Philippine presidential election, 1986

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Philippine presidential election, 1986
1981 ←
February 7, 1986 → 1992

  Corazon Aquino 1986.jpg Ferdinand Marcos.JPEG
Nominee Corazon C. Aquino Ferdinand E. Marcos
Running mate Salvador H. Laurel Arturo M. Tolentino
Popular vote 7,502,601 (NAMFREL) 9,291,716 (COMELEC) 6,787,556 (NAMFREL) 10,807,197 (COMELEC)
Percentage 46.10%
(COMELEC, later nullified)
(COMELEC, later nullified)

1986 Philippine presidential election results per province.png

Election results per province/city.

President before election

Ferdinand E. Marcos

Elected President

Corazon C. Aquino

Coat of arms of the Philippines.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Philippines

The Presidential election was held on 7 February 1986 in the Philippines were snap elections, and are popularly known as the Snap Elections, that followed the end of Martial Law and brought about the People Power Revolution, the downfall of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and the accession of Corazon C. Aquino as President.


President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared a snap election during an interview on the American Broadcasting Company political affairs programme, This Week with David Brinkley in November 1985.[1][2][3] On 3 December, the Batasang Pambansa passed a law setting the date of the election on 7 February 1986 [4] On 4 February 1986, Marcos declared 6 and 7 February as nationwide non-working special public holidays to "give all registered voters fullest opportunity to exercise their right of suffrage."[5]


The campaign period lasted 45 days, from 19 December 1985 to 5 February 1986.[6][4][7]

Television stations Radio Philippines Network and Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation declined to give airtime to the candidates of the opposition. In their letters addressed to Lupita Kashiwahara, media director for the Cory Aquino for President Movement, both companies cited a policy that prohibited the sale of airtime for political programs to avoid disruption of regular programs already doing well in the ratings. They also mentioned that a similar request by Marcos' Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) was also declined.[7]


The polls were marred by electoral fraud as well as violence. The International Observer Delegation concluded that "the election of February 7 was not conducted in a free and fair manner."[7]

By virtue of Resolution No. 38, the Batasang Pambansa proclaimed Marcos and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senate President Arturo Tolentino as the duly elected President and Vice-President after receiving the highest number of votes for their respective positions.[8] The opposition, headed by Corazón C. Aquino (the widow of assassinated Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.) and former senator Salvador Laurel refused to accept the fraudulent results. The International Observer Delegation concluded that the proclamation was invalid, among other reasons, because the Batasan "ignored explicit provisions of the Philippine Electoral Code [Batas Pambansa Blg. 881] requiring that tampered or altered Election Returns be set aside during the final counting process, despite protests by representatives of the opposition party".[7]

On 9 February, thirty five computer programmers walked out of the COMELEC's electronic quick count at the Philippine International Convention Center, some fearing for their safety and seeking sanctuary in Baclaran Church. The technicians—whose protest was broadcast live on national television[9]—claimed that the Marcos camp had manipulated the election results.

The Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines President Cardinal Ricardo Vidal released a declaration in lieu of the Philippine Church Hierarchy stating that "a government does not of itself freely correct the evil it has inflicted on the people then it is our serious moral obligation as a people to make it do so." The declaration also asked "every loyal member of the Church, every community of the faithful, to form their judgment about the February 7 polls" telling all the Filipinos "[n]ow is the time to speak up. Now is the time to repair the wrong. The wrong was systematically organized. So must its correction be. But as in the election itself, that depends fully on the people; on what they are willing and ready to do."[10] The United States Senate passed a resolution stating the same. This chain of events eventually led to the resignation of Marcos' Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, and Armed Forces Vice-Chief of Staff General Fidel Ramos. Enrile and Ramos then secluded themselves in the military and police headquarters of Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame, respectively, leading to the People Power Revolution from 22–25 February 1986, which toppled the Marcos regime.

On 24 March 1986, the Regular Batasang Pambansa passed a "people's resolution" signed by 150 lawmakers. The resolution nullified the election returns that proclaimed Marcos and Tolentino as the winners, and instead confirmed the victory of President Aquino and Vice-President and Prime Minister Laurel.[citation needed]

The snap elections and its aftermath are dramatized in the 1988 film A Dangerous Life.



Final Official Parliamentary Canvass (Nullified on March 24, 1986)

e • d Summary of the February 7, 1986 Philippine presidential election results
Candidates Parties Votes %
Ferdinand Marcos Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement) 10,807,197 53.62%
Corazon Aquino United Nationalist Democratic Organization 9,291,716 46.10%
Reuben Canoy Social Democratic Party 34,041 0.17%
Narciso Padilla Movement for Truth, Order and Righteousness 23,652 0.12%
Total 20,156,606 100%
Valid votes 20,156,606 97.3%
Invalid votes 559,469 2.7%
Votes cast 20,716,075 78.8%
Registered voters 26,278,744
Source: Annex XXXVIII of the report by the International Observer Delegation


Candidate Party Votes
Corazon C. Aquino UNIDO - PDP-LABAN 7,502,601
Ferdinand E. Marcos KBL 6,787,556
NAMFREL, International Observer Delegation: NAMFREL completed virtually all of its count on Monday, February 17, 1986; with a total of 69.03 percent of the precincts tabulated, NAMFREL reported Mrs. Aquino with 7,502,601 votes and Mr. Marcos with 6,787,556 votes, a difference of 715,045.


Final Official Parliamentary Canvass (Nullified on March 24, 1986)

e • d Summary of the February 7, 1986 Philippine vice presidential election results (Source: Annex XXXVIII of the report by the International Observer Delegation)
Candidate Party Results
Votes %
Arturo Tolentino KBL 10,134,130 50.65%
Salvador Laurel UNIDO 9,173,105 45.85%
Eva Estrada Kalaw Liberal (Kalaw Wing) 662,185 3.31%
Roger Arienda Movement for Truth, Order and Righteousness 35,974 0.18%
Totals 20,053,394 100.00%


Candidate Party Votes
Salvador H. Laurel UNIDO -Nacionalista 7,255,925
Arturo M. Tolentino KBL 6,385,293
Eva Estrada Kalaw Liberal (Kalaw Wing) 591,589

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Radio commercials[edit]