Canvassing panel takes note of issue of unusually high undervote for VP raised by Marcos camp

26 May 2016

The Joint Canvassing Committee has taken notice of the issue raised by the camp of Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., about the high number of undervotes for the position of Vice President in the May 2016 elections.

This developed after the lawyer of Rep. Leni Robredo, Atty. Romeo Macalintal, repeated today the manifestation he made Wednesday night that the high number of undervotes—or no vote for the Vice Presidential position—is natural, citing a Supreme Court decision to back his contention.

However, Marcos counsel Atty. Didagen Dilangalen noted that the jurisprudence Macalintal cited does not involve automated elections so “the argument is out of place.”

Still, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III who Chairs the Senate panel in the Joint Canvassing Committee said he wants to know how many undervotes there were in the May 2016 elections.

“At the end of the canvassing I would welcome a memo from any party which will summarize and indicate the total undervoting nationwide for the different positions, province-wide and city-wide. That would be very, very interesting to analyze,” Pimentel said.

While it is not yet clear how this would impact on the conduct of the official canvass, the ruling highlighted the concern Marcos raised earlier on the unusually high number of undervotes in the May 2016 election, particularly for the position of Vice President.

Before the official canvas began, Marcos said their own internal quick count has found over 3.3 million undervotes.

Atty. George Garcia, Head of the legal panel of Marcos, manifested on the first day of canvass that based on the 45 certificates of canvass consisting of over 10 million votes, they have found some 623, 174 undervotes.

Marcos said that in such a hotly-contested election the high number of undervotes is unusual and a cause for concern.

As the canvassing resumed today the lawyers of Marcos began citing the number of undervotes, or unaccounted votes, for every COCs canvassed such as those in Agusan Del Norte 40,410, Catanduanes 15,583 and Quirino 5,502 as of 3:40 p.m.