Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Who shall guard the guardians themselves?
Former COMELEC Commissioner Luzviminda Tancangco must be extremely happy these days. Her erstwhile bete noire, the NAMFREL, is finally on the receiving end of public ridicule following Roberto Verzola’s allegations that the watchdog organization was guilty of bias in favor of President Arroyo during the last presidential elections.

Verzola says that the
NAMFREL tally shows clear signs of manipulation through selective tabulation in favor of GMA, making her lead appear to be larger than it really was. As an observer of the NAMFREL operations, Verzola noticed that the NAMFREL was counting GMA’s votes faster than FPJ’s, making it appear GMA had a more sizeable lead than she probably, in truth, had. The votes from known bailiwicks of FPJ, according to Verzola, were suspiciously de-prioritized in the tabulation. Also without completely counting all the votes, the COMELEC pronounced GMA the winner by a lead of 681, 000 votes. Given the trending skew of NAMFREL in favor of GMA, saving FPJ’s votes for last, and the incompleteness of NAMFREL’s tabulations of votes, there is, according to Verzola, a slight possibility that it was FPJ who actually won the elections albeit by a slim margin.

Verzola says that:

NAMFREL officials appear to be keeping the truth from the public, by 1) not including in their system design a provincial or regional breakdown of precincts counted; 2) not releasing this breakdown despite strong demands by the opposition, the media and election watchers; 3) continuing to refuse to release this information today despite repeated requests, and 4) keeping silent on the major discrepancies between their tally and the Congress canvass.

With NAMFREL’s reputation now in question, who shall we trust to tell us the truth the next time we have elections? Or should we begin reading Tancangco’s dissertation on the questionable performance of NAMFREL in the1986 snap elections?

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