Trash the Maguindanao vote

Just forget about Maguindanao.

Wow. Really? Silence more than 300,000 200,000 (thanks, Choi) voters?
What happened to all the protestations and rhetoric about protecting against disenfranchisement?


29 Responses

  1. So what’s the plan for Maguindanao? You can’t declare failure if the COMELEC has proclaimed local winners, and you can’t count the votes from the records because they were–ahem–stolen.

    In a previous comment I said we expected perfection from the COMELEC, but personally, I’d be happy with competence. Your guy Bedol is something else.

  2. Hi James!

    First, would you clarify if the 300,000 votes include the City of Cotabato. I thought the contested COC of Maguindanao doesn’t include Cotabato City and only 213,000 votes are involved.

    I for one believe elections were held in Maguindao on May 14th (even though I’m here in the US. Try to read But, since in 20 of 22 towns local candidates run unopposed, this “probably” resulted in low turn-out of voters. A candidate who run unopposed needs only 1-vote to be declared winner. For sure those who doesn’t like the candidate/s won’t go out to vote. It’s silly, you know.

    These local candidates were proclaimed winners. How could there be failure of elections?

    What’s in question is the 199,000 who actually voted (according to the COC) out of 213,000 voters or 93.5% turn-out. This is unbelievable. The same with the 8 candidates from TU getting 195,000 votes each and 19 other candidates getting zero vote are statistically improbable. Magic ba!

    How could there be failure of elections when Provincial Canvassing were held though the result is questioned? Manufactured ba!

    Now, who disenfranchised the people of Maguindanao?


  3. Hi Jeg.

    He is something isn’t he? And he is now being investigated by the COMELEC and he is in jeopardy of facing administrative and criminal sanction. Methinks, Jeg, that it matters that the systems of accountability are working.

  4. Hi Choi,

    I made the correction as you pointed out. Cotabato City shouldn’t be included in the estimate, leaving 213,000++ votes uncounted in case the Maguindanao results are scrapped.

    Remember we asked for the Municipal COCs. None were forthcoming. Now Bedol says they were stolen – a story that no one believes. Now, if we have no MCOCs, what other proof is there that voting actually took place? You will probably say the fact of proclamation, like the opposition says.

    But then again, might not these proclamations have been the product of manufactured returns as well? As you pointed out, most of the candidates ran unopposed. In a situation like that, who would complain about a manufactured proclamation? The fact that the MCOCs cannot be found creates a significant cloud of doubt on the righteousness of these proclamations. And it is precisely this cloud of doubt that we had hoped to dispel with the hearings we called. So far, tho, no joy in that department.

    The opposition then says we have to presume regularity of performance of official functions by the COMELEC – funny no one chokes on the irony of this statement issuing from the same group of people who regularly presume irregularities by the COMELEC sans proof (and no, they can’t be blamed for always presuming the worst of the COMELEC, alright?). That’s a valid point, except that that presumption carries the collatilla “everything else being copacetic.” But see, not everything is copacetic in this case.

    So the PCOC results are not just questioned – it now appears that they have no basis in provable fact. We don’t have the MCOCs; Bedol claims to have lost them; and the local EOs haven’t come forward to defend their proclamations, i.e., to loudly protest that elections did happen and that their proclamations were in order. Is that not reason enough to doubt the veracity of the presumption?

    Now, what I want to know is why shouldn’t we hold special elections? Why should the COMELEC be prevented from correcting a situation that screams for correction? What is so spooky about holding new elections in Maguindanao?

  5. There were MCOCs but they were stolen, according to Bedol’s testimony. Doesnt that at least indicate that elections took place? How could MCOCs that didnt exist be stolen? Bedol’s credibility is another matter though, if indeed he has any.

    As for special elections, I suppose one could argue that they should be held. But is there any legal basis for holding them if it turns out in the hearing that there isnt any failure of elections?

    Note: Stop calling them ‘the opposition’. Just a matter of propriety. It gives the impression that the COMELEC is on the administration’s side (and Im sure youre aware of these accusations). Call them GO lawyers or whatever.

  6. “There were MCOCs but they were stolen, according to Bedol’s testimony. Doesnt that at least indicate that elections took place? How could MCOCs that didnt exist be stolen? Bedol’s credibility is another matter though, if indeed he has any.”

    See here. At the beginning of this paragraph, you use Bedol’s word to bolster the idea that elections were held; in the next breath, you say we can’t believe Bedol. So which is it? 🙂

    The purpose of the hearing is precisely to determine whether failure should be declared. If it appears from the hearings that it shouldn’t, then it won’t. Why assume otherwise?

    As for your note, calling them the opposition does not make the COMELEC partisan. No breach in propriety there. In any case, I see your point.

  7. Hi James,

    Why is COMELEC asking the local candidates to produce “proof” of proclamation when in fact this document/s originated from the Board of Canvassers which are under COMELEC? Why not compel the MBOCs to produce all the documents they have? There are 7copies of the MCOC. The Chairman of the MBOC kept the 4th copy while the 3rd Copy goes to COMELEC Main Office in Manila. Are all 7-copies “stolen” also??!

    My opinion is correcting the situation by calling for special elections (hoping that this will hold on legal ground… will reach Supreme Court… and get delayed more) in Maguidanao for all positions “may not” be a problem for local candidates. Anyway most of them are unopposed. Although they are saying they will oppose holding another elections. For senatorial elections, it would matter only for candidates Zubiri and Pimentel. This would be unfair for the whole country because the 12th Senator will be decided by the people of Maguindanao only.

    To be frank, calling for special polls (to me) will drag the whole COMELEC to a mess (again).
    This should have been corrected earlier by not appointing people involved in the “Hello Garci” to the same ARMM Provinces.

    My impression is… “some people” in COMELEC (except you of course) is up to something….and it’s happening.

    Please enlighten or prove me wrong.


  8. Hi Choi,

    Why not ask local candidates to produce proof of their righteous proclamation? Like I said, proceeding from the strong indications that elections were merely simulated, why not ask those who might have benefited from that simulation to explain themselves?

    “This would be unfair for the whole country because the 12th Senator will be decided by the people of Maguindanao only.” I don’t understand why you think this. The 12th Senator will be decided by the votes received from all over the country. It’s not as if the tally gets reset to all-zero before the Maguindanao votes are counted. It just so happens that the votes from Maguindanao will be the last to be counted. What’s wrong with that?

    How can anyone even hope to monkey with the special elections when everyone and his mother will be focusing on it, as it happens (assuming it happens). All watchdogs will be there, every kibitzer will insist on being given an all-access pass to every single proceeding, and the entire en banc will be monitoring the whole exercise closely.

    Enlightenment is sometimes a matter of choice, and with regard to being proven wrong, it all really depends on what sort of proof you’re willing to accept eh? I hope you’re not one of those who’ve made up their minds on what the result should be and will reject any other outcome. 🙂

  9. See here. At the beginning of this paragraph, you use Bedol’s word to bolster the idea that elections were held; in the next breath, you say we can’t believe Bedol. So which is it?

    Youve answered your own question: That’s for the hearing to decide. Youre the ones conducting it. Im an observer. 🙂

  10. James,

    Why not ask the local winners? According to an interview with Cong. Datumanong, “I’m already proclaimed. I’m no longer under COMELEC.” I agree with him. See what happened last Monday? Nobody showed up.

    As I mentioned earlier, this “proof of proclamation” originates from the Board of Canvasser which is under COMELEC. I read that Commissioner Ferrer already subpoenaed all the MBOCs to appear before the Task Force Maguindanao which he headed. At least it’s moving forward.
    We’ll see if all MBOCs will follow the “stolen” scenario.

    Canvassing or counting last is a lot different from voting last. This is what will happen if COMELEC will conduct another round of voting. The voters of Maguindanao already knew that their votes are only important for Zubiri or Pimentel. There will be a lot of political pressure to local officials and ordinary people. There will be another round of “bidding”. And, again endangering lives.

    You know, I’m an analytical person and will try to understand how the final result will come about. I only have one request. Why not publish on COMELEC’s website/s copies of all COC’s?
    I know COMELEC keeps electronic copy of all of these COCs and audited results. Why not share it to everyone? Transparency is a necessity to honesty and credibility.

    I hope you’re getting my point. Obviously, I’m not an expert in the English language.

    Thanks for your time.


  11. James,

    This may be off topic but a supplementary to my previous comment. The latest Provincial Tally for Senatorial Elections posted at is as of May 28th. By now, audited results up to Basilan should have been posted already. Maybe you can do something about this. Thanks.


  12. i undrstnd, Choi. But then again, are we supposed to just junk the maguindanao vote, as i originally asked? If you’re ok with that, well then that’s your call. We can’t be ok with that, i’m afraid.

    Posting coc’s? You mean those coc’s already vetted by lawyrs from both sides of the political divide? We don’t have scanned images of those.

    BagongBotante? I’ll fix that right away.

  13. The latest report on bagongbotante is as of June 6, Choi. Not May 28. As for posting the most recent results, we have to wait for the audited and final soft copy to issue from the National Board of Canvassers before we can post it on bagongbotante.Rest assured that once we get the appropriate permissions, we will be posting the results right away.

  14. James,

    The June 6 (Report#25) has the Regional breakdown only. I’m looking for the Provincial breakdown. Their latest is May 28 (Report #17).

    I’m not saying to junk the Maguindanao vote right away. The COMELEC has to dig deeper. Act and investigate right away. Yes, with HASTE! The Task Force is too slow. Why not go to Maguindanao and do the investigations there? Imagine asking all local EOs and MBOCs to go to Manila. Who will pay for their expenses? The taxpayers, right? Is it not cheaper and more appropriate if the investigating body will go there? They can ask anybody there if they really want to know the truth.

    You know what, my impression is that COMELEC prefers to hold special elections than to know the truth (first) on what really happened in Maguindanao. So, what’s the acountability of Atty. Bedol and company about this?



  15. investigating is exactly what we’re doing, choi. And yes, we intend 2 go to maguindanao, but the counsels of GO are opposing it. It’s nice to know that on this score at least we agree.

    Spcl elections and the truth are not mutually exclusive. Its not an either – or proposition or even a chicken and egg problem. Which is why both the hearings for special elections and the TF proceedings are going on simultaneously.

  16. James,

    I read from newspapers that the Commission already received “proofs” that the local candidates were duly proclaimed and there are accountable documents that support the proclamation. How true is this?

    If this is true, then I’m correct in believing that elections were really held on May 14th.
    The remaining issue now is the validity of the Bedol COC. I guess, you won’t disagree with me that this COC contained statistically improbable data. How?

    I reviewed the Mindanews report on May 16th and here are the important data:
    The PBOC already canvassed 815 of 1,116 precincts from 17 of 22 towns.
    Voters turn-out were very high. No town registered below 90% with the town of Datu Unsay having the highest at 99.8%.

    Singson topped the initial result with 136,044 votes. Followed by COMELECs fevorite Zubiri with 133,321. The rest are Sotto 132,103, Recto 130,286. Arroyo and Defensor tied with 126,597. Montano 121,775. Angara 99,341. Oreta 99,266. Magsaysay 94,129 and Kiram 92,234.

    At 13th place Escudero 39,824. Honasan 32,236. Legarda 31,456. Pimentel 29,533 and Villar 27,091. No other data for other candidates were included in the May 16th report.
    Remained to be canvassed as of this date were results from the 5 towns of Shariff Aguak, Buluan, Mangudadatu, Talitay and South Upi. These towns have a total of 58,580 voters.

    On May 20th, Mindanews reported the final results which Bedol “authenticated”.
    The PBOC finished the canvassing on May 17th and were able to canvass 1,078 of 1,116 precincts from the 22 towns with a total of 199,037 voters who actually voted.

    In the final tally, Singson got 196,157. Zubiri 195,823. Sotto 195,575. Recto 195,454. Angara 195, 171. Arroyo 194,803. Pichay 194,571. Defensor 194,028. Montano 88,751. Magsaysay 87,236. Oreta 87,053. And Kiram 86,122.

    13th Escudero 85,037. Villar 82,735. Legarda 70,138. Honasan 69,613. Pimentel 67,057 and Pangilinan 52,355. All the other candidates received “zero” votes.

    From these two results (partial and final) you can conclude that these are manufactured due to statistical improbability. There’s no other option now but for COMELEC to trash this COC.


  17. Choi, I truly admire the attention you’re devoting to this issue.


    1. We’ve already declared the COC’s to be statistically improbable.
    2. Because they were improbable, we set the COC’s aside. Or if you prefer, we’ve already ‘trashed’ it.
    3. We received some documents that seem to indicate elections had taken place, but these have to be validated. Also, the EOs have claimed that they have other evidence in Maguindanao.
    4. The Chairman will therefore go to Maguindanao to examine the evidence claimed by the EO to exist and on that basis, determine whether a re-canvass of municipal COCs is in order.

  18. James,

    Actually, I’m devoting much time to the whole electoral exercise as a hobby and/or at least somehow help clean it.

    I know you guys are working for honest and orderly elections. But, it’s unfortunate to say that it’s a long way to go to achieve HOPE. The COMELEC has to start firing people like Atty. Bedol.

    Please follow-up the Provincial Tallies. I could not understand the delay in posting them. Tnx.


  19. James,

    Irregardless of the legality of the COMELEC move to go to Maguindano, personally I support it.
    I’m hoping though that Chairman Abalos will really be impartial in this investigation.
    I’m not particular to finding “genuine” MCOCs and SOVs because these can be done by a few considering that it’s been 5-weeks after election day.
    If I may suggest for the COMELEC Team to take a look at the voting records in the town of Datu Unsay as a pilot area. This town is just east and next to the capital town of Shariff Aguak.
    According to the Mindanews report, in Datu Unsay only 22 out of 10,172 voters did not vote or a 99.8% turn-out. Maybe the Team can take a look at the Book of Voters and check the fingerprints and signatures in some of the 50 precincts in the town.
    The turn-out is really suspect as well as the number of voters considering that the year 2000 census of population for this town was only 12,229. In 2004, the number of registered voters was only 7,970 and 7,947 were recorded to have voted.
    Believe it or not, but it looks that they’re doing this improbability again and again…


  20. James,

    So, NBOC already canvassed the “re-manufactured” COC. As a personal opinion, do you think it’s no longer “statistically improbable” that’s why the NBOC canvassed it?
    How about just for the sake of discussion, you prove to me that it’s NOT statistically improbable and on the other hand I will prove to you how and why I believe it’s statistically improbable?


  21. Choi,

    I don’t think you need me to argue that it’s not statistically improbable. As it is, I bet you’re already rarin’ to tell me how and why it is, so go ahead. 🙂

  22. James,

    You read my mind. I’m not also expecting you to say something against the COMELECs action/s.
    Anyway, I will try to explain how and why the Maguindanao result is statistically improbable.

    Here are the reasons:
    1. ZERO VOTE by a candidate at provincial level.
    2. ZERO VOTE by 19-candidates per COC.
    3. TOO HIGH VOTE received by a candidate per COC.
    4. TOO HIGH VOTES received by 8-TU candidates per COC.
    5. TOO HIGH TOTAL VOTES received by all candidates per COC.

    Why is the ZERO VOTE by a candidate at provincial level is statistically improbable?

    Because NO candidate for national position (President, VP or Senator) received ZERO VOTE in any Philippine Elections at provincial level, specially in a province like Maguindanao with 213,000 registered voters.
    In this elections, in Batanes with only 9,000 voters, the last ranked (#37) candidate Orpilla got 27 votes.

    Why is the ZERO VOTE by 19-candidates per COC is statistically improbable?

    Because in this elections where the NBOC canvassed 258 COCs, there’s no single COC with 2 or more who actually voted had 19-candidates getting ZERO VOTE.

    In the COC of Maldives, only 2 voted and 17-candidates got ZERO VOTE.
    In the COC of Afghanistan, 9 voted and 13-candidates got ZERO VOTE.
    In the COC of India, 40 voted and 4-candidates got ZERO VOTE.
    In the COC of New Zealand, 60 voted and NO candidate got ZERO VOTE.

    To be continued….

  23. James,

    The data I used are from COMELEC website. So, anyone who has internet access can verify.

    Here’s Part II.

    Why is the TOO HIGH VOTE received by a candidate statistically improbable?

    Because NO candidate garnered votes more than 90% of the registered voters in any of the 258 COCs. Ideally, the votes garnered should be compared with the number of voters who actually voted. But, the COMELEC data are incomplete on the actual voters.

    In Maguindanao, the Senatorial topnocher got 195,823 votes. Considering that only 1,078 precincts out of 1,116 were canvassed, the topnother got an equivalent of 95% of the registered voters.

    In this elections, the national average for topnothers in all 105 COCs (Total of AOV is considered 1-COC) is 44% only. The topnotcher in Maguindanao got more than twice the national average.

    Out of the 105 COCs, here is the summary of the Topnotchers with percentage of votes:
    1. LEGARDA topped in 39 COCs, the highest in La Union and Ilocos Norte with 59%.
    2. ESCUDERO topped in 30 COCs, the highest in Bataan with 58%. He also topped in his home province of Sorsogon with 57%.
    3. ZUBIRI topped in 6 COCs, the highest is Maguindanao, 95%. He also topped the Local Absentee with 72% and his home province of Bukidnon with 55% only.
    4. ANGARA topped in 5 COCs, the highest in his home province of Aurora with 49%.
    5. PICHAY topped in 5 COCs, the highest in his home province of Surigao del Sur with 46%.
    6. PANGILINAN topped in 4 COCs, the highest in Cebu City with 43%. He also topped in his home province of Pampanga with 42%.
    7. LACSON topped in 3 COCs, the highest in his home province of Cavite with 50%.
    8. ARROYO topped in 3 COCs, the highest in Albay with 48%. He also topped in his home province of Camarines Sur with 46%.
    9. VILLAR topped in 3 COCs, the highest is in his home city of Las Pinas with 44%.
    10. KIRAM topped in 3 COCs in ARMM, the highest in Lanao del Sur with 40% (excluding the latest special polls on June 20th).
    11. SINGSON topped in his home province of Ilocos Sur with 60%.
    12. MONTANO topped in his home province of Bohol with 56%.
    13. AQUINO topped in his home province of Tarlac with 53%.
    14. PAREDES topped in his home province of Ifugao with 40%.

    Going back to ZUBIRI’s topping Maguindanao (95%) and the Local Absentee (72%), the percentages are TOO HIGH than the national average of 44% and in any of the topnotchers in all the other COCs. I could not understand also his connections or affiliations in these two areas why he’s the topnotcher.

    ZUBIRI also topped in Lanao del Norte with 34%. But, the NAMFREL tally from 77% precincts in the province, ZUBIRI is ranked 8th. According to reports (which you can verify James), in 2-towns ( Salvador and Sultan Naga Dimaporo) where NAMFREL do not have tallies, he got 40,000 votes from 45,000 registered voters. These towns pushed him to #1 in the province.

    To be continued….

  24. bottom line, choi, improbable does not mean impossible. It only means unlikely, which means that it can still happen. And that’s why the SC has consistently rejectd statimprob as a grd for anulment of results UNLESS the case is virtually identical in factual antecedents to the Lagumbay case.
    The problem in Maguindanao isn’t even close, Choi, and that’s why no injunction has been issued by the SC against our continuing the canvass.
    The SC also said that if anyone thnks differently -like u do- they shld take it up with the SET, rather than seek the disenfranchisement of Maguindanao.

  25. James,

    It is impossible if the elections is honest. It is possible if it’s manufactured.

    The SC rejected to issue TRO because it’s premature and Pimentel did not presented any evidence. Since the new COC has beed canvassed, then let’s see what the final ruling will be.

    I guess it’s futile to explain the other ways to prove statistical improbability. Bottom line, numbers do not lie. I’m just hoping that this won’t become a precedent. If it can be done in Maguindanao, it can be done somewhere else. As you said, it’s not impossible.

    Anyway, the victim still has the SET to spend his money and hope to get it resolved (if ever) before the next elections. The beneficiary already spent his. And, he wants to be proclaimed of course.

  26. James,

    FYI. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism finally came out with two(2) special reports regarding the doubtful elections in Maguindanao. Below are the links:

  27. When will the special elections in Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte?

  28. Hi matthew. Thanks for dropping by. Subject to confirmation, I believe the special elex in pantao ragat have been scheduled for July 23

  29. James,

    Is it in Pantao-Ragat or Pantar, Lanao del Norte?

    Would you please enlighten us regarding the failure of elections here. I read there will be re-registration of voters before the elections, right?

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