Marcos camp questions 3.2M VP 'undervote'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

The camp of vice presidential aspirant, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has questioned the "undervote" of at least 3.2 million on the second day of canvassing at the House of Representatives.

Marcos' lawyer George Garcia raised doubts on canvassing results, saying the undervote figures are too big.

“It’s true that some voters opted not to vote for a certain position and that’s normal. But take note of the percentage, that’s 3.2 million voters who did not vote for Vice President,” said Garcia, claiming that the undervotes were from Visayas and Mindanao.

He said they got the figure by deducting the total number of votes for the position of Vice President from the total number of votes cast.

Garcia appears to have taken a page from the strategy used by the runningmate of his client's main rival in the vice Presidential Race.

In the 2010 elections, Mar Roxas raised the matter of null votes in the vice-presidential race he lost to Jejomar Binay during the canvassing and later on in the presidential electoral tribunal. In the 2016 elections, the tables were somehow turned as the same strategy is now being used to assail the results of the vice-presidential race where Marcos runs neck and neck with Roxas' runningmate, Leni Robredo.

READ: Presidential, VP proclamation eyed next week

Garcia however admitted their repeated manifestation about the null votes is part of a legal strategy.

"That is for legal strategy. 'Yun sa amin kinakailangan namin ipapalagay 'yun siyempre for historical purpose, babasahin ng journal ng mga future Filipinos. Makikita na hindi naman namin pinabayaan yung boto nila na bigla na lang nawala at the same time for whatever legal remedy we would like to seek later," said Garcia.

Garcia also cited instances of zero votes for Marcos.

"Magtataka kayo sa northern Luzon na sabihin na natin lalong lalo na yung Ilocano votes yung mga Ilocano ay hindi nakaboto or hindi bumoto for vice president," Garcia said.

He also reiterated that it would have been impossible that not even one of the many Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members in Basilan have voted for the INC-endorsed Marcos.

"In Basilan there were several places especially in Lamitan City, the votes obtained by Senator Marcos was zero. Papaano magiging zero yun eh may Iglesia ni Cristo members dun na almost 300?" said Garcia.

Robredo's lawyer, Romulo Macalintal however said undervotes are votes of abstention and that like null votes, cannot be used in an electoral protest.

"Sa kaso ng undervotes ay walang himala, sapagkat walang balotang nawawala," Macalintal said.

"Marami talaga ang nag-aabstain ang hindi bumoboto sa isang posisyon kaya yan ay hindi bawal, hindi iregularidad, hindi iyan tanda ng anumang pagkakamali at iyan ay bahagi ng ating halalan," he added, noting that this also happens in elections in other countries.

Marcos has topped the race on Thursday as the joint canvassing committee of Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers for President and Vice-President, finished about 2/3 of their work on day 2.

Rodrigo Duterte is the breakaway leader in the presidential race, while Marcos led by as high as 2.4 million votes before his lead was whittled down to just around 80,000 at the end of the canvassing day.

READ: Duterte, Marcos top Day 2