Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Little Bit of Politics

Get Real : Truth is Arroyo won
By Solita Collas- Monsod
Inquirer News Service

(PDI) Editor's Note: Published on Page A12 of the October 29, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

IT HAS been said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start thinking it is true. And this has obviously been taken to heart by various groups and individuals, who peddle their lies as “truth.” Unfortunately for them, there is another saying: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Let us try to “unfool” the gullible and/or expose the weak underbelly of one of the “truths” being peddled.

Item: “Gloria Arroyo is an illegitimate president [because she cheated to win].” This has been repeated most often, probably because the further claims of her detractors are based on this assertion, claims such as “she does not have to be impeached to kick her out,” “her illegitimacy makes it impossible for her to govern effectively” (so she must be made to resign or be kicked out), “she is not credible,” etc.

Let’s jog our memories a bit:
1. Voter preferences in the run-up to the 2004 elections, as recorded by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), which conducted polls every two weeks since the start of the campaign period, showed that while at the beginning (Jan. 16-28) the lead of Fernando Poe Jr. over Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was almost 10 percentage points (36.3 percent vs. 26.5 percent), this was whittled down so that a month later, they were running neck-and-neck, and this continued into March. By the second week of April, the polls showed Ms Arroyo ahead by almost five percentage points (35.3 percent vs. 30.8 percent), although this was not statistically significant (i.e., it still could go either way). But by the week before the elections (May 1-4), Ms Arroyo’s lead over Poe was significant (37 percent vs. 30 percent).

The other major polling organization, Pulse Asia, also noted the same trend, although its polls were taken at slightly different time periods: an increasing trend for Ms Arroyo and decreasing trend for Poe. Its last poll, conducted from April 26-29, showed Ms Arroyo leading, 37 percent vs. 31 percent.

Note that a six-point lead in voter preferences, if translated into actual votes, would imply a difference of 2.0-2.5 million votes between the two candidates, depending on whether we use total votes cast or total registered voters as base.

2. Exit polls conducted on election day itself by at least three media organizations (although only one of them may have used acceptable polling methods) validated the run-up polls. All of them showed Ms Arroyo as the winner.

3. The final official congressional canvass showed Ms Arroyo getting 40 percent of the votes cast, while Poe got 36.5 percent (a difference of 1.1 million votes), while the Namfrel Quick Count, based on 83 percent of total precincts (the election watchdog group Namfrel was not present in all precincts), showed Ms Arroyo with 39.4 percent and Poe with 36.8 percent (a difference of 700,000 votes).

All figures from different sources are within the same ball park, and all indicate that Ms Arroyo won. For those who think that the poll results should not be accepted, it should be pointed out that the head of the SWS is the first cousin of Poe. More importantly, since they are now using the same polling organizations to point out that Ms Arroyo has lost the trust of the nation, or that she is not satisfactory, let it be further pointed out that they cannot be selective in the use of poll results.

What is more, other circumstances obtaining during the campaign period support the conclusion that it is the claim of “illegitimacy” that is a lie: after all, her coalition party, K4, won 58 percent of senatorial seats, 87 percent of congressional seats, 85 percent of gubernatorial slots, 87 percent of city mayor seats, and 85 percent of all mayor seats. Either they carried her or she carried them, or there was some combination of both.

Could this have been the result of a grand conspiracy to commit massive cheating at all levels? But that is not what either the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) or the Namfrel thought. Said the prelates: “Gathered for the 89th CBCP Plenary Assembly of July 10-11 at Pius XII Center in Manila the bishops reviewed the conduct of the May 10th elections and their consequences for the future course of the country. Each bishop present was asked to comment on whether or not massive fraud in the conduct of the elections was observed by him and the volunteers in his diocese so as to have affected substantially the results of the elections. With only one or two exceptions, the rest of the bishops answered in the negative. This confirms our statement of June 1, 2004: ‘that there were some instances of cheating and violations of election law by political parties in their areas but these did not affect the voting in general.’ It is the view of the bishops that the results of the elections reflected the will of the Filipino people.”

Said Namfrel secretary general Bill Luz: “The results of the elections are credible and reflect the vote of the people. We didn’t see enough electoral anomalies at the national level to have a material effect on the national results.”

Then there was the endorsement (albeit last minute -- but this shows that they were jumping on the bandwagon) that Ms Arroyo received from the Iglesia ni Cristo and El Shaddai. And finally, it was generally acknowledged that Poe was shooting himself in the foot during the campaign, and that the opposition was split four ways. In other words, they did it to themselves.

Given all these, the bottom line is: Like it or not, Ms Arroyo is our legitimate President. Let us not allow ourselves to be misled by those who are themselves misled or who have their own political ambitions.


At Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:00:00 PM, Blogger droz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:01:00 PM, Blogger droz said...

demented = running + politics?

will d'demented run for politics and be the heir to the throne?


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