By Raymund Antonio
The lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo dismissed on Tuesday the issue of “undervotes” raised by former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., saying that he “does not fully comprehend the nature of his election protest.”
“For the position of Vice President, ‘undervotes’ simply mean that no vote was cast. The right to vote includes the right not to vote,” Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal said.
The veteran election lawyer was reacting to Marcos’ statement that he was definitely sure that he could have won the vice presidency “if only his votes were correctly counted.”
Marcos asserted that accusations of electoral fraud could be proven through a ballot recount, which he claimed could only take two months and that the result of his protest might be known within the year.
Macalintal explained that undervotes happen in every election as not all voters opt to vote for all elective posts.
“Undervotes were not limited to the VP position. It happened in all positions — from President, VP, Senators, Representatives, Party List, to all local elective positions,” Robredo’s lawyer said.
“And undervotes happened in all elections so much so that in the first presidential election in our country in 1935, undervotes of 1.2 percent were recorded when the total number of voters then was only close to a million,” he added.
Macalintal cited an election result in the United States where undervotes of 1.2 million were recorded in 2012.
Macalintal rejected as “fake assertions” of Marcos that he was cheated in last year’s vice presidential race.
“We are compelled to make this clarification so that the people would not be misled. We stand by the credibility of the election of VP Robredo,” he said.
“Her victory has already been confirmed by the PET’s ruling that the automated election system used to count and canvass the votes was credible and the election documents it generated were all genuine and authentic,” Macalintal noted.