‘Under votes not indication of fraud’

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The election lawyer of vice president-elect Leni Robredo dismissed yesterday the claim of her closest rival, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., that he was “robbed” of three million votes in the May 9 elections.

 Romulo Macalintal said Marcos, the son and namesake of the late strongman, was referring to the “under votes,” which in this case is roughly the difference between the votes cast for president and for vice president.

 “The under votes or null votes are just abstentions. They are not an indication of fraud,” Macalintal said in a telephone interview. “If that (under votes) will be the basis of his (electoral) protest, then he must seriously reconsider filing (a protest).”

 He said it is common for voters not to vote for certain positions – from president down to the lowest elective post.

 The issue of under voting, he added, was raised during the congressional canvassing of votes for president and vice president in the 2010 elections and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) then stated that it was not indicative of fraud.

Macalintal said the under voting for party-list groups was around 12 million.

 Marcos lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes. Marcos had been alleging fraud shortly after the elections when the unofficial tally showed that Robredo was leading the count.       


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