Saturday, May 19, 2007
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How the Cheaters Won

Because of my election work in 1996, 1998, 2004 and this year, I guess I can properly call myself an election lawyer.

First off, you cannot call yourself an election lawyer if you handled only winning candidates. As a matter of fact, the more losing candidates you handled, the more experience you acquire. You cannot call yourself an election lawyer if you appear in canvassing proceedings without conflict, or with a smooth sailing proceedings.

It is the conflict, the instances of cheating, the challenges and how a lawyer troubleshoots and overcomes these challenges that makes an ordinary lawyer an election lawyer.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying these things because I only represented lost causes. I say these because I have represented all cases through the years, winners and losers alike. My biggest winner was even the an uncheatable candidate who won the highest position in the land (but I digress...).

Anyway, comparing the 2004 and 2007 elections, the techniques used to cheat the will of the people have remained the same. Of course, it all boils down to money. Of course, most cheaters employed these techniques in combination, depending on the situation. But specifically the strategies used are:

1. Reducing opponent's votes. For this, cheaters use a variety of techniques such as negative vote-buying (paying off people not to vote for their candidate, and using indelible ink to guarantee it), voter disenfranchisement, threats and intimidation

2. Increasing own votes. For this, cheaters pad the voter's list with known supporters, stuff the ballot box or ever pre-fill the election returns.

3. Dagdag-bawas (Increase-Decrease) Operations. Cheaters deliberately manipulate the figures when lifting them from election returns to the certificates of canvass. For example, add "1 " behind a "10,000" will give you "100,001" but add 1 in front, you get "110,000" for even more gain. They can likewise add a small stroke to "1" to make it "7," or turn a "3" into an "8" by just adding strokes.

Mind boggling...

But a glimmer of hope shone when due to vigilance, a Catholic priest who just campaigned for 45 days bested two seasoned politicians to bag the governorship of Pampanga...

That's the lesson for next elections... eternal vigilance...and probably automation...

Anyway, have a happy weekend. I'm still working...

1 Objection(s):

At 5:20 AM, Anonymous Mia said...

Tito, have you watched the CCTA's documentary "At All Cost" yet? It details the dagdag bawas in the most recent presidential elections. You can download it here:


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