Philippine general election, 2004

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Presidential elections, legislative elections and local elections were held in the Philippines on May 10, 2004. In the presidential election, incumbent president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo successfully won a full six-year term as President, with a margin of just over one million votes over her leading opponent, highly popular movie actor Fernando Poe, Jr..

The elections were notable for several reasons. This election first saw the implementation of the Absentee Voting Bill, which enabled Filipinos in over 70 countries to vote. This is also the first election since the 1986 EDSA Revolution where an incumbent President ran for election. Under the 1987 Constitution, an elected president cannot run for another term. However, Arroyo was not elected president, but instead succeeded ousted President Joseph Estrada, who was impeached with charges of plunder and corruption in 2000 (although he was not convicted in the trial that followed).

Moreover, this was the first time since 1986 that both president and vice president were under the same party/coalition. This election was also held at a period in modern Philippines marked by serious political polarization. This resulted in lesser candidates for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections compared to the 1992 and 1998 elections.

Presidential election results map. The colours indicate provinces where a candidate gathered the majority of votes: Red for Poe, Blue for Arroyo, Green for Lacson, and Gold for Roco. Villanueva was unable to secure a majority in any of the provinces.

Contents

Background

The political climate leading up to the 2004 elections was one of the most emotional in the country's history since the 1986 elections that resulted in the exile of Ferdinand Marcos. Philippine society has become polarized between the followers of former president Joseph Estrada who have thrown their support for Estrada's close associate Fernando Poe, Jr. and those who support incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, or at best oppose Estrada.

The several months leading to the May elections saw several presidential scandals, Arroyo reversing her earlier decision not to run for president, the sudden but not unexpected candidacy of Fernando Poe, Jr., defection of key political figures from the Arroyo camp to the opposition, the controversial automated elections initiative of the COMELEC, and the split of the dominant opposition party, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, between Poe and Panfilo Lacson.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's candidacy

On a speech given on Rizal Day, December 30, 2002, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared that she would not run in the 2004 elections. Arroyo claimed that withdrawing from the race would relieve her of the burden of politics and allow her administration to devote the last year and half to the following:

First, strengthening the economy to create more jobs and to encourage business activities that are unhampered by corruption and red tape in government.

Second, healing the deep divisions within Philippine society.

Third, working for clean and honest elections in 2004.

This was hailed as a welcome development by many people, especially those in the business and economic sectors.

Nine months later, on October 1, 2003, Arroyo completely changed her mind. Arroyo stated that her change of heart was for a higher cause and that she cannot ignore the call to further serve the country. Many people, especially those who held on to her commitment, were dismayed by her turnabout, though most were unsurprised since there had been clues months before that she would probably not stand by her earlier decision. Others welcomed this development, saying that she needs more time to implement her projects, and that she would be the strongest contender against a likely candidacy by Fernando Poe, Jr.

Fernando Poe, Jr.'s candidacy

Months before the elections, members of the opposition have been encouraging Fernando Poe, Jr., a close friend of former president Joseph Estrada to run for president. Poe was very popular with the masses and it was widely believed that he would be a sure winner if he ran for President.

On November 27, 2003, Poe ended months of speculation by announcing that he will run for president during a press conference held at the Manila Hotel.

However, on January 9, 2004, Victorino X. Fornier (a private citizen) filed a case against Poe and the COMELEC, saying that Poe wasn't eligible to run for he is not a natural born Filipino before the COMELEC. On the 23rd of January, the COMELEC dismissed the petition for lack of merit. On February 10, Fornier finally filed the case to the Supreme Court, seeking Poe to be disqualified from the race. His case was later merged with cases filed by Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, and Felix B. Desiderio, Jr., and by Zoilo Antonio G. Velez.

On March 3, the Supreme Court, said on its decision, that for lack of lack of jurisdiction and prematurity, and ruling that Poe's father, Allan F. Poe would have been a Filipino citizen by virtue of the en masse Filipinization enacted by the Philippine Bill of 1902. Also, even if Poe wasn't a natural-born Filipino citizen, he cannot be held guilty of having made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy.

See also: The Supreme Court's decision.

Eddie Gil's candidacy

The Commission on Elections originally affirmed the candidacies of six people for the president. The sixth person running for president was Eduardo "Eddie" Gil, a known Marcos loyalist. The party of Eduardo Villanueva filed a petition with the COMELEC seeking to disqualify Eddie Gil on the basis of him being a nuisance candidate, his incapacity to mount a nationwide campaign, and that because he was running with the aim to confuse voters because of their similar names.

Eddie Gil claims to be an international banker having a net worth of billions of dollars. His platform for presidency promised to make every Filipino a millionaire within his first 100 days of being elected. He also promised to pay off the Philippines' debt, worth trillions of pesos, from his own pocket. This was widely ridiculed, especially after a recent incident in which a check he had issued to pay his hotel bills during a campaign sortie, bounced.

The LDP split

The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party (LDP) would form the core of the main opposition party, the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP). However, members of the party disagreed on which person to support for president. Panfilo Lacson, a member of the party, advanced his candidacy for president but was not considered by Edgardo Angara, the president of the party. Angara supported Fernando Poe, Jr. Together with the party's secretary-general Agapito "Butz" Aquino, Lacson gathered the support of some members of the party and went ahead with his candidacy. The LDP was subsequently polarized between those supporting Angara and Poe, and those for Lacson and Aquino.

By then, Poe and Lacson have both filed their certificates of candidacies. According to the rules of candidacy, every presidential candidate must have a political party to back him or her. With the obvious split within the ranks of the LDP, and with no signs that the two factions would come to an agreement, the COMELEC decided to informally split the party into the Aquino and the Angara wings. Lacson then ran under the LDP - Aquino Wing, and Poe under the LDP - Angara Wing, which would later become the KNP.

During the campaign period, there had been numerous unification talks between the two factions. The opposition saw the need to become united under one banner to boost their chances of winning the presidential election against the organized political machinery of Arroyo. The plans of unification did not materialize due to the stubbornness of both Poe and Lacson. Lacson wanted Poe to concede to him and run as his vice-presidential candidate while the supporters of Poe wanted Lacson to back-out from his candidacy and instead support Poe, citing his low performance in the surveys.

COMELEC's move for an automated elections

Elections in the Philippines has always been a manual-process with the results for national positions often being announced more than a month after election day. An attempt to rectify this was done by the Commission on Elections by automating the process of counting the votes. More than 30 billion pesos were spent in acquiring counting machines that were never used in this elections because of numerous controversies and political opposition.

Timeline

2002

  • December 30 - President Arroyo declares that she will not run for President in 2004.

2003

  • October 1 - President Arroyo announces her intention to run for President.
  • November 27 - Fernando Poe, Jr. declares his intention to run for President.
  • December 29 - Raúl Roco, together with Herminio Aquino filed their candidacies for the position of President and Vice President. Senator Panfilo Lacson filed his candidacy as President without a running mate.
  • December 30 - Fernando, Poe, Jr. together with running mate Senator Loren Legarda filed their candidacies for the position of President and Vice President.

2004

  • January 4 - President Gloria Arroyo and Senator Noli de Castro filed their candidacies for the position of President and Vice President.
  • January 13 - The Supreme Court nullified a contract for the computerization of the ballot-counting process, effectively forcing the Commission on Elections to revert to the manual counting of votes.
  • February 10 - Start of the official campaign period for national positions
  • March 3 - Poe was deemed as a natural born Filipino by the Supreme Court, therby blocking any legal obstacles for his candidacy.
  • March 25 - Start of the official campaign period for local positions
  • May 10 - Election day
  • May 10 - NAMFREL starts its quickcount tally.
  • May 14 - Panfilo Lacson resigns from his party, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP).
  • May 14 - grenade explodes at the General Santos City Hall where canvassing was taking place. No one was hurt.
  • May 17 - Opposition groups stage protest at the PICC, site of the official COMELEC canvass for senators and party-list representatives.
  • May 17 - Raúl Roco concedes to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
  • May 19 - Fernando Poe, Jr., proclaimes himself winner in Zamboanga City.
  • May 24 - COMELEC proclaims the top 11 senators in its official canvass.
  • May 28 - Congress approves the rules for the canvassing of the Certificates of Canvass for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential positions.
  • June 2 - The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a statement saying that the elections were generally peaceful and that there was no sign of massive electoral fraud on a nationwide scale.
  • June 3 - The 12th senator, Rodolfo Biazon, was proclaimed by the COMELEC.
  • June 4 - Congress, through the Joint Committee, starts canvassing the votes for the President and Vice-president.
  • June 8 - Supreme Court votes 14-0 against the KNP petition to declare the Congressional Joint Committee as the National Board of Canvassers unconstitutional.
  • June 20 - The Congressional Joint Committee finishes the canvassing of votes for the President and Vice-president; Arroyo is declared the winner.
  • June 23 - The Congress approves the report of the Joint Committee officially proclaiming Arroyo the winner.
  • June 30 - Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is inaugurated in Cebu City.

Parties and coalitions

This election has seen strong shifts of alliances and new parties as candidates switched allegiances. The two major coalitions seen in this elections were the K-4 (Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan), of the administration, and the KNP (Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino), the dominant opposition.

Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4)

The Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (Coalition of Truth and Experience for Tomorrow) or K-4, is the remnant of the People Power Coalition that was formed following the ascendancy of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to power. Arroyo is seeking a complete term under this coalition with Sen. Noli de Castro, an independent, yet popular, politician, as her running mate. The leading party in this coalition is the ruling Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), of which Arroyo is a member. Other parties under this coalition are the Liberal Party, the Nationalist People's Coalition, the Nacionalista Party, and the People's Reform Party.

Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP)

The Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (Coalition of United Filipinos), or KNP, is the coalition of the dominant opposition. Its standard bearers are Fernando Poe, Jr. for president and Sen. Loren Legarda-Leviste for vice-president. The leading party of this coalition is the Angara wing of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (Struggle of Democratic Filipinos) or LDP. The LDP split in late 2003 over issues on who is to be their standard bearer. Most of the party followed the lead of the president, Sen. Edgardo Angara especially with the support of the former president Joseph Estrada and former first lady Imelda Marcos. The other major party under this coalition is Estrada's Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP, Party of the Filipino Masses).

Alyansa ng Pag-asa

The third major coalition running in this election is the Alyansa ng Pag-asa (Alliance of Hope), This coalition fielded Raúl Roco for president and Herminio Aquino for vice-president. The three major parties supporting this coalition are Roco's Aksyon Demokratiko (Democratic Action), former Defense Sec. Renato de Villa's Reporma Party, and Lito Osmeña's Promdi (Probinsya Muna [Provinces First] Development Party). The three parties were the ones that bolted out of the People Power Coalition.

Bangon Pilipinas Movement (BPM)

The Bangon Pilipinas (Rise up, Philippines) Movement is the political party of Bro. Eddie Villanueva. It consists mostly of volunteers, a majority of whom came from Villanueva's Jesus Is Lord church (Villanueva resigned from the church before submitting his candidacy, to prevent questions on separation of church and state).

Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) (Aquino Wing)

This was composed of Panfilo Lacson's supporters in the LDP Party.

Partido Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa

This was Eddie Gil's organization. Gil was deemed a nuisance candidate and was disqualified from the presidential race, however, the party qualified for other positions.

Election results

The official results of the election were released in staggered dates with most winners in local elective positions declared within two weeks from the May 10 election date. The winners in the Senatorial and Party-list Representative elections were declared on May 24, with the exception of the 12th senator which was announced on June 3. The results of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential races were finalized by the Congress on June 20, more than a month after the elections. Out of the 43,536,028 registered voters, about 35.4 million ballots were cast giving a voter turn-out of 81.4%.

Shown below are the official tallies of the Presidential, Vice-Presidential, and Senatorial races as well as the last tallies of the Quickcount conducted by the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), the citizens' arm of the COMELEC.

President

Final Official Congressional Canvass

Candidate Party Votes %
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino / Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats/ Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan 12,905,808 39.99
Fernando Poe, Jr. Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino/Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino 11,782,232 36.51
Panfilo Lacson Independent 3,510,080 10.88
Raul Roco Aksyon Demokratiko 2,082,762 6.45
Eduardo Villanueva Bangon Pilipinas Movement 1,988,218 6.16
Total 32,269,100 100.0

NAMFREL Quickcount
(Partial and Unofficial)

Candidate Party Votes %
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Lakas-CMD / K4 11,272,388 39.4%
Fernando Poe Jr. KNP 10,456,243 36.6%
Panfilo Lacson LDP
(Agapito Aquino Wing)
3,140,494 11.0%
Raul Roco Aksyon Demokratiko /
Alyansa ng Pag-Asa
1,782,547 6.8%
Eduardo Villanueva Bangon Pilipinas Movement 1,782,547 6.2%
Total: 28,594,593 100.0%

Vice-President

Final Official Congressional Canvass

Incumbent President Gloria Arroyo in a political campaign motorcade.
[discuss] – [edit]
Summary of the final official congressional canvass of the 10 May 2004 Philippine Vice Presidential election election results
Candidate Party Votes %
Noli de Castro K4 15,100,431 49.80
Loren Legarda KNP 14,218,709 46.90
Herminio Aquino Aksyon Demokratiko 981,500 3.24
Rodolfo Pajo Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 22,244 0.06
Total 30,322,884 100.0

NAMFREL Quickcount
(Partial and Unofficial)

Candidate Party Votes %
Noli de Castro Independent / K4 13,342,530 49.6%
Loren Legarda KNP 12,505,777 46.5%
Herminio Aquino Aksyon Demokratiko /
Alyansa ng Pag-Asa
920,316 3.4%
Rodolfo Pajo Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 22,244 0.1%
Total: 26,908,172 100.00%

Legislative and local elections

In the legislative elections, voters elected twelve Senators (half the members of the Senate), who are elected at large with the whole country voting as one constituency, and all 208 members of the House of Representatives, who are elected from single-member districts.

In the local elections, voters elected governors, vice-governors, and board members of the country's 79 provinces, and the mayor, vice-mayor and councilors of the nation's more than 1,600 cities and municipalities.

Senators

The COMELEC sits as the National Board of Canvassers for the 12 senatorial positions.

[discuss] – [edit]
Summary of the 10 May 2004 Senate of the Philippines election results
Rank Candidate Party Votes
1. Manuel Roxas II K-4 - Liberal Party 19,372,888
2. Ramon Revilla Jr. K-4 - Lakas CMD 15,801,531
3. Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. KNP / PDP-LABAN 13,519,998
4. Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal KNP - Independent 13,253,692
5. Richard Gordon K-4 - Lakas CMD 12,707,151
6. Pilar Juliana Cayetano K-4 - Lakas CMD 12,542,054
7. Miriam Defensor-Santiago K-4 - PRP 12,187,401
8. Alfredo Lim KNP - Independent 11,286,428
9. Juan Ponce Enrile KNP - PMP 11,191,162
10. Jinggoy Estrada KNP - PMP 11,094,120
11. Manuel Lapid K-4 - Lakas CMD 10,970,941
12. Rodolfo Biazon K-4 - Liberal Party 10,635,270
13. Robert Barbers K-4 - Lakas CMD 10,624,585
14. Ernesto Maceda KNP - NPC 9,944,328
15. John Henry Osmeña K-4 - Independent 9,914,179
16. Orlando S. Mercado K-4 - Independent 8,295,024
17. Robert Jaworski K-4 - Lakas-CMD 6,921,425
18. Maria Elisa Anson-Roa KNP - PMP 5,873,845
19. Francisco Tatad KNP - LDP 5,718,740
20. Heherson Alvarez Independent 4,791,085
21. Ernesto Herrera KNP - Independent 4,612,036
22. Perfecto Yasay Jr. Aksyon Demokratiko 4,408,808
23. Francisco Chavez Aksyon Demokratiko 4,286,838
24. Carlos M. Padilla Independent (LDP Aquino Wing) 3,863,693
25. Salvador Escudero III KNP - Independent / NPC 3,780,469
26. Amina Rasul KNP / PDP-LABAN 3,456,480
27. Jose Sonza Aksyon Demokratiko 2,839,442
28. Parouk Hussin K-4 - Lakas-CMD 2,821,522
29. Didagen Dilangalen KNP - PMP 2,222,069
30. Melanio Mauricio Aksyon Demokratiko 1,144,279
31. Pilar Pilapil Independent 692,137
32. Eduardo Nonato Joson Aksyon Demokratiko 631,041
33. Edgar Ilarde Independent 527,865
34. Nicanor Gatmaytan Jr. Aksyon Demokratiko 453,693
35. Olivia Coo Aksyon Demokratiko 338,846
36. Oliver Lozano KBL 238,272
37. Alvin Alvincent Almirante KBL 206,097
38. Ramon Montaño Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 159,735
39. Matuan Usop Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 137,376
40. Angel Rosario Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 98,932
41. Ismael Aparri Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 97,430
42. Norma Nueva KBL 96,129
43. Carmen X. Borja Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 95,755
44. Pendatun Decampong Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 94,713
45. Gerardo del Mundo Independent 88,962
46. El Cid Fajardo Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 79,471
47. Iderlina Pagunuran Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 59,712
48. Arturo Estuita Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa 39,094
Note: A total of 48 candidates ran for senator. Source: Philippine Commission on Elections

Representatives

[discuss] – [edit]
Summary of the 10 May 2004 House of Representatives of the Philippines election results
Parties Seats
This is the division of seats as published on the website of the House of Representatives.
The first party affiliation mentioned is counted. This is not the result of the elections.
Lakas-Christian and Muslim Democrats (Power-Christian and Muslim Democrats) 79
Nationalist People's Coalition 40
Liberal Party 34
Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino 26
Nacionalista Party {Nationalist Party) 12
Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino {Struggle for Democratic Filipinos} 7
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (Force of the Philippines Masses) 2
Democratic Socialist Party of the Philippines (Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas) 2
Buhay 2
Democratic Action (Aksyon Demokratiko) 1
Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (Philippines Democratic Party-National Struggle) 1
Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement) 1
Sarro 1
Partido ng Demokratikong Reporma-Lapiang Manggagawa (Democratic Reform Party) 1
Alayon 1
Partido Magdala 1
Akbayan ! Citizens' Action Party 3
Bayan Muna (Nation First) 3
Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives 3
Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) 2
Butil Farmers Party 1
Coop 1
VFP 1
Amin 1
Ave 1
Alagad 1
Gabriela Women's Party 1
An Waray 1
Workers' Party (Partido ng Manggagawa) 1
Alif 1
Citizen's Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) 1
Non-partisans 4
Total 235
Source: Congress Web site
[discuss] – [edit]
Summary of the 10 May 2004 House of Representatives of the Philippines Party-List election result
Party-list Votes %
Below is the result of the party-list vote. Most seats in the Congress are not elected through the party list system
Bayan Muna 1,203,305 9.4585
Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives 934,995 7.3495
Akbayan ! Citizens' Action Party 852,473 6.7008
Buhay 705,730 5.5473
Anakpawis 538,396 4.2320
Citizen's Battle Against Corruption 495,193 3.8924
Gabriela Women's Party 464,586 3.6518
Partido ng Manggagawa 448,072 3.5220
Butil Farmers Party 429,259 3.3742
Alliance of Volunteer Educators 343,498 2.7000
Alagad 340,977 2.6802
Veterans Freedom Party 340,759 2.6785
Cooperative NATCCO Network Party 270,950 2.1298
Anak Mindanao 269,750 2.1204
Ang Laban ng Indiginong Filipino 269,345 2.1172
An Waray 268,164 2.1079
ABA-AKO 251,597 1.9777
Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy 244,137 1.9190
Senior Citizens/Elderly 236,571 1.8595
Philippines Guardians Brotherhood, Inc. 213,662 1.6795
Anak ng Bayan 213,068 1.6748
Trade Union Congress Party 201,396 1.5831
Sanlakas 189,517 1.4897
Bigkis Pinoy Movement 186,264 1.4641
Suara Bangsamoro 164,494 1.2930
Cocofed - Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. 163,952 1.2887
Sagip-Katwa Foundation, Inc. 161,797 1.2718
Aksyon Sambayan 156,467 1.2299
People's Movement against Poverty 144,740 1.1377
Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency 143,454 1.1276
Abay Pamiliya Foundation, Inc. 133,952 1.0529
SMILE 133,425 1.0488
Abanse! Pinay 115,855 0.9107
Total 12,721,952
Source: COMELEC

Exit polls

During and immediately after the elections, exit polls were conducted by various organizations including the Social Weather Stations. An exit poll conducted by the SWS in Metro Manila showed that Arroyo won by a wide margin. SWS later admitted that it made a huge error in its Metro Manila exit poll.

The SWS exit poll said Mrs Arroyo won 34 percent of the vote in Metro Manila against Poe's 25 percent. The official count showed Poe winning Metro Manila by 37 percent against the President's 26 percent.

A nationwide exit poll conducted by a research group called Proberz, on the other had, showed that Poe won the elections with 38% of the total 4,010 respondents against Arroyo's 34%. The poll showed Poe leading in Regions II, III, IV-A, IV-B, VIII, IX, XII, Metro Manila, and the ARMM. GMA thriumphed over Poe in the rest of the regions. In the vice-presidential race, the exit poll indicates that Legarda won with 51% or the votes, followed by De Castro with 46%.

Official Congressional canvass

Under the constitution, the Congress is mandated to become the National Board of Canvassers for the top two positions, the President and the Vice-President. Tallying in the 216,382 precincts nationwide are submitted in Election Returns that are forwarded to the municipal and city board of canvassers. These are then tabulated and forwarded to the provincial board of canvassers which prepare the 176 Certificates of Canvass (CoC). These CoCs were forwarded to the joint session of the Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on May 25, 2004.

Senators and representatives from the administration and opposition have debated heatedly on the procedure of counting the CoCs. The traditional way of counting the certificates, as used in the 1992 and 1998 elections, was to appoint a joint committee consisting of seven senators and seven representatives. Many opposition legislators, notably, Cong. Didagen Dilangalen of Maguindanao, opposed this traditional method as unconstitutional saying that it should be the whole Congress, not a committee, who should count the votes. Part of the argument was that "power delegated cannot be further delegated", referring to the delegation of counting to a committee. The proposal of some legislators was for the whole Congress to sit in a joint session counting each and every single Certificate of Canvass.

The debates and deliberations for the rules of canvassing were finished by the Congressional joint session on May 28. The rules decided were very similar to the ones used in the 1998 and 1992 elections, which called for a joint committee to act as the National Board of Canvassers. The notable difference is the increase of the number of committee members from 14 to 22, this time consisting of 11 senators and 11 representatives. The composition of the committee was also announced by the Senate President, Franklin Drilon, and the Speaker of the House, Jose de Venecia. The composition was immediately lambasted by the Opposition; the House portion of the committee consisted of 9 administration representatives and 2 opposition. The Poe camp called for a more equal representation for all the involved political parties in the committee, despite the appointed commission mirroring the current composition of the House: there are 190 administration representatives in a 220-seat House.

The official canvassing by the Congressional Joint Committee started on June 4, a little less than one month after election day. Canvassing was done in a slow pace, averaging about 12 Certificates of Canvass per day, as the Opposition accused Administration politicians of railroading the canvass. The Opposition lawyers wanted to question the validity of 25 CoCs, especially in those areas where Arroyo posted a wide margin over Poe. They wanted the Committee to examine the Statement of Votes at the municipal level and even down to the Election Returns at the precinct level to prove their claim that the Certificates of Canvass have been tampered with in favor of Arroyo. Administration lawyers contend that the Committee is not the proper place to lodge complaints of fraud and that the Opposition should go to the Presidential Election Tribunal (the Supreme Court) after the winner has been proclaimed.

Election scandal

On the night of December 11, 2004, Poe was admitted into Saint Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City, after complaining of dizziness at a gathering in his production studio premise. He suffered from a stroke and slipped into a coma while being treated for a brain clot. On December 14, Poe died due to a massive stroke. By this time, allegations were rife that Arroyo cheated in the elections, although no evidence was put out.

On June 10, 2005, Samuel Ong, a former deputy director of the country's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said that he is a source of a set of original audio tapes of a wiretapped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and an official of the Commission on Elections, allegedly Virgilio Garcillano.

The contents of the tape allegedly proves, according to Ong, that the 2004 national election was rigged by Arroyo and that she is not the real winner of the said election. If the Supreme Court declares that Arroyo cheated and rigged the 2004 elections, Vice President De Castro would become President, that is if he is found to be innocent of poll fraud charges brought by Poe's running mate Loren Legarda.

See also

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