2nd day of canvass: Bongbong leads Leni
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. led Camarines Rep. Leni Robredo by fewer than 100,000 votes in the partial, official count in the vice presidential race as of 9:55 p.m. on the second day of canvassing.
At the end of the canvassing last night, Marcos had a lead of 83,480 over Robredo in the partial, official tally of the joint canvassing committee.
Marcos had 13,214,810 votes while Robredo had 13,131,330 votes.
At one point during the canvassing, Marcos’ lead jumped to more than 2 million votes, especially after the canvassing of many of the certificates of canvass (COCs) from provinces in northern Luzon, including Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, which are known bailiwicks of his family.
But Robredo was able to whittle down Marcos’ lead after the COC from Camarines Sur, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Samar, and Agusan del Sur were counted.
The canvassing committee has counted 113 COCs so far— 45 on Wednesday, and 68 on Thursday.
Four COCs—Iloilo, Antique, Canada, and Kuwait— were suspended.
There are a total of 165 COCs.
The camp of Marcos repeatedly raised the matter of undervoting in the vice presidential election on the second day of the canvassing for the presidential and vice presidential races by the national board of canvassers.
But the camp of Robredo downplayed the undervoting, stating there was nothing unusual about voters abstaining from voting for a Vice President.
The 94 canvassed COCs included the three from Laguna, Ilocos Sur and Davao del Norte, the canvassing of which was suspended on Wednesday due to questions about their transmission.
The chairs of the board of canvassers in these three provinces explained that they corrected discrepancies after being granted authority by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Suspension of canvassing
The canvassing of two COCs in Antique and Kuwait were suspended by the joint committee of the NBOC.
It suspended the canvass of the COC from Antique due to the discrepancy in the manual and electronically transmitted COCs and pending the appearance within 24 hours of the provincial board of canvassers there before the joint committee for their explanation.
As for the COC of Kuwait, it was mailed to Manila but was awaiting customs clearance.
At Thursday’s canvassing, Marcos lawyers George Garcia and Didagen Dilangalen cited figures of undervoting in most of the COCs that were opened.
For instance, they reported undervoting or “unaccounted votes” in the province of Compostella Valley of 38,536 votes or 10.80 percent of the total votes.
Also with unaccounted votes were the provinces or Occidental Mindoro, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental, Catanduanes and Agusan del Norte.
After Dilangalen raised the undervoting figures in Compostela, Robredo’s lawyer stood up to say that the matter of undervoting “has no legal basis,” noting that this was not even contained in the COCs.
“Some voters abstained from voting for a position. That happens to all positions,” Romulo Macalintal told the joint committee.
“Undervoting is not a manifestation of any fraud, error or irregularity,” he also said, citing that this was the decision in the Comelec case of Mathay versus Castelo.
But Dilangalen stood up again, noting that the case mentioned by Macalintal “does not involved automated elections but manual elections.”
Out to create doubt
Macalintal told the Inquirer later the Marcos camp was apparently out “to create doubt regarding the elections” with its continued raising of the undervoting issue.
“It’s not unusual,” he said. In undervotes, the “total voters who actually voted minus total votes actually received by candidates equals to undervotes,” said Robredo’s lawyer.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III, a member of the Senate panel, said Marcos’ lawyers “just want to make it known that its quite improbable that a certain number of people did not vote for a Vice President.”
The Senate panel chair, Sen. Koko Pimentel, made a personal manifestation during the exchange between Dilangalen and Macalintal, saying he would welcome any memorandum from any of the political parties of the total number of undervotes recorded.
On Monday, Marcos raised the matter of undervotes in the May 9 polls, saying there were 3 million undervotes.
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