Philippine general election, 2004

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Presidential elections, legislative elections and local elections were held in the Philippines on May 10, 2004. In the presidential election, incumbent president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo won a full six-year term as President, with a margin of just over one million votes over her leading opponent, highly popular movie actor Fernando Poe, Jr..

The elections were notable for several reasons. This election first saw the implementation of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 (see Wikisource), which enabled Filipinos in over 70 countries to vote. This is also the first election since the 1986 People Power Revolution where an incumbent President ran in the presidential election. Under the 1987 Constitution, an elected president cannot run for another term. However, Arroyo was not elected president, but instead succeeded ousted President Joseph Estrada, who was earlier impeached with charges of plunder and corruption in 2000 and later convicted on the plunder charge but received conditional pardon from Arroyo).

Moreover, this was the first time since 1986 that both the winning president and vice president were under the same party/coalition. This election was also held at a period in modern Philippines marked by serious political polarization. This resulted in lesser candidates for the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections compared to the 1992 and 1998 elections.

Background[edit]

The political climate leading up to the 2004 elections was one of the most emotional in the country's history since the 1986 elections that resulted in the exile of Ferdinand Marcos. Philippine society has become polarized between the followers of former president Joseph Estrada who have thrown their support for Estrada's close associate Fernando Poe, Jr. and those who support incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, or at best oppose Estrada.

The several months leading to the May elections saw several presidential scandals, Arroyo reversing her earlier decision not to run for president, the sudden but not unexpected candidacy of Fernando Poe, Jr., defection of key political figures from the Arroyo camp to the opposition, the controversial automated elections initiative of the COMELEC, and the split of the dominant opposition party, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, between Poe and Panfilo Lacson.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's candidacy[edit]

On a speech given on Rizal Day, December 30, 2002, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared that she would not run in the 2004 elections. Arroyo claimed that withdrawing from the race would relieve her of the burden of politics and allow her administration to devote the last year and half to the following:

First, strengthening the economy to create more jobs and to encourage business activities that are unhampered by corruption and red tape in government.

Second, healing the deep divisions within Philippine society.

Third, working for clean and honest elections in 2004.

This was hailed as a welcome development by many people, especially those in the business and economic sectors. Nine months later, on October 4, 2003, Arroyo completely changed her mind. Arroyo stated that her change of heart was for a higher cause and that she cannot ignore the call to further serve the country. Many people, especially those who held on to her commitment, were dismayed by her turnabout, though most were unsurprised since there had been clues months before that she would probably not stand by her earlier decision. Others welcomed this development, saying that she needs more time to implement her projects, and that she would be the strongest contender against a likely candidacy by Fernando Poe, Jr.

Fernando Poe, Jr.'s candidacy[edit]

Months before the elections, members of the opposition have been encouraging Fernando Poe, Jr., a close friend of former president Joseph Estrada to run for president. Poe was very popular with the masses and it was widely believed that he would be a sure winner if he ran for president.

On November 27, 2003, Poe ended months of speculation by announcing that he will run for president during a press conference held at the Manila Hotel.

However, on January 9, 2004, Victorino X. Fornier (a private citizen) filed a case against Poe and the COMELEC, saying that Poe wasn't eligible to run for he is not a natural-born Filipino before the COMELEC. On the 23rd of January, the COMELEC dismissed the petition for lack of merit. On February 10, Fornier finally filed the case to the Supreme Court, seeking Poe to be disqualified from the race. His case was later merged with cases filed by Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, and Felix B. Desiderio, Jr., and by Zoilo Antonio G. Velez.

Death of Lawyer Maria Jeanette Tecson

On September 28, 2007, 8:30 p.m, Senior Superintendent Francisco Uyami, Pasig police chief stated that Lawyer Maria Tecson, 40, was found dead (in a state of rigor mortis) inside room 204 at the Richmond Hotel, San Miguel Avenue, Pasig City (with her throat slit and with cuts on her wrist).[1] Maria Jeanette Tecson, Zoilo Velez (promoted to Court of Appeals Justice) and Victorino Fornier filed the disqualification case against Fernando Poe, Jr. She claimed Poe was born out of wedlock and that while Poe's birth certificate was dated 1939, his parents Allan Poe and American mother Bessie Kelly did not marry until 1940.[2]

On March 3, the Supreme Court, said in its decision, that for lack of jurisdiction and prematurity, and ruling that Poe's father, Allan F. Poe would have been a Filipino citizen by virtue of the en masse Filipinization enacted by the Philippine Bill of 1902. Also, even if Poe wasn't a natural-born Filipino citizen, he cannot be held guilty of having made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy.

See also: The Supreme Court's decision.

Eddie Gil's candidacy[edit]

The Commission on Elections originally affirmed the candidacies of six people for the president. The sixth person running for president was Eduardo "Eddie" Gil, a known Marcos loyalist. The party of Eduardo Villanueva filed a petition with the COMELEC seeking to disqualify Eddie Gil on the basis of him being a nuisance candidate, his incapacity to mount a nationwide campaign, and that because he was running with the aim to confuse voters because of their similar names.

Eddie Gil claims to be an international banker having a net worth of billions of dollars. His platform for presidency promised to make every Filipino a millionaire within his first 100 days of being elected. He also promised to pay off the Philippines' debt, worth trillions of pesos, from his own pocket. This was widely ridiculed, especially after a recent incident in which a check he had issued to pay his hotel bills during a campaign sortie, bounced.

The LDP split[edit]

The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party (LDP) would form the core of the main opposition party, the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP). However, members of the party disagreed on which person to support for president. Panfilo Lacson, a member of the party, advanced his candidacy for president but was not considered by Edgardo Angara, the president of the party. Angara supported Fernando Poe, Jr. Together with the party's secretary-general Agapito "Butz" Aquino, Lacson gathered the support of some members of the party and went ahead with his candidacy. The LDP was subsequently polarized between those supporting Angara and Poe, and those for Lacson and Aquino.

By then, Poe and Lacson have both filed their certificates of candidacies. According to the rules of candidacy, every presidential candidate must have a political party to back him or her. With the obvious split within the ranks of the LDP, and with no signs that the two factions would come to an agreement, the COMELEC decided to informally split the party into the Aquino and the Angara wings. Lacson then ran under the LDP - Aquino Wing, and Poe under the LDP - Angara Wing, which would later become the KNP.

During the campaign period, there had been numerous unification talks between the two factions. The opposition saw the need to become united under one banner to boost their chances of winning the presidential election against the organized political machinery of Arroyo. The plans of unification did not materialize due to the stubbornness of both Poe and Lacson. Lacson wanted Poe to concede to him and run as his vice-presidential candidate while the supporters of Poe wanted Lacson to back out from his candidacy and instead support Poe, citing his low performance in the surveys.

COMELEC's move for an automated elections[edit]

Elections in the Philippines have always been a manual process with the results for national positions often being announced more than a month after election day. An attempt to rectify this was done by the Commission on Elections by automating the process of counting the votes. More than 30 billion pesos were spent in acquiring counting machines that were never used in this elections because of numerous controversies and political opposition.

Timeline[edit]

2002

  • December 30 - President Arroyo declares that she will not run for President in 2004.

2003

  • October 4 - President Arroyo announces her intention to run for President.
  • November 26 - Fernando Poe, Jr. declares his intention to run for President.
  • December 29 - Raul Roco, together with Herminio Aquino filed their candidacies for the position of President and Vice President. Senator Panfilo Lacson filed his candidacy as President without a running mate.
  • December 30 - Fernando, Poe, Jr. together with running mate Senator Loren Legarda filed their candidacies for the position of President and Vice President.

2004

  • January 5 - President Gloria Arroyo and Senator Noli de Castro filed their candidacies for the position of President and Vice President.
  • January 13 - The Supreme Court nullified a contract for the computerization of the ballot-counting process, effectively forcing the Commission on Elections to revert to the manual counting of votes.
  • February 10 - Start of the official campaign period for national positions
  • March 3 - Poe was deemed as a natural born Filipino by the Supreme Court, thereby blocking any legal obstacles for his candidacy.
  • March 25 - Start of the official campaign period for local positions
  • May 10 - Election day
  • May 10 - NAMFREL starts its quickcount tally.
  • May 14 - Panfilo Lacson resigns from his party, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP).
  • May 14 - Grenade explodes at the General Santos City Hall where canvassing was taking place. No one was hurt.
  • May 17 - Opposition groups stage protest at the PICC, site of the official COMELEC canvass for senators and party-list representatives.
  • May 17 - Raul Roco concedes to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
  • May 19 - Fernando Poe, Jr., proclaims himself winner in Zamboanga City.
  • May 25 - COMELEC proclaims the top 11 senators in its official canvass.
  • May 28 - Congress approves the rules for the canvassing of the Certificates of Canvass for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential positions.
  • June 2 - The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a statement saying that the elections were generally peaceful and that there was no sign of massive electoral fraud on a nationwide scale.
  • June 3 - The 12th senator, Rodolfo Biazon, was proclaimed by the COMELEC.
  • June 4 - Congress, through the Joint Committee, starts canvassing the votes for the President and Vice-president.
  • June 8 - Supreme Court votes 14-0 against the KNP petition to declare the Congressional Joint Committee as the National Board of Canvassers unconstitutional.
  • June 20 - The Congressional Joint Committee finishes the canvassing of votes for the President and Vice-president; Arroyo is declared the winner.
  • June 24 - The Congress approves the report of the Joint Committee officially proclaiming Arroyo the winner.
  • June 30 - Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is inaugurated in Cebu City.

Parties and coalitions

This election has seen strong shifts of alliances and new parties as candidates switched allegiances. The two major coalitions seen in this elections were the K-4 (Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan), of the administration, and the KNP (Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino), the united opposition.

Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4)[edit]

The Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (Coalition of Truth and Experience for Tomorrow) or K-4, is the remnant of the People Power Coalition that was formed following the ascendancy of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to power. Arroyo is seeking a complete term under this coalition with Noli de Castro, an independent, yet popular, broadcaster, as her running mate. The leading party in this coalition is the ruling Lakas-CMD, of which Arroyo is a member. Other parties under this coalition are the Liberal Party, the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People's Coalition and the People's Reform Party.

Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP)[edit]

The Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (Coalition of United Filipinos), or KNP, is the coalition of the united opposition. Its standard bearers are Fernando Poe, Jr. for president and Sen. Loren Legarda for vice-president. The leading parties of this coalition is the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP-Angara Wing), the PDP-Laban and the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. the LDP split is caused by stubbornness between FPJ and Ping Lacson. especially with the support of the former president Joseph Estrada and former first lady Imelda Marcos. The other major party under this coalition is Estrada's Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP, Party of the Filipino Masses).

Alyansa ng Pag-asa[edit]

The third major coalition running in this election is the Alyansa ng Pag-asa (Alliance of Hope), This coalition fielded Raul Roco for president and Herminio Aquino for vice-president. The three major parties supporting this coalition are Roco's Aksyon Demokratiko (Democratic Action), former Defense Sec. Renato de Villa's Reporma Party, and Lito Osmeña's Promdi (Probinsya Muna [Provinces First] Development Party). The three parties were the ones that bolted out of the People Power Coalition.

Bangon Pilipinas Movement (BPM)[edit]

The Bangon Pilipinas (Rise up, Philippines) Movement is the political party of Bro. Eddie Villanueva. It consists mostly of volunteers, a majority of whom came from Villanueva's Jesus Is Lord church (Villanueva resigned from the church before submitting his candidacy, to prevent questions on separation of church and state).

Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) (Aquino Wing)[edit]

This was composed of Panfilo Lacson's supporters in the LDP Party.

Partido Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa[edit]

This was Eddie Gil's organization. Gil was deemed a nuisance candidate and was disqualified from the presidential race, however, the party qualified for other positions.

Election results[edit]

The official results of the election were released in staggered dates with most winners in local elective positions declared within two weeks from the May 10 election date. The winners in the Senatorial and Party-list Representative elections were declared on May 24, with the exception of the 12th senator which was announced on June 3. The results of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential races were finalized by the Congress on June 20, more than a month after the elections. Out of the 43,536,028 registered voters, about 35.4 million ballots were cast giving a voter turn-out of 81.4%.

Shown below are the official tallies of the Presidential, Vice-Presidential, and Senatorial races as well as the last tallies of the Quickcount conducted by the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), the citizens' arm of the COMELEC.

President[edit]

Final Official Congressional Canvass

e • d Summary of the May 10, 2004 Philippine presidential election results
Candidate Party Results
Votes %
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Lakas (K-4) 12,905,808 39.99%
Fernando Poe, Jr. KNP 11,782,232 36.51%
Panfilo Lacson LDP (Aquino wing) 3,510,080 10.88%
Raul Roco Aksyon 2,082,762 6.45%
Eddie Villanueva Bangon Pilipinas 1,988,218 6.16%
Total valid votes 32,269,100 96.30%
Total invalid votes 1,240,992 3.70%
Total turnout 33,510,092 76.34%
Registered voters 43.895,324 100.00%

NAMFREL Quickcount
(Partial and Unofficial)

Candidate Party Votes %
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo K4 11,272,388 39.4%
Fernando Poe, Jr. KNP 10,456,243 36.6%
Panfilo Lacson Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino(Agapito Aquino Wing) 3,140,494 11.0%
Raul Roco Aksyon Demokratiko 1,942,921 6.8%
Eduardo Villanueva Bangon Pilipinas 1,782,547 6.2%
Total: 28,594,593 100.0%

Breakdown[edit]

Vice-President[edit]

Final Official Congressional Canvass

Vice presidential election results per province/city.
e • d Summary of the May 10, 2004 Philippine vice presidential election results
Candidate Party Results
Votes %
Noli de Castro Independent (allied with Lakas) 15,100,431 49.80%
Loren Legarda KNP 14,218,709 46.90%
Herminio Aquino Aksyon 981,500 3.24%
Rodolfo Pajo Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa 22,244 0.06%
Total valid votes 30,322,884 90.49%
Total invalid votes 3,187,208 9.51%
Total turnout 33,510,092 76.34%
Registered voters 43.895,324 100.00%

NAMFREL Quickcount
(Partial and Unofficial)

Candidate Party Votes %
Noli de Castro Independent 13,342,530 49.6%
Loren Legarda KNP 12,505,777 46.5%
Herminio Aquino Aksyon Demokratiko /
Alyansa ng Pag-Asa
920,316 3.4%
Rodolfo Pajo Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 22,244 0.1%
Total: 26,908,172 100.00%

PET Case No. 003, Legarda v. De Castro, January 18, 2008[edit]

On January 18, 2008, in a 21-page resolution, penned by Senior Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), dismissed Sen. Loren Legarda's electoral protest against Noli de Castro. 3 reasons supported the judgment: first, the PET approved the recommendation of Hearing Commissioner and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair retired SC Justice Bernardo P. Pardo that “the pilot-tested revision of ballots or re-tabulation of the certificates of canvass would not affect the winning margin of the protestee in the final canvass of the returns, in addition to the ground of abandonment or withdrawal by reason of Protestant’s candidacy for, election and assumption of the office Senator of the Philippines;” second, Legarda’s failure to pay the P 3.9 million ($ 1 = P 40) revision of ballots (in 124,404 precincts) fee despite court extension under Rule 33 of the PET; and third, jurisprudence of Defensor Santiago v. Ramos, teaches that Legarda "effectively abandoned or withdrawn her protest when she ran in the Senate, which term coincides with the term of the Vice-Presidency 2004-2010." Meanwhile, Noli De Castro on television stated: "This is the triumph of truth. The truth that I won fair and square. I thank the Supreme Court for echoing the true voice of the people. From the very beginning I was confident that I received the overwhelming mandate of our people as Vice President." Legarda stated that she will file a motion for reconsideration in due course.[3][4]

Legislative and local elections[edit]

In the legislative elections, voters elected twelve Senators (half the members of the Senate), who are elected at large with the whole country voting as one constituency, and all 208 members of the House of Representatives, who are elected from single-member districts.

In the local elections, voters elected governors, vice-governors, and board members of the country's 79 provinces, and the mayor, vice-mayor and councilors of the nation's more than 1,600 cities and municipalities.

Senators[edit]

The COMELEC sits as the National Board of Canvassers for the 12 senatorial positions.

e • d Summary of the May 10, 2004 Philippine Senate election results
Rank Candidate Coalition Party Votes %
1. Mar Roxas K-4 Liberal 19,372,888 57.81%
2. Bong Revilla K-4 Lakas 15,801,531 47.15%
3. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. KNP KNP 13,519,998 40.35%
4. Jamby Madrigal KNP KNP 13,253,692 39.55%
5. Richard Gordon K-4 Lakas 12,707,151 37.92%
6. Pia Cayetano K-4 Lakas 12,542,054 37.43%
7. Miriam Defensor Santiago K-4 PRP 12,187,401 36.37%
8. Alfredo Lim KNP KNP 11,286,428 33.68%
9. Juan Ponce Enrile KNP KNP 11,191,162 33.40%
10. Jinggoy Estrada KNP KNP 11,094,120 33.11%
11. Lito Lapid K-4 Lakas 10,970,941 32.74%
12. Rodolfo Biazon K-4 Liberal 10,635,270 31.74%
13. Robert Barbers K-4 Lakas 10,624,585 31.71%
14. Ernesto Maceda KNP KNP 9,944,328 29.68%
15. John Henry Osmeña K-4 Independent 9,914,179 29.59%
16. Orlando Mercado K-4 Lakas 8,295,024 24.75%
17. Robert Jaworski K-4 Lakas 6,921,425 20.65%
18. Boots Anson-Roa KNP KNP 5,873,845 17.53%
19. Francisco Tatad KNP PMP 5,718,740 17.07%
20. Heherson Alvarez Independent 4,791,085 14.30%
21. Ernesto Herrera KNP KNP 4,612,036 13.76%
22. Perfecto Yasay Alyansa ng Pag-asa Aksyon 4,408,808 13.16%
23. Francisco Chavez Alyansa ng Pag-asa Reporma-LM 4,286,838 12.79%
24. Carlos M. Padilla Independent 3,863,693 11.53%
25. Salvador Escudero III KNP KNP 3,780,469 11.28%
26. Amina Rasul KNP KNP 3,456,480 10.31%
27. Jay Sonza Aksyon 2,839,442 8.47%
28. Parouk S. Hussin K-4 Lakas 2,821,522 8.42%
29. Didagen Dilangalen KNP KNP 2,222,069 6.63%
30. Melanio Mauricio, Jr. Alyansa ng Pag-asa Aksyon 1,144,279 3.41%
31. Pilar Pilapil Independent 692,137 2.07%
32. Eduardo Nonato Joson Alyansa ng Pag-asa Aksyon 631,041 1.88%
33. Eddie Ilarde Independent 527,865 1.58%
34. Nicanor Gatmaytan Jr. Alyansa ng Pag-asa Aksyon 453,693 1.35%
35. Bong Coo Alyansa ng Pag-asa Aksyon 338,846 1.01%
36. Oliver Lozano KBL 238,272 0.71%
37. Alvin Alvincent Almirante KBL 206,097 0.62%
38. Ramon Montaño Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 159,735 0.48%
39. Matuan Usop Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 137,376 0.41%
40. Angel Rosario Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 98,932 0.30%
41. Ismael Aparri Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 97,430 0.29%
42. Norma Nueva KBL 96,129 0.29%
43. Carmen Borja Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 95,755 0.29%
44. Pendatun Decampong Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 94,713 0.28%
45. Gerardo del Mundo Independent 88,962 0.27%
46. El Cid Fajardo Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 79,471 0.24%
47. Iderlina Pagunuran Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 59,712 0.18%
48. Arturo Estuita Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 39,094 0.12%
Turnout 35,510,092 76.97%
Registered voters 43,536,028 100%
Note: A total of 48 candidates ran for senator. Sources: Vote totals from the Commission on Elections, turnout from the National Statistics Coordinating Board.
Per coalition[edit]
Party/coalition Votes  % Seats won  %
K-4 132,793,971 52.2 7 58.3
KNP 95,953,367 37.7 5 41.7
Independents 9,963,742 3.9 0 0
Aksyon Demokratiko 9,362,416 3.7 0 0
Reporma-LM 4,740,531 1.9 0 0
Partido Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa 862,218 0.3 0 0
Per party[edit]
Party/coalition Votes  % Seats won  %
Lakas 80,684,233 31.7% 4 33.3%
Independents 36,620,816 14.4% 1 8.3%
PMP 30,381,196 12.0% 2 16.7%
Liberal 30,008,158 11.8% 2 16.7%
PDP-Laban 16,976,478 6.7% 1 8.3%
LDP 13,253,692 5.2% 1 8.3%
PRP 12,187,401 4.8% 1 8.3%
NPC 9,944,328 3.9% 0 0.0%
Aksyon 9,362,416 3.7% 0 0.0%
LDP-Aquino wing 8,654,778 3.4% 0 0.0%
Reporma-LM 4,740,531 1.9% 0 0
Partido Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa 862,218 0.3% 0 0
KBL 540,498 0.2% 0 0
Totals 254,216,743 100.0% 12 100.0%

Representatives[edit]

e • d Summary of the May 10, 2004 Philippine House of Representatives election results
Parties and coalitions Seats %
Lakas 92 37.2%
NPC 53 21.5%
Liberal 29 11.8%
LDP 15 6.1%
PMP 5 2.0%
Aksyon 2 0.8%
KAMPI 2 0.8%
Nacionalista 2 0.8%
PDP-Laban 2 0.8%
KBL 1 0.4%
PDSP 1 0.4%
Reporma-LM 1 0.4%
Independent 4 1.6%
Totals 209 84.6%

Exit polls[edit]

During and immediately after the elections, exit polls were conducted by various organizations including the Social Weather Stations. According to "The SWS 2004 Day of Election Survey: Final Exit Poll Scores Excluding Blank Answers", released by the SWS on 19 May 2004, the national vote percentages are: GMA 45%, FPJ 34%, Lacson 10%, Roco 6%, Villanueva 5% (slightly different numbers from May 11; error margin 2%, n = 4,445)."[5]

These results are affirmed when compared to the NAMFREL Quick Count as of May 21, as tabulated in "Comparison of ABS-CBN/SWS Exit Poll 2004 Results (as of May 17, 9 am; excluding No Answer) and NAMFREL Quick Count as of May 21 1:00 p.m. (Report #63)".[6] The NAMFREL Quick Count shows GMA at 40.4%, FPJ at 36.5%, Lacson at 10.8%, Roco at 6.2%, and Villanueva at 6.1%.[7]

It is notable in light of the subsequent Hello Garci scandal how exit polling revealed the candidates' performance in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. To wit, the SWS exit poll shows that GMA won only 44% of ARMM while FPJ won 50% (in short, 44-50); the NAMFREL Quick Count showed a score of 34.3-56.5.[8] However, the final official COMELEC Canvass showed a result of 62% vs. 31% in favor of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.[9] This highly irregular result constituted prima facie evidence of cheating in the ARMM.

The SWS also published the number of registered voters per region as of April 28, 2004—or just a week before the elections—for the purpose of comparing their sample sizes with the actual number of voters. The ARMM had 1,057,458 voters.[10]

However, recall that in the final official COMELEC canvass, FPJ won 31% of ARMM votes. If he had won 100% of ARMM, he could gain only 69% more of the ARMM voters, or 729,646 votes. Given that the final difference between GMA and FPJ was 1,123,576 votes, GMA would still have won the election by a total of 393,930 votes.

Even if FPJ won 100% of the ARMM, GMA would still have won. So great was GMA's lead, that even if they padded ARMM voter rolls so that it would show 1.5 million voters, 69% of that would only be 1.035 million votes, still not enough to overcome the 1.123-million vote lead.

This result is actually consistent with the trend of the pre-election opinion polls conducted also by the SWS. On April 23, just a little over two weeks before the election, the SWS released a poll, and the headline of the SWS report by itself was historically significant: "SWS April 10-17, 2004 Survey: Roco Depleted, Voters Go To GMA and Undecided".[11] The report's first line gives away the game: "Raul Roco's sudden departure for abroad cost him almost half of his voting strength, allowing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to gain a slim lead ..."[12] That lead could not be reversed: at the last pre-election SWS opinion poll (conducted from May 1 to 4) released on 8 May 2004, or just two days before the election, "GMA Leads FPJ By 7%", 37% to 30%, with 12% undecided.[13]

Official Congressional canvass[edit]

Under the constitution, the Congress is mandated to become the National Board of Canvassers for the top two positions, the President and the Vice-President. Tallying in the 216,382 precincts nationwide are submitted in Election Returns that are forwarded to the municipal and city board of canvassers. These are then tabulated and forwarded to the provincial board of canvassers which prepare the 176 Certificates of Canvass (CoC). These CoCs were forwarded to the joint session of the Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on May 25, 2004.

Senators and representatives from the administration and opposition have debated heatedly on the procedure of counting the CoCs. The traditional way of counting the certificates, as used in the 1992 and 1998 elections, was to appoint a joint committee consisting of seven senators and seven representatives. Many opposition legislators, notably, Cong. Didagen Dilangalen of Maguindanao, opposed this traditional method as unconstitutional saying that it should be the whole Congress, not a committee, who should count the votes. Part of the argument was that "power delegated cannot be further delegated", referring to the delegation of counting to a committee. The proposal of some legislators was for the whole Congress to sit in a joint session counting each and every single Certificate of Canvass.

The debates and deliberations for the rules of canvassing were finished by the Congressional joint session on May 28. The rules decided were very similar to the ones used in the 1992 and 1998 elections, which called for a joint committee to act as the National Board of Canvassers. The notable difference is the increase of the number of committee members from 14 to 22, this time consisting of 11 senators and 11 representatives. The composition of the committee was also announced by the Senate President, Franklin Drilon, and the Speaker of the House, Jose de Venecia. The composition was immediately lambasted by the Opposition; the House portion of the committee consisted of 9 administration representatives and 2 opposition. The Poe camp called for a more equal representation for all the involved political parties in the committee, despite the appointed commission mirroring the current composition of the House: there are 190 administration representatives in a 220-seat House.

The official canvassing by the Congressional Joint Committee started on June 4, a little less than one month after election day. Canvassing was done in a slow pace, averaging about 12 Certificates of Canvass per day, as the Opposition accused Administration politicians of railroading the canvass. The Opposition lawyers wanted to question the validity of 25 CoCs, especially in those areas where Arroyo posted a wide margin over Poe. They wanted the Committee to examine the Statement of Votes at the municipal level and even down to the Election Returns at the precinct level to prove their claim that the Certificates of Canvass have been tampered with in favor of Arroyo. Administration lawyers contend that the Committee is not the proper place to lodge complaints of fraud and that the Opposition should go to the Presidential Election Tribunal (the Supreme Court) after the winner has been proclaimed.


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Literature[edit]

  • Teehankee, Julio (2006). "Consolidation or Crisis of Clientelistic Democracy?: The 2004 Synchronized Elections in the Philippines". Between Consolidation and Crisis: Elections and Democracy in Five Nations in Southeast Asia (Berlin: Lit). pp. 215–276. 

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