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Macalintal: Nothing irregular with undervotes in VP fight

/ 04:18 PM May 26, 2016
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The camp of vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo on Wednesday said undervotes in the vice presidential race were not an indication of electoral fraud or any irregularity.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal, counsel representing Robredo in the Congress canvassing, said undervotes happen in every election as not all voters opt to vote for all elective posts on the ballot.

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“It should not alarm the people because there are millions of people who did not vote for president. Undervote is not an indication of any irregularity,” Macalintal said during the first day of canvassing at the House of Representatives.

“Huwag po kayong matakot sa sinasabi ng camp ni Marcos dahil talagang nangyayari ‘yan sa halalan (Do not be alarmed by the claims of Marcos’ camp because things like that really happen during the elections),” he added.

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Macalintal was reacting to the manifestation of George Garcia, a lawyer representing Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., that there were over 600,000 undervotes for the vice presidency at the close of the first day of canvassing.

Macalintal reiterated that the public should not be worried about undervotes, noting that the Supreme Court ruled on several occasions that such were “not an indication of fraud or errors.”

“I made a clarification na huwag mag-aalala ang taumbayan sa undervotes sapagkat hindi tanda ng anumang pandaraya at hindi significant sa pag-cacanvass. Sapagkat ang undervotes, ang ibig sabihin ay nag-abstain ang mga botante para sa nasabing posisyon at hindi sila bumoto diyan,” he said in an ambush interview.

(I made a clarification urging the public not to worry about undervotes because these are not a sign of fraud and they are not significant in the canvassing of votes. Undervotes only mean that that the voters abstained in the said position.)

“Kahit na hindi automated election, kahit local election o manual, iyan ay nangyayari. Kung titingnan natin ang mga records ng ating halalang nangyari, makikita ninyo na maraming maraming mga tao ang hindi bumoboto sa mga ibang kandidato o sa mga posisyon. They just remain neutral or abstain voting for a particular position,” Macalintal added.

(Even if the elections are not automated, even in local and manual elections, it happens. If we look at the records of previous elections, we will see that many people do not vote for certain positions. They just remain neutral or abstain from voting for a particular position.)

Marcos’ camp, through lawyer Didagen Dilangalen, raised the issue of undervotes anew on the second day of canvassing, but Macalintal emphasized his point that undervoting happens in all positions and not just for the vice presidency.

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Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the manifestations of both camps were duly recorded, adding that the panel would welcome a memo from any party which would summarize undervotes for all positions.

With 45 certificates of canvass opened, Robredo is leading the vice presidential race after the first day of canvassing by 295,492 votes over Marcos. IDL/rga

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TAGS: abstain, Bongbong Marcos, canvassing, Elections 2016, fraud, irregularity, Leni Robredo, Politics, Romulo Macalintan, undervotes
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