Fraud in the 2004 presidential polls
(Second of two parts)
(Editor’s Note: The Inquirer found this article about three weeks ago from the numerous letters sent to it by readers amid fresh reports that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated in the 2004 presidential election.
A group of police officers came out in the open to announce that they broke into the House of Representatives seven years ago to replace the electoral returns kept by Congress, which canvassed the results of the presidential and vice presidential elections, with fake ones to ensure the electoral victory of Arroyo should there be a recount.
Maybe it was coincidence or perhaps serendipity that we “rediscovered” this material that Manuel A. Alcuaz Jr., president of Systems Sciences Consult Inc. and a member of the Management Association of the Philippines, submitted to the Inquirer in March 2006.
Unknown to us, he had died when we decided that we would run his article. Talk of the Town called the phone numbers on his cover letter but only heard a recorded message that the numbers have yet to be assigned. Alcuaz passed away on July 24. He was 72.)
For every province, I used the certificate of canvass (COC)-based totals of Congress, provided by the staff of a senator who loves our country, and the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) summary of election returns (ERs) by province and city in its terminal report.
I subtracted Namfrel’s final count from the congressional canvass for each province. This I call the COC increment. I then computed the percentage of total votes for GMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) and FPJ (opposition presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.).
You will note that the reversal in percentages is most glaring when you compare the Namfrel percentage with the increment percentage. That is the smoke that signals the fraud that was committed.
I computed the total increment in votes between the COC and Namfrel canvass, and multiplied it by the Namfrel percentage of votes to compute the Namfrel trend for GMA and FPJ.
I then subtracted the Namfrel trend from the COC increment to get the dagdag (vote padding) for GMA and the bawas (vote shaving) for FPJ to get the total dagdag-bawas (vote-padding and -shaving) in the province.
Sulu had a computed 60,615 dagdag-bawas, or 41.33 percent of the total votes in the province. (See Table 12.)
Excerpts of transcription of “Hello Garci” tapes [Recorded telephone conversations believed to be between GMA and then Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano]:
GMA: Hello, meron tayong … (?) … E.R.? Para sa Sulu?
Gary [Garci]: Oo ma’am, meron po.
Gary: Oo ma’am. Lahat ho meron, hindi po naming ika-count kung …
GMA: OK, OK.
In Tawi-Tawi, the computed dagdag-bawas was 31,389 or 35.86 percent of its total votes.
GMA: Sa Tawi-Tawi, eh baka na raw ako ang matalo doon …
Gary [Garci]: Baka nga ho … (Line faded, cut.)
Garci and company really went to town to make sure GMA would not lose. Note the increment between the COC and Namfrel count was only 9,553 votes but GMA gained 17,709 and FPJ lost 8,489.
Hey Joe [then Namfrel chair Jose Concepcion Jr.] what did you say about Tawi-Tawi?
(See Tables 14 and 15.)
Maguindanao had a computed dagdag-bawas of 53,798, which was 19.4 percent of the total votes in the province.
GMA: Ah dumating … dapat sigurado ang mga documents consistent sa Maguindanao.
Gary [Garci]: Ah, hindi ninyo naman ho masyadong problema sa Maguindanao … Ano ho yung itinext kagabi na may mga fake precincts na ako daw ang mastermind. (See Tables 16 and 17.)
Lanao del Norte
Garci and GMA had a long conversation about Lanao. Lanao del Norte only delivered 38,844 dagdag-bawas. But Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur delivered 177,389 in combined dagdag-bawas, which is quite big.
The following is the most damning conversation.
Gary [Garci]: Hello, ma’am, good morning. OK ma’am, mas mataas ho siya pero mag-compensate po sa Lanao ’yan.
GMA: So I will still lead by more than 1M [million] overall?
Gary: More or less, it’s the advantage ma’am. Parang ganun din ang lalabas.
GMA: It cannot be less than 1M?
Gary: Pipilitin ma’am natin yan. Pero as of the other day, 982 [thousand].
GMA: Kaya nga eh …
Gary: And then if we can get more in Lanao …
GMA: Hindi pa ba tapos?
Gary: Hindi pa ho, meron pa hong darating na seven municipalities.
GMA: Ah OK, OK.
(See Tables 18 and 19.)
Agusan del Norte
This is one province where the Garci magic did not work. There was no substantial dagdag-bawas and GMA lost by about 40,000.
GMA: Hello, 40 plus daw ang talo ko dun sa Cotabato?
Gary [Garci]: More or less, pero hindi ho siguro sosobra ng 40, ma’am. Natakot na kami ni Attorney Bedol.
(See Tables 22 and 23.)
If the ERs that GMA asked Garci about had arrived, there was also a possibility that the Namfrel count would incorporate the fraudulent ERs.
This could have happened in the following provinces where GMA’s ratio of votes was unbelievably high: Pampanga 7.69 to 1; Cebu 6.45 to 1; and Iloilo 5 to 1.
What analysis detected
My analysis can only detect wholesale fraud.
If the fraud was committed at the precinct level and the Namfrel got a copy of the fraudulent ER, there would be no discrepancy between Namfrel and the municipal COC.
Pampanga is most obvious. Residents of Pampanga are surprised that GMA won in their province.
Notice the provincial COC based on the percentage of votes for Pampanga and neighboring provinces. (See Table 24.)
What should be done?
The solution to cheating is not a change in the form of government (it won’t work) or an emphasis on education (the kids and cadets are corrupted later in life). It is in punishment of the guilty.
If we are to have honest elections and national consensus, cheating and corruption must be punished.
Start at the top. It would be nice if GMA would resign. But that is a tough job. Let us first get Joe Concepcion to resign from Namfrel and apologize for the cover-up he did.
Garcillano should be tracked down and provincial election officials in areas with massive dagdag-bawas should be prosecuted.
The Commission on Elections should be overhauled.
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