PONDER: WAS “DAGDAG-BAWAS” EMPLOYED IN THE MAY 10, 2010 PHILIPPINE PRESIDENTIAL AND VICE-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS?
“Dagdag-Bawas” was a term and election cheating scheme allegedly used in the 1992 synchronized presidential and local and 1995 senatorial and local elections raised in related electoral protests, where votes from non-winnable candidates are taken and added to a favored candidate intended and made to win. The taking and adding of votes allegedly did not take place in the precinct or municipal level where preparation of certificates of canvass of votes by Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) were guarded by political party and accredited election watchers and voters, but, by tampering the real and actual votes counted at precincts in the certificates of canvass of votes by Board of Canvassers (BOCs) of provinces and cities forwarded to the National BOC.
In the May 10, 2010 and past elections, regardless how the voting and counting were conducted at the precincts, whether manually prior to use of the PCOS or optically-scanned by the PCOS in the last elections, “dagdag-bawas” could be done by “operators” with access to COMELEC preparation of certificates of canvass and cooperation of provincial or city COMELEC registrars and/or BOC members before, or by similar “operators” with access to the microchip-equipped CF (compact flash) cards installed in PCOS pre-programmed or instructed what and how to count votes in the last elections.
Undoubtedly, President Benigno Simeon Aquino got a clear mandate and was duly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 10, 2010 elections. No suggestion or insinuation of cheating can overturn or discredit his over 5.0 million votes lead over former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada and even larger vote leads over Senator Manuel “Manny” Villar and Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro.
However, some doubt and reservation could be entertained on the real and true votes obtained by Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas and on VP Binay’s having more votes in the vice-presidential contest by considering historical antecedents and the landslide win of P-Noy as a teammate of Mar Roxas and VP-Binay appeared far from winnable until two months before elections. Similar doubt and reservation could also be entertained on the 3.5 million votes obtained by Loren Legarda considering women-identity and sympathy votes and her topping a previous senatorial contest together with the less than 1.0 million votes of BF Fernando who was clearly best delivering among MMDA Chairs, including Binay.
The doubts and reservations in the votes obtained by Roxas and Binay are reinforced by the surprising more than 9.5 million votes of Erap Estrada that placed him next to P-Noy and ahead Manny Villar by over 4.5 million votes and Gibo Teodoro by over 6.0 million votes.
HISTORICAL ANTECEDENTS, COMPARATIVE NATIONAL PROMINENCE, POLITICAL PARTY LOGISTICS AND MACHINERY, CAMPAIGN EFFORTS AND EXPENDITURES, STATISTICAL DEDUCTION, NATURAL COURSE OF THINGS, LOGIC AND REASON, REPLACEMENT OF PCOS AND LAST-MINUTE REPROGRAMMING OF THE CF CARDS APPARENTLY SUPPORTED “DAGDAG-BAWAS” WAS USED AND EXISTED IN THE PRESIDENTIAL AND VICE-PRESIDENTIAL VOTING RESULTS.
Indeed, after building a popular career in the movies for over three decades from late 50s and over quarter century of successful political bids, Erap Estrada was able to exploit his “Erap Para Sa Mahirap” movie characterization and slogan to win the Presidency in 1998 in a landslide with widest margin ever against his closest rival. However, his popularity waned fast in less than three years as he contradicted his identity with the poor and masses and his promising inaugural line “Walang Kamakamag-anak, Walang Kumpakumpare. Huwag Ninyo Akong Subokan” with open and indiscrete heavy drinking, womanizing, patronage of illegal numbers games (“jueteng” in Luzon and “masiao” in Visayas and Mindanao) and association with businessmen into corrupt and illegal activities (Atong Ang and Dante Tan). His popularity dropped more during his 6-year trial for graft and corruption and plunder.
It cannot be disputed and now historical record that Erap Estrada was finally convicted by the Sandiganbayan and subsequently pardoned by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo no matter how continuously distorted as untrue by Estrada and his supporters. As a convicted former President seeking another 6-year Presidency at age 74 where average lifespan of Filipinos is 67-68 years in a country where 60% of the population are between ages 18 to 60 years old and challenging much younger rivals better in their own rights, including the son of an equally if not more popular martyr senator and former President who like Estrada rode on popular support, the more than 9.5 million votes Erap Estrada got was doubtful and unbelievable. More so, because he ran under a minority party against candidates of three leading and powerful political parties with alliances and greater logistics and established grassroots networks and machineries. Even more, when the electorate was already better informed and aware of antecedent historical developments, current issues to be addressed, globalization, and competencies and qualities for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency.
Estrada’s over 9.5 million votes was doubtful and unbelievable taken against the votes obtained by Manny Villar, particularly his lead of more than 4.5 million votes over Villar, considering current national prominence, nationwide campaign logistics and spending and endorsements for Villar. With the most expensive campaign waged and coming to within statistical tie with P-Noy two months before the voting, Villar’s less than 5.0 million votes and lag of 9.5 million votes behind P-Noy and 4.5 million votes behind Estrada were inconsistent and contradictory.
Estrada’s over 9.5 million votes was also doubtful and unbelievable taken against the votes obtained by Gibo Teodoro, particularly his lead of more than 6.0 million votes, considering Teodoro had more impressive credentials for the Presidency and was most acceptable among students and the academe and supported by the dominant Lakas-KAMPI and ONE CEBU political parties.
Estrada’s over 9.5 million votes was further doubtful and unbelievable taken against the votes obtained by Eddie Villanueva, particularly the latter’s slightly over 1.0 million votes and Estrada’s lead of more than 8.5 million votes when Villanueva heads a religious flock of at least 6 million and already got 2.0 million votes in his first Presidential bid 6 years previous, not to mention Eddie Villanueva sustained a more expensive and vigorous campaign in the May 10, 2010 elections than in 2004.
It is doubtful and unbelievable that the combined efforts and expenses of Villar, Teodoro, and Villanueva could only draw combined votes as that of Estrada’s 9.5 million votes.
Looking back 1-2 years ago, we saw how popular and acceptable Mar Roxas was as senator and presidential timber before the death of President Corazon “Cory” Aquino as against Senator Loren Legarda, former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and then MMDA Chair Bayani “BF” Fernando. Six months ago and before the official campaign period, we saw Loren Legarda would more likely give Mar Roxas the run for the Vice-Presidency than Binay or anyone else. Giving way to P-Noy was very impressive and touching self-sacrifice that increased following and support for Mar Roxas so that initial surveys immediately put him way ahead by a mile, so to speak, and possible runaway winner.
Before the 90-day national campaign started, Mar Roxas led Loren Legarda in all surveys by over 15 points, Binay and Fernando by over 25 points. At start of official campaign, Mar Roxas increased his survey lead over Loren Legarda and Binay started to gain points but was still over 20 points behind Mar Roxas. Three weeks before the voting, Mar Roxas’ lead drops dramatically as Binay closes in after over-taking Loren Legarda. By the last survey published within 10 days of voting, it showed Binay in a statistical tie with Mar Roxas and Loren Legarda dropping far third seemingly out of contention already.
The last survey created impression to the electorate that Binay was tied with Mar Roxas or already pulling ahead and there was no time to contest or counter the impression. It conditioned a close Binay win that eventually showed a 700,000-vote margin. The last survey appeared timed to justify the close win and margin of Binay over Mar Roxas.
After canvassing, COMELEC and NAMFREL finally reported Binay won and led Mar Roxas by over 700,000 votes, with both getting over 10 million votes each, Loren Legarda garnering only over 3.5 million votes, BF Fernando getting barely 1.0 million votes and Edu Manzano obtaining only over 850,000 votes. Added up, the total votes counted for Vice-President was under 27.5 million votes out of 50.050 million registered voters for a 54.94% counted votes or turnout.
In the presidential race, P-Noy obtained almost 15.0 million votes, Estrada got over 9.5 million votes, Villar got almost 5.0 million votes, Teodoro got over 3.5 million votes, and Eddie Villanueva got a little more than 1.0 million votes. The total votes counted for President was under 34.5 million votes out of 50.050 million registered voters for a 68.93% counted votes or turnout.
There is about 14.0 % difference between total votes counted or turnout for President and for Vice-President (68.93% less 54.94%) or equivalent of about 7.0 million votes. Natural course of things, logic and reason do not support the 7.0 million vote difference as normal and justified invalid/null votes or ballots cast with no votes for Vice-President. Variance in counted votes or turnout for President and Vice-President cannot be so large if COMELEC reported general turnout across the country was almost 70% and in some provinces and cities up to 90%. The difference indicate irregularity in the final counts possibly in the form of manipulation in the counting of votes by PCOS somewhere or tampering the transmission of reports of votes from precincts and/or canvass of votes from some provinces and/or cities transmitted to the NBOC and parallel recipients.
It will be recalled, that during random testing of PCOS conducted by COMELEC before May 10, 2010, it was discovered some PCOS did not properly optically-scan filled ballots, as such, did not count marks or names correctly. It was also discovered by COMELEC that some PCOS made erroneous report of votes before actual use for counting and transmission of canvassed votes. The situations were corrected or remedied with replacement of the malfunctioning PCOS. But more notably, all CF cards had to be re-programmed and replaced earlier delivered CF cards in the 3-4 days before May 10, 2010. The activities were rushed and could not be closely controlled and monitored anymore but the problems were reported by COMELEC to have been corrected or remedied. It was therefore possible, the “operators” and conspirators had opportunity to introduce cheating through the PCOS and/or CF cards, not necessarily on a nationwide scale.
It will also be recalled several days into the canvassing, there were allegations of over voting in several areas in Visayas and Mindanao so that while average turnout was 60-70% from place to place across the country, there were alleged voter turnouts close to 100% and a few even exceeding 100%. While this may sound impossible, past experiences and prevailing local conditions would support it.
Meanwhile, there was separate allegation of former Governor Homobono Adaza that Manoling Morato testified on in Congress of people to have approached him a few days or weeks prior to elections and suggested manipulation of the votes and outcome in certain areas to make interested senatorial, vice-presidential and/or presidential candidates in the May 10, 2010 elections win for P 1.0 Billion. The offer would not sell to any presidential aspirant when P-Noy was already perceived to win by landslide. No senatorial aspirant would have P 1.0 Billion to avail the offer. Did VP Binay have that kind of money before elections or have the connections to arrange payment of P 1.0 Billion immediately or upon a deferred or staggered payment arrangement?
PROBABLE THEORIES AND POSTSCRIPTS.
Foregoing considered, it would appear that results in the presidential and vice-presidential elections on May 10, 2010 were possibly irregular and manipulated to favor VP Binay.
Manipulation may have been started by coming out with a last survey within ten days before elections that impressed a statistical tie between Mar Roxas and VP Binay to condition the electorate and general public with a close Binay win. For consistency and to support the survey, the margin of win would be made close or small to be credible – about 700,000 votes (former President Fidel Ramos won by about 800,000 votes over Senator Miriam Santiago). The real and true votes of Mar Roxas had to be reduced and bring VP Binay’s garnered votes to just slightly ahead of Mar Roxas within credible range, and Binay’s votes increased with added votes from Loren Legarda, BF Fernando and/or Mar Roxas. The significantly low votes of Legarda and/or Fernando and comparatively much lower votes of Mar Roxas as against P-Noy support the foregoing. Moreover, the 7.0 million invalid/null or no votes for vice-president support the foregoing.
To give credibility to Binay’s votes, the votes of Estrada had to be increased close to Binay’s votes as Estrada was supposed to carry the votes for the team or the other way around. If Estrada’s real and true votes were less than 5.0 million, which was more likely, the gap between him and Binay’s votes would be suspiciously wide and would render doubtful and unbelievable what Binay got. So, votes had to be taken from Villar, Teodoro and Villanueva to increase Estrada’s votes to a lesser gap with Binay’s votes.
P-Noy’s votes were real and true and could not be altered to make Estrada win. It was impossible to grab P-Noy’s votes and his election in any way credibly. The difference of the Iglesia ni Kristo block vote cannot be disregarded and off-setted. To cheat P-Noy would cause great and widespread protest, even violence. Estrada did not expect to win the Presidency over P-Noy to redeem himself. It was consolation to land second to P-Noy for his redemption.
The procedure and technology employed in the May 10, 2010 elections appeared and impressed to be credible to the electorate and rest of the world. However, the re-programmed and last-minute replacement and distribution of the CF cards gave opportunity to irregularity perhaps known to some Smartmatic officials but not to all COMELEC commissioners and not necessarily unknown to some provincial and/or city COMELEC officials and/or BOC members. Guarding the printing of ballots caught media and public eye intently but could have been wittingly or unwittingly diversionary; cheating through the ballot form would involve more people and logistics and more troublesome, vulnerable to easier discovery and detection. It was simpler and more discrete to cheat by creating diversionary situations with the ballot secrecy folders, testing the PCOS and re-programming and redistributing the CF cards. In a limited area and using a few PCOS and pre-programmed CF cards on election day, electronic cheating was possible in no way could be proved by hard evidence that events and circumstances heretofore discussed supported.
YES, there are reasons to believe, “Dagdag-Bawas” was employed in the May 10, 2010 presidential and vice-presidential elections as in 1992 and 1995, but this time in an electronic manner. Learning from 1992 and 1995, COMELEC tried to take more steps ahead but the “operators” had taken even more steps ahead to be discovered and detected.
In the election of George W. Bush to the American Presidency, the contest with Al Gore was very close. It was decided by electronic counting and canvassing of votes. It was decided by votes reported from Florida where the then Governor is a brother of George W. Bush.
Elections are exercises in democracy. Elections and democracy wear different hats and show different heads. They could be entertaining and reassuring even when already deceiving. They cannot be perfect as that would lose real and true color. The varying colors of the rainbow give life to it. Our democracy should be colorful to be alive, not just yellowish. And life must go on in our democracy, no matter what hat or head shows, and also colorful.