The Counsel for Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday night pointed out the unusually high number of undervotes in the Vice Presidential race seen in the Certificates of Canvass opened on the first day of the official canvass.
At the closing of the first day of canvass, Marcos’ counsel George Garcia noted that from the COCs that the joint canvassing committee of the National Board of Canvassers has opened so far, a huge difference in the votes cast for the position of President and Vice President is evident.
“We have accounted undervotes your honor, that’s totaling the votes cast for the Vice President vis-à-vis the votes cast by the voters, it would appear that such number was discovered from the COC’s your Honor that totals 623, 174,” said Garcia.
Garcia said he raised the issue so it can be entered into the records of the canvass.
When the official canvass was suspended as of 9:26 Thursday night, a total of 48 COC’s have been opened but only 45 were officially included into the canvass.
Consideration of three COCs, specifically from the provinces of Laguna, Ilocos Sur, and Davao del Norte were suspended after discrepancies were found, including missing hash codes and differences in the electronically-transmitted COCs.
The joint canvassing committee has ordered the Provincial Board of Canvassers in the three provinces to appear before them to explain why there were such discrepancies.
For instance, in the very first COC opened, that of Davao Del Norte, consisted of 5 electronically-transmitted COCs and one physically transmitted COC. However, the first electronically-transmitted COC did not conform with the remaining four.
Earlier, the camp of Marcos raised concern over the undervotes for the Vice Presidential race which they discovered in their own quick count, saying that in the partial results they already found some 3.3 million undervotes for the position.
The camp of Rep. Leni Robredo downplayed the issue, saying undervotes for Vice President is normal in Philippine elections.
However, Marcos lawyers earlier pointed out that in such a hotly-contested race such a high number of undervote is unusual and a cause for concern.
But poll watchdogs and Information Technology experts had earlier said undervotes don’t usually exceed one percent of the total votes cast or for the 2016 elections, not more than 400,000 undervotes at 81 percent voter turnout.
Marcos had also requested the Commission of Elections to allow a system audit of its central and transparency servers done by his own IT experts, under the supervision of the poll body, and with the participation of other interested parties.
The Senator sought the audit following reports a Smartmatic technician introduced a new script into the transparency server without proper authorization. The Comelec confirmed the script change. Marcos pointed out that shortly after this was done his lead over his closest rival started to decrease and he was eventually overtaken.
He insisted that only a system audit would show if the script change only resulted in a "cosmetic change” as the Comelec claimed, or affected the results of the election. Unless this is done, Marcos said a cloud of doubt would hang on the results of the elections.
In addition to these irregularities, Marcos said they have evidence of other forms of poll cheating such as vote-buying and the use of intimidation to prevent voters from casting their votes.