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By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on May 14, 2007 67 Comments 6 min read
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Running updates on today’s elections are posted minute-by-minute in Eleksyon 2007 Running ACcount.

For the next few days, at least, the world will continue peeking at goings-on here. At least from time to time. Reports by the Associated Press, and from Reuters, and by online publications like the Asia Sentinel not try to place the elections in context, but serve, for many publications and news outfits, as the only Philippine-related news they’ll either get or publish.

Sylvia Mayuga puts it best: this day is a day that calls for Hawk Eyes at the Polls. Most observers will be focusing on local color, the surface signs from which one gleans a deeper understanding of our democratic behavior. This is a historic election, as today’s Inquirer editorial says:

It is crucial that we understand why, exactly a hundred years after the first nationwide vote in our history, less than four decades after the untold violence of the 1969 elections, 20 years after the divisive snap election of 1986, today’s vote seems headed for a new low.

More opportunities exist to report acts of fraud; the country’s two major networks have taken the lead in encouraging “citizen journalists” to record any suspicious activity, for possible airing on TV or uploading to their websites. At the same time, election manipulators who operated during the 2004 vote remain active (some of them, in fact, promoted to or running for higher government office). As Newsbreak magazine has reported, some of them have even learned their lessons from the Garci scandal.

The political opposition’s failure to organize, and to prepare properly for this electoral contest, has also made many of its candidates vulnerable to massive fraud. The Arroyo administration’s unwillingness, or its incapacity, to form unity tickets in all areas has given Lakas and Kampi candidates the green light to use their administration affiliation and their cash-rich war chests against each other.

The key factor, however, is attitudinal: The main reason the surveys say half of the country’s voters believe today’s elections will be dirty and dishonest lies in this administration’s increasingly pernicious culture of impunity. At its highest levels (think only of bribe-dangler Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, or of politically partisan AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon), this administration practices the most cynical of election policies: Legality is defined by what it can get away with.

But the real story starts tonight, when the counting begins and the true implications of various strategies can begin to be weighed. For example, An OFW in Hong Kong sees mischief aimed at Alan Peter Cayetano. Only when the exit polls get revealed, and the quick counts crank up, can people begin to guess if his candidacy’s survived all challenges, or won’t.

Whether its Sunday’s Inquirer editorial, or Amando Doronila, the expectation is that today’s going to prove a landmark election in many ways. Not least, as the editorial puts it,

It is for this reason that, contrary to the legal principle of regularity which the Arroyo administration invokes ad nauseam to defend itself on controversial decisions, we believe that the opposite principle actually operates during elections. We assume-we must assume-that the principle of irregularity attends the conduct of the vote.

On voters’ registration, for example: A look at the interactive Google Map available on Inquirer.net shows that some of the traditionally vulnerable-to-fraud areas enjoyed a suspiciously high increase in new voters between 2004 and 2007, while traditionally oppositionist Metro Manila suffered an unusual decline. We must assume that this is already a form of cheating.

On military involvement in the polls: The disclosure that the Army has forced its soldiers to vote uniformly, and the revelation-caught on national TV-that soldiers deployed in Camarines Sur are campaigning for the President’s son, are equally serious. We must assume, even before an investigation is complete, that some military units will be used, again, in some form of cheating.

On the news that stuffed ballot boxes have been intercepted: We must assume, together with previous dagdag-bawas victims, like Aquilino Pimentel Jr., that the cheating has in fact begun.

On reports that a river of cash is now flowing into the country’s barangays: While groups like Lente have admirably focused their attention on wholesale fraud at the canvassing level, the reality remains that much of the cheating will still happen at the retail level. Votes are still bought piecemeal, in exchange for a few hundred pesos, perhaps a little bit more. In local races, elections are sometimes decided this way. The Palace has made much of the fact that the opposition failed to field candidates in most races, but let us not delude ourselves: contests between Lakas and Kampi candidates, both administration-affiliated, both flush with cash, will be fierce too. Thus, we must assume that election cheating will also be done the traditional way: by buying the vote, one voter at a time.

And because, as Doronila explains it,

Few Philippine elections have heightened fears of massive cheating since the 1949 presidential election when the “birds and the bees voted” in Lanao province, in Mindanao, as much as the 2007 elections have.

This is so because the administration has mobilized the total machinery of the ruling political coalition (Lakas-CMD party), and the military, police and the Department of Justice as well as the government’s patronage resources behind its all-out campaign to win control of the Senate and retain its majority in the House of Representatives.

But there’s some good news, as Marites Vitug writes: Take Heart, Some Things are Changing in this Election.

My column for today is Alarming Numbers. It makes reference to the data in the Eleksyon 2007 Election Map. First, start with the Comelec’s own figures, which suggest a large increase in registered voters in some provinces:

Blue Green
Then refer to the information in the Newsbreak (Cheats Adjust Style for Monday Polls) on provinces targeted for special operations.

The compare that, as I did, with the Comelec’s own figures on voter registration. See for example areas controlled by administration allies, such as Cagayan:

Cagayan-1

Or areas where the votes are traditionally delayed and where intervention by operators is ofen reported:
Lanao
Lanao

Basilan
Basilan
Then look at generally opposition-oriented areas, to see the drop in registered voters (and an increase in administration-controlled areas):

Makati
Makati
Qc-1
Quezon City
Manila-1
Manila
Pasig
Pasig
Malabon
Malabon-Navotas
Then return to t5he Newsbreak report on the strategy for cheating that operatives say will kick into place over the next few days. The report points to provinces where the administration’s set to massage the numbers by having a higher-than-expected voter turnout in places with an unusual increase in registered voters; and by maximizing the vote in places they can claim are their bailiwicks, anyway.

Ph Elections President 2004-1
So here’s a map of the 2004 election results. If Newsbreak is correct, the provinces that claimed to vote Arroyo in 2004 will be where unusually high pro-administration results will also be claimed (the map is from Wikipedia).

For now, we can only hope for the best.
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  1. It’s time for us to be vigilant, as I wrote in my piece earlier today, we have to make use of current technology and make ourselves an extended arm of media outlets..

    Call it citizen journalism or something else, but we have more Filipinos with video phones, and camera phones, I just hope we make use of it..

    Thanks for giving out the numbers, I’ll be doing the same on my blog…

  2. Thanks for the mention…

    Will there be more changes this election will bring about?

  3. From what I’ve heard on ABS CBN on how the votes on “Cayetano” are going to be dealt with; Alan Peter Cayetano is going to be cooked.

    I think it was bad for the Congressman that the ruling on the disqualification of Joselito Cayetano came out sometime last week and some already made claims that votes of “Cayetano” should be credited to Alan Peter.

    Maybe this from the Election code is pertinent:
    “Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. – The Commission and the courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this Act to the end that a FINAL DECISION shall be rendered NOT LATER THAN SEVEN DAYS before the election in which the disqualification is sought.

    Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office.”

    As for my vote: 6 GO, 1 independent, 2 Kapatiran, 3 TU

  4. I was taking pictures while in line to vote, only to be told by an over-zealous PPCRV volunteer that it wasn’t allowed. Later on, a senior PPCRV officer said this wasn’t the case but I don’t know how many had already been incorrectly asked to desist from taking pictures.

  5. Ben: an earlier blog-thread mentioned a practice where people took a picture of their ballots to prove to the vote-buyers that what they bought, they got.

  6. For a reminder on CBCP and politics, read again what the Pope recently said (in Brazil, though it might as well be the Philippines):
    Sun May 13, 4:09 PM ET
    APARECIDA, Brazil (Reuters) – Pope Benedict decried the growing gap between rich and poor in Latin America on Sunday but said priests must stay out of politics even as they fight for social justice.
    ..
    The Pope also told bishops from across Latin America and the Caribbean to do more to confront challenges threatening the Roman Catholic Church in the region, including the defection of millions of followers to Protestant churches.

    Earlier, about 150,000 faithful gathered outside the huge Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida in this holy shrine city to hear the Pope deliver a traditional mass.
    The turnout, however, was far less than the 500,000 people expected by Church officials — an indication of the difficult times it faces in the world’s largest Catholic nation.
    The Pope’s speech to bishops who meet in conference here for the next two weeks was eagerly awaited as a signpost for the Church in Latin America, home to nearly half of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics.
    “The peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean have the right to a full life, proper to the children of God, under conditions that are human, free from the threat of hunger and from every form of violence,” the Pope said.
    He said the gap between rich and poor was getting worse, causing a loss of dignity through drugs, alcohol “and deceptive illusions of happiness.”
    The Pope’s commitment to the poor was likely to be welcomed by priests working in Latin America’s notorious slums. Many have seen him as a conservative figure more concerned with enforcing a hard-line doctrine and remember him for leading a Vatican crackdown on the Liberation Theology movement of left-wing priests in the 1980s.

    He warned again on Sunday that pastoral work and politics do not mix. “Capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures … and this ideological promise has been proved false.”
    ..
    The Pope also offered a view of the Church’s history in Latin America that may prove to be controversial. He said indigenous peoples had welcomed the arrival of European priests as they had been “silently longing” for the Christian faith. Embracing it had purified them, he said.
    Many Indian rights groups believe the conquest brought them enslavement and genocide.

  7. Manolo, your boy Trillanes is holding on to the top 12! hehe. I didn’t expect this at all – even if we’re only counting 1% of the total number of votes.

    This GO trend will flip once the SQ-loving Visayas regions’ votes are counted.

  8. Here in Cavite City the PPCRV pulled out at around 5:00 P.M. after the local COMELEC issued a memo at 1:15 p.m. instructing the BEI not to count Romeo votes because there are other candidates who are namesakes of opposition vice mayoralty candidate Romeo G Ramos. When the PPCRV leaders went to COMELEC to clarify a belated note was sent to the BEIs telling them that they should coun the Romeo votes based on page 19 of the BEI Handbook. The principal of one of the schools called COMELEC central office to clarify the issue and the central office said Romeo should be counted in favor of Romeo Ramos. The fact is there were three other Ramos candidates whose nicknames are the same as that of the opposition candidate but these other candidates never campaigned and do not have even a single poster.

    The lawyers of the incumbent vice mayor even went around the schools to insist that the BEIs should not count the Romeo votes. The local COMELEC also told the PPCRV that the decision was sent out yesterday but in fact it wwas made only today and the reason the local COMELEC gives for the non count of the Romeo votes is because there are two other Ramoses running for the vice mayoralty seat, namely Dexter Ramos and Reynaldo Ramos both nicknamed Romeo. One is an additional candidate, while the other one is a substitute for another Ramos who backed out fromt he race. What is unacceptable is the memorandum being circulated only at around 2:00 P.M. today.

    Is this the kind of electoral process we want the young people to witness?

  9. tired as i am, i voted today. the two indies, ang kapatiran’s trio, and GO.

    at a time like this, hope is one of the few things we can hold on to.

  10. I was awed by the force shown by the roman catholic in guarding our votes!

    I was also surprised, at least in our town, the Lakas-CMD machinery was not as vaunted as before.

    Our new mayor(yehey!) [the incumbent is a straight face robber] (sad to say that robber is a GO candidate) was Lakas-CMD but the senatorial line-up he carried was 80% GO.

    I voted straight GO! (senators) + Kiram.

    Votes in our area was well guarded… sad to say cheating will be done in a higher level…

    I think we’ll see more NOTED ERs in the canvassing.. 🙁

  11. I think the Basilan voter count is normal since there were large migration from Tipo tipo and Tuburan because of the arm conflict and moved to other areas.

    I just browsed the numbers never summed it up to check if they still within the 2004 count (for the whole island).

  12. Of course we all know that this election (as is the last) is a total farce. We, the people, are almost completely powerless now. We are ignored, lied to, made to look like fools… and we can’t seem to do anything about it. Yes we can make token protests, but it really hasn’t amounted to anything, has it? How else to explain the present composition of the COMELEC, with Abalos still there as well as the SOBs from the 2004 elections? How else to explain the case of Cayetano? Sobrang gaguhan na. Wala naman tayong magawa. How to explain the existence of Raul Gonzalez as Justice Secretary? Norberto Gonzalez? The utter impunity of the military, even when all trail leads to them?

    How come we KNOW that there will be massive chating, and we seem to just accept it: “That’s the way things go, so…” The proposed counter-measure to cheating seems to be: “Make sure to vote, so that we’ll flood the ballot boxes with our legitimate votes and make it harder for the cheats to do their thing.” Sounds good, but ultimately stupid. Why can’t it be: Let us punish the cheats. Foil them. Bring them to justice. Seems only logical, isn’t it? The funny thing is, by and large, we already know who the cheats are. It’s practically out in the open. Yet they seem to be able to continue to operate with utter impunity. How come?

    Things are so farcical in this country right now, if you really think about it. It’s funny to the point of tears.

  13. It’s a system, so it doesn’t change with a flip of a coin.

    But it can evolve… as we all know evolution is a long process, we’ll get there, but not today.

    Just do your part with honesty and integrity.

  14. maybe it’s too early to tell but if the momentary trend holds, the opposition will dominate the magic 12 as predicted in the surveys. in that event, the prophets of doom and gloom (especially in this blog) may have to eat their crap about “cheating” by the administration. of course, the current count represents a minuscule portion of the total electorate and could still change legitimately. One could just imagine how these cynics would react.

  15. i.e., GO dominates the senate race for the magic 12 DESPITE the cheating by you know who consistently with the survey but yes too early to tell still … TU may have yet to pull its own magic trick haha

  16. Bencard,

    You don’t have to imagine how we realists will react.
    If GO dominates the senate race it means our warnings were able to prevent cheating despite the best efforts of your friends. If, on the other hand, TUTA dominates the senate race, we will say, “we told you so.”

  17. buencad, so its “heads you win, tails, i lose, right? that, no doubt, is a culural “thing”.

  18. Bencard,

    It’s because Gloria’s coins have no value around here.

  19. Bencard: The early numbers — strong GO — are from the National Capital Region — anti-administration. As Benj alluded to, “This GO trend will flip once the StatusQuo-loving Visayas regions’ votes are counted.”

  20. Side-topic : Constitutional change is also being planned for Japan (whose Constitution has not changed since 1947. The current Japanese constitution was drafted by General “I Shall Return” McArthur // U.S. World War 2 occupation officials.

    Japan is very careful and deliberate in its processes.
    Japanese legislation allows the parliament to work on drafts of amendments for three years, but bans parliamentary votes on the issue for that time period. Then, a two-thirds support in the legislature and a majority in a national referendum would be needed to change the charter.)

  21. Cebu has always voted for the incumbent. They are for the large part, autonomous from the rest of the country and wouldn’t want to be part of the mess that’s brewing in Manila. Cebu will probably deliver a 10-1-1/ 9-2-1 wallop against GO and they latter wouldn’t know what hit them. When that happens, they’ll starting whining about they were cheated [again].

  22. And by the way, the surveys never said that the GO will dominate the top 12. Is 6:4 already a domination? Pangilinan is still a wild card after all. No survey has predicted an 8-2-2 finish for GO.

  23. UPn & benj: thanks for the words of hope. i really worry for the future of our country if the GO bastards win, particularly cayetano, pimentel and trillianes. 3 sets of dynasties and 3 detainess (2 out on bail) are more than a nation can handle, no matter how masochistic the people are.

  24. My money is on a 5-5-2 or 6-5-1 configuration with Team Unity taking half the seats. Hehehe. But I still have a sinking feeling that Lolo Joker will lose this election.

  25. would it matter much who wins the senate seat? would it makes any difference at all? or just another person getting the pork barrel instead of the other? whatever the split, we’ll all end up with a Banana Split is my guess.

  26. bencard: The preliminary vote-count is NCR-centric phenomenon. It will be coincidence if it does, an NCR-centric phenomenon does not necessarily reflect the combined desire of the Philippine nation. Another reminder of the supremacy of national elections to EDSA-this-or-that or to Oakwood-this-or-that.

  27. even on TV yesterday, it was emphasized that early results were based on figures from NCR – the provinces vote very differently so it’s too early to tell. heck, the results of this election will probably still be unresolved years from now…as has happened in the past!

  28. Erap minions/TUTA may be winning in NCR but I doubt it in cebu, Iloilo, leyte, samar. They might get a upperhand in bicol because escudero, trillanes, gringo unfortunately hails from that region.

    What a GGRRRRRRRRReat news to start our day! Voters mind are dipping below sea level.

  29. apparently initial results from iloilo have a lot of the GO bets in the lead.

    i’m just irked that the GO people i did vote for aren’t anywhere in the running. ah well.

    as for the systemic corruption being brought up in some of the responses, how can you possibly bring the corrupt to justice when some of those responsible for the conduct of justice are not beyond reproach themselves?

    one other note, my neighbour, who has been voting a lot longer than i have (and is very much alive) got his name deleted from our precinct’s list.

    sheesh.

  30. and, realist, you can gloat to your heart’s content, but i’m here in the good U.S. of A, where i don’t have to deal with the clowns you voted for, and misguided people like you who will have the blood of the nation in your hands. Enjoy your “victory” and the darkness ahead.

  31. “UPn & benj: thanks for the words of hope. i really worry for the future of our country if the GO bastards win, particularly cayetano, pimentel and trillianes.”

    bencard, as long as they’re the people’s bastards, i have no problem with that. just as long as the tuta are not winning because of garcification.

    whatever comes out of the election–provided it’s clean–it’s high time we respect the choice of the voters. respect the choice–meaning, hindi yung ibinoto nila, kundi yong sanctidad nang proceso sa paghalal ng ibinoto nila.

    “and, realist, you can gloat to your heart’s content, but i’m here in the good U.S. of A, where i don’t have to deal with the clowns you voted for, and misguided people like you who will have the blood of the nation in your hands. Enjoy your “victory” and the darkness ahead.”

    tsk, tsk. i could not believe you’d utter such statement bencard. tsk, tsk. you sound like a loser, with a capital L on your forehead.

  32. Wow!!! So much commitment to one side of if you can call it political equation because some are safe in the U.S.A.?

    While candidates here literally risk their lives for whatever reason (self interest) at least they have the commitment to become a ‘shaheed’ (martyr) for whatever cause they believe in. Even criminals and priests have a self interest to live or die for. The priest running in Pampanga took to wearing a bullet proof vest. A lot of candidates have a bullet proof vest as part of their wardrobe.

    But for people to say that they are in a safe place anyway after supporting one side of the political equation that appears to be on the losing side shows a clear picture of their capacity to commit to a cause. May all of you be reborn again and again for all eternity.

  33. This brings up an interesting question: How many of you who defend the present administration are actually here? Let’s see a show of hands.

    (Pasalubong ha?)

  34. NCR where over a third of the economy is sourced from looks to be going opposition. It however has only over 15% of the total population of the country.

    If the economy is growing like gangbusters why is the chief economist running the country and her political group going to get thrashed in the Senate elections in the most important economic section of the entire country?

    GDP/GNP figures released by government are theoretical in nature. George Herbert Walker Bush lost the election because he forgot that.

  35. hvrds: the national capital area of any country is a natural center of anti-administration activities. The anti-Blair are in London; anti-Thaksin in Bangkok; antiPutin in Moscow; anti-GMA in metro-Manila; anti-Bush in metro-DC; anti-Mubarak in Cairo; and Baghdad is anti-anti-anti.

    An interesting item about GDP — bad management of denuding the forests and mining away resources shows well on GDP but poorly on the balance sheet.

  36. Bencard,

    Don’t give up hope yet. Never underestimate the capacity of your bets to do mischief. They have never disappointed my worst expectations.

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