and void. (Sec.
238, Omnibus Election Code)
CONTROL AND SUPERVISION OF THE
COMMISSION OVER THE BOARD
COMELEC has direct control and supervision over the
board of canvassers. Any member of the Board may, at
any time, be relieved for cause and substituted motu
proprio by the COMELEC. (Sec. 227, B.P. 881)

COMELEC has the power to investigate and act on the


propriety or legality of the canvass of election returns
made by the board of canvassers

The function of a canvassing board in the canvass of


returns is purely ministerial in nature. Equally ministerial
is the function of the Comelec on the exercise of its
supervisory power over said board, pursuant to the
Constitution and laws.
PRINCIPLES GOVERNING
CANVASS PROCEEDINGS
Controversies arising from the canvass must be
resolved speedily, otherwise, the will of the electorate
would be frustrated. (Baltazar v. Commission of
Elections, G.R. No. 14015, January 29, 2001)

Canvass proceedings are administrative and summary


in nature, and a strong prima facie case backed up by a
specific offer of evidence and indication of its nature
and importance has to be made out to warrant the
reception of evidence aliunde and the presentation of
witnesses and the delays necessarily entailed thereby.
Otherwise, the paralization of canvassing and
proclamation leading to vacuum in an important office
could easily be brought about. (Ilarde v. Commission on
Elections, 31 SCRA 72, January 23, 1970)
PRINCIPLES GOVERNING
CANVASS PROCEEDINGS
It is settled jurisprudence that the COMELEC can
suspend the canvass of votes pending its inquiry
whether there exists a discrepancy between the
various copies of election returns from the
disputed voting centers. Once the election
returns were found to be falsified or tampered
with, the COMELEC can annul the illegal
canvass and order the Board of Canvassers to
reconvene and proclaim the winner on the basis
of genuine returns or, if it should refuse, replace
the members of the board or proclaim the
winners itself. (Agpalo, Ruben E., Comments on
the Omnibus Election Code, pp. 78-79)
PRINCIPLES GOVERNING
CANVASS PROCEEDINGS
The board of canvassers is a ministerial body enjoined by law to
canvass all votes on election returns submitted to it in due form and
its power are limited generally to the mechanical or mathematical
function of ascertaining and declaring the apparent result of the
election by adding or compiling the votes cast for each candidate
as shown on the face of the returns before them, and then
declaring or certifying the result so ascertained. (Abes v. Comelec,
21 SCRA 1252, December 15, 1967)

It is the ministerial duty of a municipal canvassing body to count


and make a canvass “of all the votes” cast. An incomplete canvass
of votes is illegal and cannot be the basis of a subsequent
proclamation. Why must all the votes be counted when there is a
need to finish the canvass on time so that proclamation can be
made before the beginning of the term of office? Because to
disregard returns is in effect to disfranchise the voters. (Mutuc v.
Comelec, 22 SCRA 662, 1968)
PRINCIPLES GOVERNING
CANVASS PROCEEDINGS
It is the duty of the board of canvassers to suspend the
canvass in case of patent irregularity in the election
returns. In the present case, there were patent erasures
and superimpositions, in words and figures on the face
of the election returns submitted to the board of
canvassers. It was therefore imperative for the board to
stop the canvass so as to allow time for verification of
authentic copies and recourse to the courts. A canvass
or proclamation made notwithstanding such patent
defects, without awaiting proper remedies, is null and
void. (Javier v. Commission on Elections, L-22248,
January 30, 1965)
PRINCIPLES GOVERNING
CANVASS PROCEEDINGS
It is the obligation of the Board of Canvassers to make a written
ruling on the formal objections raised by any party. The refusal of
the Board of Canvassers to make such ruling should not bar the
parties from elevating it to the COMELEC. The accepted rule is that
as long as the election returns, on their face, appear to be authentic
and genuine, the BOC cannot look beyond them to verify the
allegations of irregularities. The duty of the BOC is only ministerial
and cannot exercise judicial powers of deciding and election
contest. (Abella v. Larrazabal, G.R. No. 87721-30, December 21,
1989)

The Board of Canvassers has an obligation to declare the elected


candidates after canvassing. The duty of the board to declare the
winners is ministerial after its mechanical or mathematical act of
counting the votes. The proclamation made by the board is one of
the other duties of the board such as to reconvene and complete
the canvass if not yet completed. (Casimiro v. Comelec, G.R. No.
84462-63, March 29, 1989)
QUESTION
On May 18, 2016, the Provincial Board of Canvassers for Cebu
Province composed of A as chairman, B as vice chairman, and C as
member, proclaimed the winners for Governor, Vice-Governor, and
Provincial Board Members in the May 10 election. The gubernatorial
candidate proclaimed was Hilario Osmeña with votes of 49, 999 where
his rival, Gwen Rama, garnered 59, 999 or 1,000 votes more than
Osmeña. Rama filed a written protest with the BOC. He also filed with
RTC a complaint against A, B and C for conspiring with, confederating
together and mutually helping one another, did, then and there, willfully
and unlawfully fail to proclaim him and instead proclaimed Osmeña. Are
the members of PBOC liable?
ANSWER
Yes. The members of Provincial Board of Canvassers are liable.

The law provides that the board of canvassers shall prepare a


certificate of canvass duly signed and affixed with the imprint of the thumb
of the right hand of each member, supported by a statement of the votes
received by each candidate in each polling place and, on the basis thereof,
shall proclaim as elected the candidates who obtained the highest number
of votes cast in the province, city, municipality or barangay. Failure to
comply with this requirement shall constitute an election offense.

In the case at bar, the members of the Provincial Board of


Canvassers are guilty of violating Section 231 of the Omnibus Election
Code for the preparation of an incorrect certificate of canvass and the
erroneous proclamation of a winning candidate. The explanation that the
provision merely punishes the preparation of a certificate of canvass and
failing to make the corresponding proclamation on the basis thereof would
be tantamount to tolerating and licensing BOCs to make an erroneous
proclamation.
THANK YOU
Report by:
Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento

Photos courtesy of:


Cebu Provincial Government
Philippine Star
The FREEMAN