Bam is in or out? Why official, unofficial counts are different

May 17, 2019 - 1:32 PM
Former Senator Bam Aquino speaking to reporters in this photo uploaded on his Facebook page at May 11, 2019. (Facebook/BenignoBamAquino)

Reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino appears to be included in the top 12 of the Comelec’s official tally even though he has never figured in the so-called “Magic 12” of the unofficial count.

As of May 17, 2019, the senator from the opposition slate Otso Diretso has garnered 11,001,047 votes from the certificates of canvass coming from cities, municipalities and provinces.

Aquino is the lone candidate from the opposition slate Otso Diretso to break into the top 12.

However, Aquino failed to enter the partial unofficial tally that is being released to media organizations through a transparency server.

The transparency server directly gathers results from vote counting machines in the precinct level.

The partial unofficial count as of May 17, 8:29 a.m. indicates that Aquino is in the 14th spot with 14,054,642 votes.

Unofficial versus official results 

Election results are released through the transparency server—which has suffered a seven-hour glitch—and the server from the board of canvassers.

Tallies from the transparency server originate from vote counting machines. It is released to poll watchdogs and various media organizations for reportage and live monitoring.

Meanwhile, tallies from the server of the board of canvassers originate from the certificates of canvass being processed by the Comelec.

These certificates of canvass are from polling precincts across the country and various Philippine posts abroad.

The tallies from these certificate of canvass will determine whether a senator has officially entered the “Magic 12” roster or not.

“‘Yung basis doon sa partial and unofficial (tally of votes) is the transparency (server). Ang official natin is ‘yung canvassing natin ngayon. Doon tayo magca-canvass, tingnan ninyo nang mabuti because that will be the official result,” Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said in a press conference before.

“I-ma-match natin ‘yun sa bawat (data sa) provincial, bawat city, ladderized ‘yan and that will be the official thing. Gagawin pa lang natin ‘yan,” he added.

“Ang source ng unofficial (tally) is the transparency (server), ang source ng official is ‘yung ladderized canvassing,” Abas explained.

There are a total of 167 certificates of canvass from provinces, municipalities and cities. As of May 17, 129 of these have been canvassed by polling body which represents 77.25%.

The certificates of canvass need to pass three levels of canvassers—the municipal board, the provincial board and then to the national board or the Comelec itself.

“So medyo mas matagal nang onti ‘to kasi official,” former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. explained in a 2013 interview.