Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Who Won the Presidential Elections?

I was just watching ANC and chanced upon Karmina Constantino's interview of Robert Verzola, author of the paper "The True Results of the 2004 Presidential Elections Based on the NAMFREL Tally: A Final Report," published in Kasarinlan, supposedly a peer-reviewed journal. After reading his paper a number of times (Versola is an awful writer, IMHO), here are my thoughts about his study.

One of Verzola's main conclusions (there are other conclusions that I would like to ignore to keep this post short) is that there was cheating in 3 regions in Mindanao -- ARMM, Central Mindanao, and Northern Mindanao -- where FPJ leads in the NAMFREL tally were either reduced or eventually converted into GMA leads in the congressional tally. This conclusion has become relevant again in light of the Hello Garci audio recordings, which suggest cheating specifically in these areas.

I do not dispute his observation that FPJ leads disappeared in these three regions but I think that cheating is only of possible explanation for the discrepancy in the results. It may well have been the case that GMA was more popular in harder to reach rural precints or less developed provinces so election returns from these areas were counted later. Its also the case that the final congressional tally is consistent with poll results (exit polls as well as voter surveys (see graphic) prior to the election) which show GMA winning Mindanao by a wide margin.

I'm not saying he's wrong, only that he never presents anything to back up his claim that cheating occurred.


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