Sep 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/05/07MANILA1647.html

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1647
2007-05-18 09:31
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO9340
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1647/01 1380931
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180931Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6569
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001647

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM RP
SUBJECT: COMMENTS FROM U.S. ELECTION OBSERVERS

REF: MANILA 1544 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (U) 83 volunteers – including Locally Engaged Staff and
American officers, specialists, and spouses, as well as the
Ambassador and DCM – from throughout the U.S. Mission in Manila took
part as officially accredited observers to the Philippine mid-term
elections on May 14 (reftels). Their presence in 24 key sites
throughout the country as well as around Metro Manila strongly
demonstrated U.S. support for Philippine democratic processes and
our shared hope with the Philippine people for the most free and
fair elections possible. This report encapsulates some key
observations from our team members.

——————————
“U.S. Embassy – Wow!”
—————————–

¶2. (U) One common theme that the observers reported was the warmth
of the welcome by voters, election workers, and volunteers alike.
Some comments from the field:
— “met by people with enthusiasm,’ Caloocan City;
— “warm welcome from Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) staff,
other watchers, and the voters,” Legazpi City, Albay province;
— “first foreign observers in her memory,” Laoag City, Ilocos
Norte province;
— “voters and voting officials were cordial and receptive to our
presence…Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCVR)
and Philippine National Police (PNP) extremely helpful,” Cagayan de
Oro City, Misamis Oriental province;
— “Everywhere…people were very happy to see the U.S. Embassy
present…they acted reassured that we were present,” Cebu province;

— “the atmosphere was very peaceful and friendly…COMELEC
officials acted very professionally and were welcoming,” Isabela
province;
— “thrilled with our observation of the election…delighted to
see us,” Bohol province;
— COMELEC, PNP and NAMFREL “contacts were helpful and
accommodating,” Cebu province;
— “excellent, professional support” from the police, Bukidnon
province;
— “welcomed observers to increase transparency and ‘prove we are
just doing our job,'” Cebu province;
— “thank you for caring about our elections,” Mandalulong City;
–“U.S. Embassy – Wow!” from Surigao City, Surigao del Norte
province.

———————–
Common problems
———————–

¶3. (U) While the most common theme from the field was “peaceful
and orderly,” various problems surfaced repeatedly in different
sites (septel will analyze more serious allegations of cheating):
— “campaign materials strewn not only outside polling centers but
even inside… overcrowding…vote buying (20 pesos or US $0.50),”
Dagupan City, Pangasinan province;
— hand-held “fans (with campaign advertisements on them)
distributed to overheated
electoral workers inside polling centers,” Tarlac province;
— “inability to locate their names on precinct voting lists,”
Tarlac province;
— “a government agency paid 1,000 pesos (US$ 20) per employee to
vote for a particular party list group,” Tacloban City, Leyte
Province;
— “members of the BEI were all exhausted and the margin of errors
in marking the election returns was really high,” Caloocan City;
— “COMELEC…failed to provide ink pads…these had to be sourced
locally,” Surigao City, Surigao del Norte province;
— “a lost key and missing lock in one ballot box incident,”
Bacolod, Negro Occidental province;
— “some campaigning too close to the polling site,” Iloilo
province;
— “errors we did observe most probably were errors of
inefficiency,” General Santos City;
— “while we saw no irregularities, there was certainly variation in
the process among the precincts, e.g. some voters had their fingers
inked before voting while other after voting,” Davao City, Davao del
Sur;
— “different procedures for finger inking,” Quezon City;
— “moments of confusion, congestion, and the non-observance/law
enforcement of proper election procedures…fatigue,” Roxas City,
Capiz province;
— “poor people depend on the goodwill of the politicians, that is
the only point of hope; many voters received from 250 pesos to 500
pesos (US$5-10). For them, it is worth the effort to vote,” Palawan
province;
— “precincts had different procedures for what happened before and
after vote…inconsistent recording,” Makati City;
— “people not on the voter registration lists even though they had
voter ID cards,” Quezon City;
— “desperate nature of many poor residents who are willing to

MANILA 00001647 002 OF 002

accept between 50 and 300 pesos (US$1-6) for their vote,” Surigao
City, Surigao del Norte province;
— “voter lists were not alphabetized…’I’ve grown old coming to
this school to vote!'” Surigao City, Surigao del Norte province;
— “several dozens of disenfranchised voters,” Metro Manila;
— “‘they took my name off the registration list because they knew
how I would vote!'” Pasay City;
— “nobody actually watching if the BEI was actually calling out
the right names” during counting, Metro Manila;
— “difficulty finding their precincts…long lines…illegal
distribution of sample ballots within polling centers…voters’
fatigue…long voting hours,” Angeles City, Pampanga province;
— “minor irregularities during voting…long lines at precincts,”
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte province;
— “voters not asked for any kind of identification before being
permitted to vote, precincts,” Davao City, Davao del Sur;
— “fans embossed with names and/or slogans of politicians,” Laoag
City, Ilocos Norte province;
— “some voters were not able to vote due to their names not
listed,” Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental province;
— “dead relative was still listed on the voting roll,” Bukidnon
province;
— “deceased voters were still on the register,” Isabela province;

— “no consistency in guidance provided by the COMELEC,” Bukidnon
province;
— “lights suddenly went out” city-wide during canvassing, Laoag
City, Ilocos Norte province;
— “counting was extremely slow…the BEI staff was really
exhausted…canvassing started very late and very slow,” Bohol
province;
— “confusion over voter registration lists…long waits,” Bohol
province;
— “‘I feel like am a guardian for a failed process,'” Dagupan
City, Pangasinan province.

———————-
Philippine resolve
———————

¶4. (U) Many, probably most, of our observers returned to Manila
with increased or renewed respect for the determination of ordinary
Philippine citizens not only to participate in their electoral
process but to work to make it better. Some illuminating quotes
from the voters in the field along with comments from our observers:

— “‘we hope for a peaceful process,'” Malolos City, Bulacan
province;
— “‘the problem is with Congress passing election laws that are
not easy to comply with. Congress needs to give the COMELEC blanket
authorization to study the electoral process and submit its
recommendations to Congress,'” Tacloban City, Leyte Province;
— “‘it’s not enough to vote a leader; what’s more important is to
vote for the right leader,'” Caloocan City;
— “the spirit of volunteerism was strong,” Bohol province;
— “the feel of a community coming together to accomplish something
important,” Legazpi City, Albay province;
— “‘Voting is my right,'” Quezon City;
— “‘more representation of younger people in the voter
turnout…higher number of teenagers among the volunteers…more
active civil society outreach program,'” Bukidnon province;
— “first-time voters…were excited to be participating,” Bohol
province;
— “exuberance around the station but seriousness reflecting the
gravity of the process,” Bohol province;
— “‘This is my first time to volunteer…I wanted to see
everything for myself,'” Surigao City, Surigao del Norte province;
— “voters were quiet, patient, eager, and disciplined. . .seem to
realize what is at stake,” Isabela province;
— “‘Our job is very important, especially during the counting,'”
Surigao City, Surigao del Norte province;
— “election workers…took their responsibility very seriously,”
Surigao City, Surigao del Norte province;
— public school teachers acting as election workers were
“unsung/unseen heroes in Philippine democracy,” Cebu province;
— “elderly people struggling to go up the stairs just to vote and
struggle even more to write down 30 names,” Cebu province;
— “everyone…determined to prove their good reputation this
time,” Cebu province;
— “‘BE HONEST’ signs at every polling center,” Bacolod, Negro
Occidental province;
— “marked general enthusiasm by voters and concerned citizens,”
Angeles City, Pampanga province;
— “one volunteer noted ‘if you don’t participate in the process,
you can’t complain about government,'” Cebu province;
— “‘I vote because there is hope,'” Cebu province.
KENNEY

   

 

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