Fraud: Gloria M. Arroyo and the May 2004 Elections
Published by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)
Alleged poll fraud has been for the most part the main trigger behind major challenges to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s regime in the last two years.A new book from the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) – Fraud: Gloria M. Arroyo and the May 2004 Elections – should be expected to make the specter loom more ominously over Arroyo’s head. It shows just how massively and systematically the May 2004 presidential election was waylaid.
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
The ghost of alleged electoral fraud has not ceased to haunt President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo since 2004, when she was supposed to have won a fresh mandate three years after being catapulted to power through a popular uprising. In fact alleged poll fraud has been for the most part the main trigger behind major challenges to her regime in the last two years.
A new book from the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) – Fraud: Gloria M. Arroyo and the May 2004 Elections – should be expected to make the specter loom more ominously over Arroyo’s head. It shows just how massively and systematically the May 2004 presidential election was waylaid.
Edited by Bobby M. Tuazon, director of CenPEG’s Policy Study, Publication and Advocacy (PSPA) program, the book features analyses by freelance writer Rodolfo Desuasido, information technology expert Roberto Verzola, and lawyer Cleto Villacorta – as well as major reports and documents from the Citizens’ Congress for Truth and Accountability (CCTA), the church-initiated poll monitor Patriots, and the minority members of the Joint Committee of Congress.
“Fraud does two exemplary things in addressing the continuing political crisis provoked by the Arroyo administration: it brings together in a convenient collection hitherto inaccessible major documents about the crisis and situates the fraudulent 2004 elections in the context of deeper historical and structural forces,” writes Temario C. Rivera, a professor of comparative politics at the International Christian University in Tokyo and a CenPEG board member, in his preface.
Desuasido’s analysis, “Fraud in the May 2004 Elections,” gives a broad overview of how the fraud was committed in what is perhaps the most hotly-contested election in Philippine history. He shows it all: the reenactment of the 2003 budget, which according to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. gave Arroyo some P100 billion in infrastructure funds to manipulate, the use of public resources in election campaigns, controversial appointments before the polls to strategic government posts; character assassination against actor Fernando Poe Jr., Arroyo’s main opponent; disenfranchisement of voters, manipulation of election results, canvassing railroad, and trending in the electoral count.
The CCTA report, among other things, shows how electoral fraud was committed through various eyewitness accounts, affidavits, documents, and election materials.
Verzola’s two papers on the tally conducted by the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) show statistical improbabilities that cast doubt on the poll monitoring body’s figures. The report by the minority members of the Joint Committee of Congress centers on the tampering of election documents and the discrepancies that arose as a result.
Patriots’ report focused on irregularities from the precinct to provincial levels, voter disenfranchisement, partisan activities by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as well as their violations of election procedure, and the terrorization of political opponents and their supporters, voters and personnel.
Villacorta’s article on the party-list system, “Has the Party List Law Broadened Popular Participation in Governance?” is an incisive legal study on what he describes as the limited effectiveness of a system supposedly intended to expand representation for underrepresented sectors. His article “The Commission of Fraud: Patronage Politics in the Commission on Elections” meanwhile exposes the poll body’s historical lack of integrity and independence.
All together, the articles and documents in Fraud: Gloria M. Arroyo and the May 2004 Elections give a total picture of how the controversial presidential poll of two years ago was desecrated. The patterns are there, the numbers are there – all pointing to a wholesale messing with the people’s will. Bulatlat