Aquino Ahead, But Automation Woes Still Cloud Philippine Election
May 7, 2010
48 hours before the polls open on Monday, May 10, the Philippines is taking a deep breath before the big plunge. On Friday afternoon the Supreme Court held a special session and dismissed 11th-hour petitions to halt the elections due to concerns over the need to replace faulty memory cards in the 80,000 voting machines. Now, the candidates are all holding their final rallies (known as miting de avance) at which festivities overshadow any concerns over real issues.
The Noynoy Aquino camp remains tense, despite his wide lead in all the polls (at 42 percent, according to Social Weather Station’s final poll). One worry is for their Vice Presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, who is now tied in the polls with Makati Mayor Binay. A number of advertisements have come out for “NoyBi” (votes are separately cast for president and vice president), so the Aquino campaign has had to reiterate that “NoyMar” is their official slate, not least because Noynoy wants to give Mar a significant partnership role (Roxas was in the cabinet as Secretary of Trade in Industry on two occasions, so he has significant executive experience). Roxas points out that the surveys showing the two tied came out before the influential Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) endorsed him along with Noynoy. Some dispute the effect of such endorsements by religious groups, but the INC endorsement probably will add hundreds of thousands of votes.
However, a lead of only a few percentage points may cause problems, given doubts about the new Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) technology. A serious bug was detected in final testing on Monday, May 3 – quickly diagnosed by computer technicians, 76,000 compact flash cards were re-programmed by Friday but the challenge getting them back to the machines in precincts throughout the archipelago by Monday looms large. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) claims 98 percent readiness, but there have reportedly been some delays. Threats such as attacks by the communist New People’s Army and incidents of a local candidate putting spikes on a road have been reported. “Netizens” are ready to use the Internet to map problems in the elections.
In the face of all this, turnout is expected to be high (75 to 80 percent), and unlike in the United Kingdom, voters in long queues will be allowed to vote even after the scheduled close of polling. Overseas voting turnout is running ahead of the last election and the large community of American Filipinos is following events closely. Check back here on Wednesday, May 12, for an update on election results, 48 hours after voters head to the polls.
Steven Rood is The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative for the Philippines and Pacific Island Nations. He can be reached at [email protected].
About our blog, In AsiaIn Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia\’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.
In Asia is posted and distributed every Wednesday evening, Pacific Time and is accessible via email and RSS. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].
ContactFor questions about In Asia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].
The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
PO Box 193223
San Francisco, CA 94119-3223
THE LATEST ACROSS ASIA
The Asia Foundation Partners with MasterCard and Vietnam Bank for Social Policies on Mobile Banking Service
February 23, 2017
The Power of the Political Voice: Women as Voters, Candidates and Activists
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Better Legal Education Key to Strengthening Rule of Law in Afghanistan
February 22, 2017
Six Stories, Six Paths to Development Online Platforms as Drivers of Inclusive Growth
February 20, 2017
Asia Foundation Releases Paper: Online Platforms as Drivers of Inclusive Growth
February 20, 2017
President Trump and the Future of US-Asia Relations: A View from the West Coast
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Asian Views on America's Role in Asia
Recommendations for the Incoming U.S. President on Policy Towards Asia