Binay says Sen. Roxas camp misleading the public over issue of null votes

June 2, 2010 8:26 pm 

MANILA, June 2 — The camp of leading vice presidential candidate Jejomar C. Binay on Wednesday called on the Liberal Party (LP) to refrain from exploiting the issue of nullified votes of certain provinces in the ongoing national canvass in Congress.

In a statement, former party list representative and lawyer JV Bautista said the counsel of Mar Roxas was being selective in manifesting areas with a high number of nullified votes to create the impression that Roxas has been put at a disadvantage, and warned the public not to be misled.

These so-called null votes were also recorded in the provinces won by Binay, he added.

“There is no ‘pattern’ to the high turnout of voided votes, as being feigned by the counsel of Mar Roxas, because this has, in fact, been found in both the provinces won by Roxas and the provinces won by Jojo Binay,” Bautista said.

The former PMP senatorial bet was reacting to statements from the LP camp expressing alarm over the high number of voided votes in certain provinces, particularly perceived Roxas bailiwicks.

“It is purely speculative to assume in whose favor the untallied null votes will go. It can be argued that it is easier to shave votes from Jojo Binay in the perceived bailiwicks of Roxas,” Bautista said.

On Wednesday, Aquilino Pimentel III, Binay’s election lawyer, cited Compostela Valley where Binay had a landslide win, but the number of nullified votes it registered reached 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for the vice presidential position.

Bautista also said that since it is the first time for the country to have an automated election, there is naturally a learning curve that has resulted in a high number of null votes, especially in the provinces.

He said, however, that since the voided votes were largely a result of over-voting, as the LP lawyers themselves admitted, their nullification was valid and thus should be a non-issue in the final outcome of the canvassing for the vice presidential post.

“The canvass, as stated in the Constitution, refers to the facts as stated in the duly authenticated and duly executed COCs,” Bautista said. (PNA) LOR/CLTC

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