Election fraud is not unusual in many countries in the world, including the United States. But very rarely is the victim of fraud able to prove beyond doubt that fraud occurred, or if it did, that it would have altered the outcome of the elections. However, the then Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD), the opposition slate of nationalist leaders opposed to President Corazon Aquino, has obtained precisely such devastating evidence.
In the May 11, 1987 elections for the Philippines Senate, the GAD slate was expected to gain at least 8 out of 24 seats, given the national stature of its candidates. But in the Namfrel “quick count” vote and in the tallies of the government election commission COMELEC, the GAD has won only 2-3 seats. As one American observer in Manila put it:
“The only time we ever see government candidates getting 98% of the vote is in the East bloc.”
GAD, led by Vicente “Teng” Puyat and former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, charged fraud in the immediate aftermath of the vote, when presidential press spokesman Teodoro Benigno announced that Cory had won by a “landslide”. This report went out to the press, even though no votes had yet been counted. Benigno crowed:
“It must be that Cory magic.”
We knew what he meant. On May 29, two computer workers with NAMFREL began to grow suspicious of the patterns emerging from the NAMFREL electoral printout, and decided to have a look at the program. To their shock, they found that the computer had been programmed to give a total of 10,000 votes-over and above any votes actually talliedin each district to each administration candidate.
In sum, this gave each administration candidate a floor vote of 2 million votes nationwide!
The program was locked in the computer under the codename: “MAGIC”.
The Namfrel program explains the persistent reports that more votes were counted in districts throughout the country than registered voters. According to columnist Luis Beltran, writing in the Manila Star, in Lanao, Mindanao, a stronghold of the GAD, there were 40% more votes than voters. Beltran asked:
“Is it possible that Cory had no idea of the depth of political degradation to which her administration has sunk?
By the end of May, even Aquino herself, admitted that “some fraud” had occurred.
- Philippines: behind the Cory magic, Linda de Hoyos, Volume 14, Number 24, June 12, 1987, Executive Intelligence Review