FILIPINO new media pioneer and social activist Roberto “Obet” Verzola has released an update to his study on the extent of cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.
With new data obtained from the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), in particular, a regional breakdown of precincts tallied by Namfrel in its Report No. 81, and a regional and provincial breakdown of precincts tallied by Namfrel in its terminal report, Report No. 83, Verzola says it can now be said with certainty that an “invisible hand” within Namfrel’s national tabulation center manipulated the results of its tally. The manipulation, he adds, was done in three different ways:
- Delaying the canvassing of FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr.) areas vis-a-vis GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) areas and then aborting its count
- Doctoring precinct totals and tally completion percentages
- Canvassing tampered election returns
But in doing all these, the “invisible hand,” Verzola says, has exposed itself by carelessly leaving unmistakable marks of manipulation, as evidenced by the wrong precinct totals inserted in the Namfrel’s presidential report that do not tally with the vice-presidential report, which still had the correct figures for the precinct breakdown.
Verzola claims that this is the smoking-gun evidence of manipulation of Namfrel numbers that confirms suspicions that the administration’s cheating machinery extended far and wide. He called on Namfrel to shed light on the issue by explaining how its terminal report “ended up with internal inconsistencies, statistical impossibilities, and other incredible entries.”
Asked to comment on Verzola’s latest findings, Gus Lagman, information technology head of Namfrel said he has yet to read the report, which can be downloaded here.
In an earlier paper, Verzola claimed that Arroyo did not win the May elections by 1.1 million votes as it was a very close contest. Analyzing both the Namfrel tally that used election returns (ERs) and the parallel official count by Congress of provincial Certificates of Canvass (COCs), he concluded that the “most probable results” ranged from an Arroyo win of around 156,000 votes or less, to an FPJ win of around 84,000 votes or less.