Philippine presidential election, 1986

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To read this article in Filipino, see 1986 Snap Presidential Election

The 1986 Philippine Presidential Election, popularly known as the Snap Election, held on 7 February 1986 was an election called earlier than expected. It was the most controversial election in the history of the Philippines.

On Novermber 1985, Ferdinand E. Marcos declared to conduct a snap election when he was interviewed by the American Broadcasting Company political affairs program This Week With David Brinkley. The Snap Elections followed the end of Martial Law and brought about the EDSA Revolution of 1986. It caused the downfall of President Ferdinand Marcos and the accession of Corazon C. Aquino as President.

Timeline of Events

In November 1985, Marcos announced his decision to hold a “snap” presidential talk show This Week with David Brinkley on 7 February 1986, a year before his six-year presidential term ran out. He believed that his early reelection would solidy United States support, silence his critics in the the Philippines and the United States, and banish the ghost of Benigno Aquino, Jr..

Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, an astute negotiator, arranged a political alliance of convenience between Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel. Laurel earlier announced his own candidacy but later agreed to run as Aquino's vice-presidential candidate. Aquino had immense popular support while Laurel has superior organizational skills. Their agreement to run together was arranged just in time for the deadline for submission of candidacies in early December.

The church hierarchy supported the opposition ticket. Cardinal Sin reminded voters that they should vote according to their consciences.

On the day of the election, the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) guarded ballot boxes and tried to get a rapid tally of the results to prevent irregularities. A team of United States observers, together with a joint congressional delegation, issued a mild criticism of electoral abuses. Senator Richard Lugar claimed that between 10 and 40 percent of the voters had been deprived to vote after their names had been removed from registration rolls.

The results of the snap election held on 7 February 1986 tabulated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chaired by Ramon Felipe, concluded that Ferdinand Marcos won the position with 53.62% or 10,807,197 votes, while Corazon Aquino has 46.10% or 9,291,761 votes. The results from the COMELEC have shown a massive margin of 1,515,436 votes ahead for Marcos.

On the other hand, the incomplete and unofficial count on votes issued by NAMFREL showed a total lead count of 800,000 votes of Cory against Marcos.

On 9 February, computer operators at COMELEC observed discrepancies between their figures and those officially announced. They walked out in protest at some risk to their lives.

Despite the church's condemnation of the elections as fraudulent, on 15 February, the Marcos-dominated National Assembly proclaimed him the official winner. Despite the election fraud, the administration of American President Ronald Reagan's support for Marcos remained strong. A consensus of policy makers in the White House, the Department of State, Pentagon, and Congress emerged and advised the withdrawal of support from Marcos.

The computer analysts and tabulators did not finished counting the votes because they walked out from the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). The Batasan Pambansa has the officlal tabulator of votes and the power to proclaim the winner of the snap elections. Marcos and Tolentino also dominated the Batasan Pambansa where he was declared as the winner. This announcement has caused several Supporters of Cory Aquino to initiate a movement from all sides of the political and social spectrum that the snap election results are very questionable. Cheating was hypothesized by the opposing party, because his numerous votes coming from North were transmitted very late to the tabulation center at the PICC. It was said that the Ilocano votes can surpass the Aquino’s lead in Metro Manila and to other places.

Antonio S. Lopez , a journalist and editor-in-chief of BizNews Asia, one of the foreign correspondents heard the plan of massive walkout in PICC. They immidiately covered it when the canvassers claimed that Marcos was cheating.

35 tabulators walked out: Linda (Kapunan) Angeles-Hill, Myrna “Shiony” Asuncion-Binamira, Jane Rosales-Yap, Cooly Culiat-Medina, Alicia Torres, Ernie Alberto, Marisa Briones-Allarey, Marissa Almendral, Gi Antonio-Silva, Rory Asuncion, Bot Bautista, Erlyn Barza, Thess Baltazar-Roberto, Mina Bergara, Nori Bolado, Zoe Castro, Charles Chan, Achie Concepcion-Jimenez, Erick Celestino, Marissa Contreras-Legaspi, Maleen Cruz-Ngan, Dennie Estolas-Vista, Bambi Flor-Sena, Naz Gutierrez III, Luchie Lavin, Mario Lavin, Rubi Macato-Slater, Euly Molina-Legro, Nitro Palomares-Castro, Maite de Rivera, Bing Romero-Justo, Vangie Saludares, Irma Sunico-Buno, Jules Valderrama, and Celine Vinoya-Rivera. They were opposed by a group of angry people after they walked out. They insisted to escape and go to a place where they can drink their blues away. The fear and confusion they had drove them to National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, also known as the Baclaran Church.

The tabulators concluded the following: they were not ordered to cheat the votes for Cory Aquino, they did not visit the NAMFREL Headquarters, they were not opositionist to sabotage the system, they were not dismissed for incompetence at 10:00am, they did not reacted to the angry crowd of people at the Plenary Hall Gallery, and they do not have regret anyting they have done.

The group of the tabulators were secured to these places; Camp Aguinaldo, Loyola House of Studies in Ateneo, and in a retreat house. After giving out their statement, the group was kept for safety in various places: Camp Aguinaldo, Loyola House of Studies in Ateneo, and a retreat house. They were only able to go home on February 20, two days before crowds started gathering on Edsa for what would become the People Power Revolution.

On 22 February, Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel Ramos, commander of the Philippine Constabulary issued a joint statement demanding Marcos' resignation. They established their rebel headquarters inside Camp Aguinaldo and the adjoining Camp Crame. They were guarded by several hundred troops.

Marcos ordered loyal units to suppress the uprising. Cardinal Sin broadcasted over the Catholic-run Radio Veritas and appealed to the people to bring food and supplies for the rebels and to use nonviolence to block pro-Marcos troop movements.

Hundreds of thousands responded to Cardinal Sin's call. Priests, nuns, ordinary citizens, and children linked arms with the rebels and faced down the tanks and machine guns of government troops. Many of them defected including the crews of seven helicopter gunships which landed in Camp Crame to announce their support for People's Power. Through an almost bloodless revolution, Corazon Aquino became the seventh President of the Republic of the Philippines.

On 25 February 1986, Aquino was announced as the 11th President of the Philippines through the virtue of the People Power Revolution also known as the EDSA I. Mrs. Aquino was sworn into office by Supreme Court Associate justice Claudio Teehankee, Sr. at the Club Filipino in Greenhills.

On that same day, Marcos held an inauguration ceremony at Malacañang Palace. It was boycotted by foreign ambassadors. United States Senator Paul Laxalt, who had close ties with Reagan, advised Marcos to “cut and cut cleanly”. The latter realized that he had lost United States support for any kind of arrangement that could keep him in power. That evening, the Marcoses had quit the palace and were on their way to exile in the United States. Filipinos surged into Malacañang to view the evidence of the Marcos' extravagant lifestyle.



Final Official Parliamentary Canvass

Candidate Party Votes %
Ferdinand Marcos Kilusang Bagong Lipunan 10,807,197 53.62%
Corazon Aquino United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO)- LABAN 9,291,761 46.10%
Reuben Canoy Social Democratic Party 34,041 0.17%
Narciso Padilla Movement for Truth, Order and Righteousness 23,652 0.12%
Total: 20,156,651 100.0%


Candidate Party Votes
Ferdinand Marcos Kilusang Bagong Lipunan 7,053,068
Corazon Aquino United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO)- LABAN 7,835,070


Final Official Parliamentary Canvass

Candidate Party Votes %
Arturo M. Tolentino Kilusang Bagong Lipunan 10,134,130 50.65%
Salvador H. Laurel United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO) 9,173,105 45.85%
Eva Estrada-Kalaw Liberal Party 662,185 3.31%
Roger Arienda Movement for Truth, Order and Righteousness 35,974 0.18%
Total: 20,053,394 100.0%

See Also

External links




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