Learning from historical statistics in Philippine presidential polls

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 7, 2021 - 12:00am

Since all the other writers are counting the rates of infections and deaths due to COVID, this column focuses on the future presidential polls, with the hope that the Filipino electorate may learn from the lessons of history. We look at the degree of participation and the number of votes garnered by the winners and the losers. When the two-party system was desecrated by the martial law dictator, we ceased to elect a truly majority president. Presidents Duterte, Pinoy, GMA, and FVR were all elected by a mere plurality.

In 2016, there were 55.74 million registered voters but only 45M or 81% actually voted and only 42.5M were counted as valid votes. No less than 2.4M votes or 5.4% were invalidated. The winner, Rodrigo Duterte garnered 16.6M votes or only 39% of the total valid votes, while Mar Roxas got 9.9M or 23.45%; Grace Poe, 9.1M or 21.39%; Jojo Binay 5.4M or 12.73% and Miriam Santiago 1.5M or 3.2%. Had Grace Poe supported Roxas, Duterte might have lost by about 2 million votes. The votes in Luzon were divided while the south went almost solid for the winner. In the 2010 presidential polls, registered voters were 51.3M but only 38.1M voted or a mere 74.3 %. PNoy got 15.2M or 42%; Erap garnered 9.4M, 26 %; Villar 5.6M or 15.42%; Gibo got 4M or 11.3%; Bro. Eddie, 1.1M or 3.12% and Gordon half a million or a mere 1.4%. Even if the votes of Erap and Villar were combined, PNoy still would have won. Multiple candidates make it hard to have a majority president.

In 2004, there were 43.9M registered voters but only 33.5M voted or a mere 76.34%. GMA won a controversial 12.9M votes over Fernando Poe's 11.8M. Lacson garnered 3.5M, Roco got 2.1M while Bro. Eddie got 1.9M votes. Had FPJ and GMA fought one-on-one, GMA would have been defeated. The opposition bets were fragmented and GMA divided and conquered all of them. In 1998, 33.9M voters were registered, 86.4% voted. Erap won with 10.7M, a mere 40% but de Venecia was far behind with 4.2M or 16% and Roco with 3.7M and Emilio Osmeña 3.3M; Alfredo Lim, Renato de Villa with 1.3M, and Miriam with 797,296 votes while Enrile got 343,139 votes. In 1992, after Cory Aquino's term, there were 32M voters but only 75.46% voted or 24.25M. FVR, Cory's bet, got 5.3M over Miriam's 4.5M and Danding Cojuangco's 4.1M, Mitra's 3.3M, Imelda's 2.33M, Salonga's 2.30M, and Laurel's 770,046 votes. Had Miriam and FVR fought one-on-one, FVR would have lost overwhelmingly. It was commonly said that Miriam won in the voting but lost in the counting.

In 1986 snap polls, 26.2M were registered but only 20.7M or 78.8% voted. Marcos won the official Comelec count with 10.8M or 53.62% while Cory got 9.3M or 46.1%. But it was claimed by Namfrel partial and unofficial count that Cory won. That became academic since the EDSA Revolt annulled the polls and Cory assumed as revolutionary president under the so-called Freedom Constitution. The 1981 election, under martial law, was supposed to be a farce but Comelec officially certified it. There were 27M voters but only 21.8M or 81% voted. Marcos got an incredible 18.3M, or a whopping 88.02%, and his “company union” opposition Alejo Santos garnered a laughable 1.7M. There were 11 other “crazy bets” palpably planted to serve as props for a desecrated democracy. In 1969, Marcos won with 5M (62.2%) over Serging Osmeña Jr.'s 3M (37.75%). In 1965, Marcos won with 3.8M votes or 51.9% over Macapagal's 3.1M (42.8%). In 1961, Macapagal with 3.5M votes (55%) over Garcia who got 2.9M or 45%.

In 1957, Garcia won with 2M votes (41.2%) over Yulo with 1.3M (27%) and Manahan 1M or 21%. In 1953, Magsaysay with 3M (69%) won over his former boss, Quirino 1.3M (31%). In 1949, Quirino won with 1.8M (51%) over Laurel, 1.3M or 37.22%. In 1946, Roxas won with 1.3M (53.93%) over Don Sergio Osmeña Sr., with 1.1M (45.72%). Laurel was not elected but installed by the Japanese in 1943. In 1941, Quezon was reelected with 81.76% or 1.3M over Juan Sumulong (Cory's grandpa) with only 18%. In 1935, Quezon got 68% over Emilio Aguinaldo, 18%, and Aglipay's 14%. Aguinaldo was not elected in 1898. He was installed by the Tejeros Convention, an assembly that was annulled by the Katipunan supremo, Andres Bonifacio. These numbers tell a lot of stories, if only I had enough space.

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