AT the recent Senate committee hearing looking into the “Hello, Garci” wiretapped conversations, poll commissioner Resurreccion Borra admitted that cheating indeed took place during the 2004 elections. Borra — aided by Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. — would however later downplay his statements by saying that the electoral fraud was not “massive” and confined only to Lanao del Sur, and that it was “not done by one party or one candidate alone.”

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election laywer Romulo Macalintal was also quick to dismiss the latest Senate hearing’s testimonies as nothing but “pure lies,” claiming that Arroyo won “fair and square” in the 2004 presidential race with a lead of over a million votes. That lead, he said, is “now unassailable, unalterable. It cannot be questioned anymore.”

Still, findings that election documents were tampered, with votes padded and shaved, are only part of the tell-tale signs that the 2004 elections was a tainted one. In this November-December i Report feature, Yvonne T. Chua and Avigail Olarte did their math and discovered that the numbers don’t always add up, and that’s one more reason why last year’s elections are so controversial.

10 Reasons to Doubt the 2004 Election Results

THE DEVIL is in the numbers.

In the run-up to the 2004 elections, surveys predicted a neck-and-neck race between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and leading opposition candidate Fernando Poe Jr. When the official canvassing closed, Arroyo got 40 percent of the votes, beating Poe by 3.5 percentage points.

The legitimacy of Arroyo’s election has since come under question following the disclosure of the wiretapped conversations between her and former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano suggesting her knowledge and possible involvement in electoral fraud, including vote padding, and its cover-up. But there are other indicators that all was not well in last year’s elections. Election officials, experts, and observers point to numerous statistical improbabilities. Here is a list of at least 10 that indicate some people were naughty and not at all nice during the 2004 polls:

1. Unusual jump in number of registered voters: The country’s population increases by roughly 2.3 percent each year. This means about five percent between 2002 and 2004. Yet, the Commission on Elections listed 43.5 million registered voters in the 2004 elections, or a 15-percent jump over the 2002 figure. The Comelec has justified the unusual trend, saying there appeared to be a “heightened awareness/enthusiasm of voters to exercise suffrage.”

ELECTION YEAR

REGISTERED VOTERS
1998
2001
2002
2004
34,117,056
36,350,561
37,724,463
43,536,028
INCREASE (%)
1998-2001
2001-2002
2002-2004
6.5
3.8
15.4

2. Number of registered voters exceeds Comelec projections: In the provinces of Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo, and Bohol, which delivered the largest chunks of the president’s winning margin over Poe, the number of registered voters in the end far exceeded the number of voters that Comelec expected to register.

PROVINCE
PROJECTED REGISTERED VOTERS
REGISTERED VOTERS*
INCREASE (%)
Pampanga
Cebu
Iloilo
Bohol
944,092
1,299,612
787,580
556,579
1,080,751
1,780,708
923,262
619,139
14
37
17
11

*Per provincial certificate of canvass

3. Votes cast for all presidential candidates exceed actual voters.

PROVINCE
REG’D VOTERS
ACTUAL VOTERS
VOTES
FOR PRESIDENT
OFFICIAL VOTER TURNOUT
VOTER TURNOUT (President)
DIFFERENCE (% Points)
Basilan
117,190
106,334
136,297
91%
116%
26
Nueva Vizcaya
154,958
117,999
150,371
76%
97%
21
Samar
284,485
228,075
278,045
80%
98%
18
Aurora
77,669
61,475
73,194
79%
94%
15
Isabela
607,209
465,181
515,974
77%
85%
8
Albay
541,865
458,207
479,714
85%
89%
4
Sultan Kudarat
313,701
226,522
236,768
72%
75%
3
North Cotabato
513,291
387,666
404,268
76%
79%
3
Lanao del Norte
432,698
307,790
314,577
71%
73%
2

4. Number of actual voters exceeds number of registered voters

MUNICIPALITY
REGISTERED VOTERS
ACTUAL VOTERS
Sumisip, Basilan
Pangutaran, Sulu
22,669
11,080
23,745
11,468

5. Too popular outside bailiwick: For every Kapampangan who voted for Poe, 7.5 voted for Arroyo. For every Cebuano who voted for Poe, 7.8 voted for Arroyo. Historically, says Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros, “(not) one of the past presidents has shown himself to be as popular, if not more so, in a province other than his own.” He cited as examples the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos who was strongest in the Ilocos and Arroyo’s own father, the late Diosdado Macapagal, who showed himself strongest in Pampanga.

PROVINCE
ARROYO
POE
Pampanga
Cebu
642,712
965,630
84,720
123,099

6. Zero vote for highly popular candidate: A 1966 Supreme Court ruling says a zero vote is statistically improbable. But the highly popular Poe failed to garner a single vote in a lot of places, including Sto. Tomas town in his home province of Pangasinan and in several Maguindanao municipalities where rival Arroyo’s total votes equaled the number of actual voters (another statistical improbability). Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. has argued that while a zero vote may be highly improbable, it is still possible, and cited several factors like “Church influence, patriarchal dominance, guns, and gold” that could make it so. Asked about zero votes in last year’s elections, Garcillano told newsmen, “If there is a zero, that is possible because they could buy the watcher of the opposite side.”

MUNICIPALITY
REGISTERED VOTERS
ACTUAL VOTERS
ARROYO
POE
Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan
6,737
5,668
5,470
0
Ampatuan, Maguindanao
9,616
9,321
9,321
0
Datu Piang, Maguindanao
17,250
17,250
0

7. Votes for presidential candidate exceed votes for No. 1 senatorial candidate: Voters almost always write down names for senatorial and local posts on their ballots, but not necessarily make a selection for president. Also, voters can choose only one presidential candidate but can pick a dozen senatorial candidates at most. This makes it extremely rare for a presidential candidate to obtain more votes than the leading senatorial candidate. In Bohol, however, Arroyo garnered more votes than the leading senatorial candidate, including former Bohol representative Ernesto Herrera and Manuel Roxas III (who eventually topped the senatorial race), in 30 of 48 municipalities (60 percent). Ditto for Pampanga, bailiwick of both the president and Sen. Lito Lapid. Even in his hometown, Lapid had fewer votes than Arroyo. Similar patterns were detected in Iloilo, Siquijor, and Leyte provinces.

BOHOL

MUNICIPALITY
ARROYO
TOP SENATE BET
DIFFERENCE
Anda
Antequera
Carmen
Catigbian
Ubay
5,022
5,070
12,420
7,177
16,850
Roxas — 3,632
Herrera — 3,701
Roxas — 9,166
Roxas — 5,141
Roxas — 14,155
1,390
1,369
3,254
2,036
2,695

PAMPANGA

MUNICIPALITY
ARROYO
TOP SENATE BET
DIFFERENCE
Floridablanca
Guagua
Lubao
Porac
31,399
38,205
45,085
30,119
Lapid — 28,448
Lapid — 34,246
Lapid — 39,617
Lapid — 28,513
Roxas — 14,155
2,951
3,959
5,468
1,606

8. Presidential candidate more popular than local candidate: In the South district of Cebu City, Arroyo turned out to be more popular than the local candidate, Rep. Antonio Cuenco.

CANDIDATE
VOTES
ACTUAL VOTERS
% OF VOTES OBTAINED
Arroyo
Cuenco
117,435
88,556
169,923
169,923
69%
52%

9. Unusually high winning ratio: Popularity-wise, Arroyo did not hold a candle to Poe. But in areas where she posted her biggest winning margins like Cebu, Arroyo led Poe by as much as 22 to one. By comparison, Poe’s lead over Arroyo was at most five times in places where he got his biggest winning margins. Election officials recall that Joseph Estrada, the runaway winner in the 1998 elections, led his closest opponent, Jose de Venecia, by five to one. Arroyo’s running mate, the extremely popular Noli de Castro, led Loren Legarda by only two to eight times in areas like Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo, Bohol, Bukidnon, and Southern Leyte.

Arroyo vs Poe in Cebu

MUNICIPALITY
ARROYO
POE
ARROYO:POE
Catmon
Alacsia
Bogo
10,270
8,639
27,134
459
406
1,523
22:1
22:1
18:1
MUNICIPALITY
DE CASTRO
LEGARDA
DE CASTRO:LEGARDA
Catmon
Alacsia
Bogo
8,714
7,902
15,593
1,520
714
8,502
6:1
11:1
2:1

Poe vs Arroyo in Laguna

MUNICIPALITY
POE
ARROYO
POE:ARROYO
Mabitac
Magdalena
Pagsanjan
5,742
6,589
10,065
1,186
1,420
1,978
5:1
5:1
5:1

10. Padding and shaving: New-media pioneer Roberto Verzola believes Arroyo did not win by 1.1 million votes. Using the Namfrel tally (based on elections returns) and the official count of Congress (based on Certificates of Canvass), he calculated Arroyo could have won by 156,000 votes at most, or Poe by 84,000 votes. He said the Namfrel tally is “probably closer to the truth” because it is harder to tamper with 216,000-plus election returns than with 180 COCs. Congress said Arroyo posted a 3.5-percent margin over Poe, while the Namfrel tally placed this at 2.6 percent. The biggest discrepancies between the Namfrel and congressional counts were in Basilan, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.

REGION
CONGRESS
NAMFREL
DISCREPANCY
ARROYO
%
POE
%
ARROYO
%
POE
%
ARMM
61.9
30.6
38.8
58
50.5
Central Mindanao
32.2
39.2
24
44.5
13.5
CAR
39.5
26.1
38
28.6
4.1
REGION
CONGRESS
NAMFREL
ARROYO
%
POE
%
ARROYO
%
POE
%
Sulu*
78,429
60,807
23,896
45,740
Basilan**
79,702
48,685
12,162
43,821
Tawi-Tawi***
33,634
49,803
15,925
58,292

* 100% Namfrel coverage ** <70% Namfrel coverage *** <90% Namfrel coverage

19 Responses to 10 reasons to doubt the 2004 election results

Avatar

joselu

April 5th, 2006 at 5:29 pm

In a country where for years we have always had a electoral system so full of human intervention & have always had places in mindanao where supervising an election is almost close to impossibel because of cultural differences & violence in the extrems.
so it’s only in 2006 that we start doubting election results.
ang tagal na that election results where never accurate anyway.
but no one ever bothered to improve the system.

Avatar

SOL TUBAY

April 5th, 2006 at 6:06 pm

The more one looks at the figures, the angrier one becomes. If only there is a shorter way to bring the truth out in the open.

to the PCIJ people,
This is not about elections, but I have the feeling that the government has something up its sleeve if this is true.This is about the monthly pension of widows of retired soldiers. Mrs. Padirugao’s husband died sometime in 1997 and she started receiving 75% of her husbands pension benefits. However, the last time she went to the headquarters she was informed that she was overpaid and that overpaymnet shall be deducted from her succeeding pensions. She was not given any paper to substantiate or even explaint he matter. The poor widow does not know what to do. She was just handed a piece of paper showing computations. Her husband was a retired Philippine Navy enlisted pesonnel. I hope you can shed light on this and clarify the issue. Many more benefiaries now fear of losing the little that they are receiving.

Thank you.

Avatar

jester-in-exile

April 5th, 2006 at 6:40 pm

not true, joselu, automation of our elections has been a long-running project, but as has been reported time and again, it’s been sabotaged by politicians and COMELEC officials alike.

it’s those who like the system the way it is (because it’s easy for such people to manipulate) that make sure the system stays the way it is.

Avatar

bikoy.net » Don’t give me that, ’so what if she cheated’ retort

April 5th, 2006 at 7:20 pm

[…] It’s lamentable that the election cheating issue has not found proper closure. To those who refuse to believe there was massive cheating in the 2004 Presidential elections in favor of Gloria Arroyo, here are ten factual and statistical reasons to doubt its results. Oh come on. Filed under: Social Babble and Asides Comments: […]

Avatar

joselu

April 5th, 2006 at 7:50 pm

jester, let’s hope we really do get to automate very soon.cuz we can’t go forward this way.
Personaly, i beleave there will always be groups to make it impossible that we automate.I think it’s in the interest of comelec that we do automate.Problem is there will always groups that will create so many legal barriers.
We are such a legalistic society that we don’t seem to go anywhere anyway.
I’m sure that if we really wanted to have credible elections the last time. It’s impossible not to be able to agree if we truely want clean & accurate results.
Problem is some people prefer the imperfect system because it leaves so much space to question anything & to make magic.
I bet that even if we would be automated one day there will still be the silliest protest.
Persoanly, I think we are wasting our time questioning the results of the last elections.
It’s a system that has always been open to human error & intervention.
And we ALL knew that from the start.
If we question one result. we might as well question all the results.
If we really are serious then the better thing to do is work for reforms in the electoral system & look to the future.
We can’t do much about the past.
We also can’t go on acting like hungry & blood thirsty wolves after ever political excersice.
What are our REAL INTENSIONS?
Is it to use the problems to push agendas?
Or is it to solve problems?

Avatar

polsjs

April 5th, 2006 at 11:56 pm

What is the very first and primary reason to doubt the credibility of the 2004 elections? That gave GMA the ‘rare’ opportunity to cheat on a grand scale?

GMA WAS AN ‘INCUMBENT’ RUNNING AS CANDIDATE – that is the original sin as far as the 2004 is concerned. It was the root anomaly. It was an anomalous election even before it started. GMA’s candidacy is anomalous, a constitutional anomaly.

it was not the intent of the constitution that an incumbent runs as a candidate who would have the whole machinery and resources of the government at her disposal,

the temptation is just so great and so sweet for Gloria that she consummated the heinous crime with such cold-blooded efficiency that she almost got away with it had it not been for the ‘hello garci’ recordings.

The malignancy of GMA’s illegitimacy as ‘president’ is horrendously debilitating – portentously a historic national catastrophe.

Illegitimacy is a malignancy. It cannot but debilitate that which it afflicts; and corrupt that which is contaminated by it.

There can be no economic recovery, no political stability and no social harmony until and unless this contagious and malignant illegitimacy is extirpated from the presidency.

Conventional and alternative remedies, including surgical procedure, must be considered very carefully but treatment must be undertaken urgently to avert a catastrophic collapse. Good luck, Docs, Go!

Avatar

jabba4710

April 5th, 2006 at 11:58 pm

From what I have read from the news regarding this matter, it is the comelec comissioners themselves who are keeping the poll automation from being truly implemented. Yes, they did buy some units for a computerized election, but both the Senate and the Supreme Court found irregularities in the manner of the project’s implementation. SC voided the contract and directed Ombudsman to investigate the matter and determine the criminal liability of those involved in the vioded contract. In fact lately, the SC is threatening the Ombudsman with contempt for not acting upon its directive. Funny thing is, I have read somewhere that we – as taxpayers – payed for these 1.3 billion worth of good-for-nothing overpriced equipment.

I say let’s have automated polls. But let us have first, competent and scrupulous commisioners (like the late great Haydee Yorac) who will implement project as important as this and ensure that all election related activities aboveboard. Cause’ even with automated polls, with current bunch of commisioners, expect the usual cheats to manipulate the results of the any election. The only difference will be the use of a lot more sophicated means of cheating. . . .

Avatar

Theboss

April 6th, 2006 at 2:12 am

hindi nyo ba napansin na lahat ng taong nabanggit na tumulong sa pandaraya eh napromote na, sibilyan man o sundalo. siguro kung hindi nabuko si garci sa garci tape siya na ngayon ang chairman ng comelec.kawawang abalos,sibak ka sana.

Avatar

blackboard

April 6th, 2006 at 3:07 am

It all actually boils to one reason- Philippine Politics. No one is clean. Everybody cheated in one form or the other. It so happened that the winners were the successful cheaters and the sore losers are well, sore losers. Even the survey frontrunners and sure winners cheat. Sigurista eh! Filipino honor and values have eroded, especially if you enter politics- the system will eat your idealism and integrity.

Avatar

scud_1975

April 6th, 2006 at 8:51 am

Pinapakita lang nito na hindi pa sumisikat ang SUDOKU sa buong mundo, nilalaro na ‘to ng mga pinoy. Lumalabas ang pagiging mathematicians ng mga mandaraya tuwing panahon ng eleksyon.
At inamin pa ni Commisioner Borra na nagkaroon ng dayaan nung eleksyon? Holy Cow!! bago pa ba yan? Eh wala pa nga sa campaign period kaliwa’t kanan na pang-iisa na ang ginagawa ng mga politiko para manalo habang ang mga komisyon-er sa Comelec nagbibilang ng mga butiki sa kisame ng kanilang mga opisina.
Commisioner..mapatupad nyo lang ang Section 10 at 11 ng RA 6646 Electoral Reforms Law, masaya na ako.

Avatar

joselu

April 6th, 2006 at 9:04 am

actually, the comelec wanted to use the counting machine but the SC banned them from doing so because the transaction was questioned.
from what i understand insted, it seems that the automation law must be amended to give comelec more latitude in chossing a system that is more adaptable to the countries situation.
comelec can do only as much as congress allows them too.
it seems that it is also true that they also seem to be incompitent too however.
maybe our real problem is that we are too legalistic in everything & have lost the sence of being pratical & having the “can do attitude”.
things seem to be done only calculating personal interest & not what is good for the entire nation.
we seem to be “fault finders” only.that is as far as we go.
then we have a media who just loves to enlarge ever mistake.since media is a business so they have to sell & look attractive.
many things don’t really have to do anything w/ the truth.it’s just a part of the truth that is made to appear as the entire story.

Avatar

scud_1975

April 6th, 2006 at 9:58 am

wait, wait ,wait..did i read it right? our real PROBLEM is that we are too being LEGALISTIC? eh hindi ba kaya nasa putik ang Pilipinas dahil madami sa atin ang gumagawa ng ilegal? We have too many laws, ang problema binabastos natin ang mga ito..and being practical is not always legal, hindi pwedeng pakawalan mo ang snatcher dahil lang sa gutom nya.
Maganda sana ang automated election pero hindi lang ito kwestyonable..ilegal pa! The end does not justify the means. Ayaw man natin sa batas, kung yan ang legal..dapat sundin. At ganun din,gustuhin man natin idemolish ang mga squatters sa mga bakuran natin, hindi pwede ayon sa stupid Lina Law.
Gustuhin man natin gamitin ang Garci Tapes, hindi pwede ayon sa Anti Wiretapping Law .

Avatar

Jon Mariano

April 6th, 2006 at 2:34 pm

These numbers don’t lie. Somebody did a lot of cheating. Probability points to the winner of the election as the best cheat.

Dapat ikulong ang mga madaraya para di tularan ng iba…Now na!

Avatar

joselu

April 6th, 2006 at 2:58 pm

Scud, seems that you got lost in the word “legalistic” & did not continue reading on to as I wrote also if we really wanna do everything for clean election, we still could have saved the situation by using the machines just the same insted of letting them gather dust in some warehouse.Because we have more to gian by having credible election then getting stuck in legalities that go on forever.In a way all those legal problems that have to be proven yet anyway served those who wanted to manipulate the election.Even in court cases there is also “amicable” settelments, where win win situations are possible.

Avatar

scud_1975

April 6th, 2006 at 8:38 pm

I understand what you were saying.If we really wanna do everything for a clean election, simulan natin ng maayos. Being too legalistic does not give us problems, on the contrary the “Pwede na” attitude is. Mahilig tayong sumuway, paikutin at bigyan ng ibang meaning ang laws, rules and regulations just to suit our needs. Anong susunod na mangyayari kung gamitin na natin ang mga counting machines kahit na ilegal ang procurement nito? magkakaroon ng precedent..mauulit na naman ang shortcut, salubungin na ang “one way” para lang makarating ng mabilis sa paroroonan. Kung dinaan sana sa ayos siguro nagamit na natin yan 2004 pa. Kung lahat lang ng tao pinipilit sundin ang mga batas di na natin kailangan ng mga abugado para magdepensa.

Avatar

pekto

April 7th, 2006 at 5:51 pm

to joselu

bakit ngayon lang? kasi po napaka-impossible po talaga ng pagkapanalo ni GMA.
bakit ngayon lang? kasi po dahil sa paglabas last year ng GARCI TAPE

bakit ngayon lang? kasi po nung huling Presidential election, si ERAP ay siguradong nanalo sa laki ng lamang nya kay JDV (kahit mandaya pa si JDV, si ERAP pa rin ang mananalo). Pero sa pagkapanalo ni Pandak kay Panday, obvious ang pandaraya, lalo pa pong nagkaroon ng basehan nung lumabas ang GARCI tapes. NUMBERS DON’T LIE

bakit ngayon lang? kasi po SOBRA-SOBRA NA TALAGA ang pagkabulok ng sistema ng COMELEC. Ang PINAKAUNANG Electoral Reform na dapat gawin ay SIBAKIN LAHAT ANG MGA COMMISSIONERS NG COMELEC at DAPAT DING PARUSAHAN sa mga pagkakamali nila in the past.

bakit ngayon lang? kasi po …KUNG DI NGAYON, KAILAN PA PO?

Avatar

anndee

April 10th, 2006 at 3:07 pm

Kasi ni luto na ni macapagal ang congress. Kasi had they agreed to open the ER COC and iwan ko anong tawag nila yung nakalagas na tally sa manila paper nakasama sa loob ng ballot boxes doon makikita kung saan ang dayaan. kasi dapat er coc and the manila paper should have the same result. ito yung nangyari sa aming bayan kaya ng ni reocunt ito sa comelec dyan sa manila nakita ang dayaan kasi the result sa ER and Coc did not match kasi mas mataas ang result kay sa actual voters. example actual voters is 4,000 and total result sa two candidates umabot ng 5,000..ngayon sa cha cha pirma patay at mga bagong panganak marunong ng magchacha.

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Angst… no more no less… » Blog Archive » siguradong maasar ka lalo sa presidente natin after mo mabasa ang mga ito

April 11th, 2006 at 1:15 pm

[…] 2004 Election Results […]

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INSIDE PCIJ » CBCP calls for credible, orderly polls

January 29th, 2007 at 3:25 pm

[…] The Hello Garci scandal, irregularities in the number of registered voters and tallied votes, and fabricated election returns are among the issues that remain unresolved. […]

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