Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1544/01 1342227
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 142227Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6471
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001544
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV RP
SUBJECT: FILIPINOS FLOCK TO MID-TERM POLLS
REF: A. MANILA 1521
– B. MANILA 1494
– C. MANILA 1467
– D. MANILA 1215
– E. MANILA 1073
¶1. (U) Summary. Philippine mid-term elections took place on May
14, although results will not begin to be available until at least
May 15, or at the national level perhaps as late as June 14.
Turnout rates were high. Additional acts of violence took place on
election day, but all Embassy observers remain safe. Civil society
participation to monitor the polls and provide information was
impressive. The enthusiasm of Philippine voters in turning out for
the polls was palpable, and the dedication of electoral workers and
volunteers was a tribute to the determination of the Philippine
people to ensure the freest and fairest elections possible. There
is nonetheless widespread concern that cheating will escalate during
the canvassing process. End Summary.
¶2. (U) Counting began in the May 14 Philippine mid-term elections
(reftels) following closure at 3 p.m. of polls at the 225,000
precincts in more 40,000 polling centers (almost all at schools)
nationwide. Local-level results should be available by May 15, and
will be posted publicly. Muncipal- and provincial-level results
(including the 220 members of the House of Representatives) will
take anywhere between 2-10 days to tabulate, while the
national-level canvassing center (for 12 Senators and all party list
candidates) will open on May 16 and will likely need 20-30 to
finalize its count.
¶3. (U) Turnout was heavy, despite the 90+ degree heat (with no air
conditioning in most polling centers), reaching more than 50
percent in most precincts only a couple of hours after the 7 a.m.
opening. COMELEC officials have predicted that the final turnout
rate may reach 80 percent, although only about 10 percent of 500,000
registered absentee voters overseas cast their ballots through
Philippine Embassies and Consulates. In many localities, “barangay”
(the lowest governmental unit) captains (who will face election in
October 2007) sent out workers to bring absent voters to the polls.
There were isolated reports of vote-buying, but so far fewer than in
the 2004 Presidential elections.
¶4. (U) More than 80 Embassy volunteers are serving as election
observers, accredited by the Philippine Commission on Elections
(COMELEC). All are safe as of COB. They are covering election
sites throughout the nation, from the northern tip of Luzon island
to General Santos City on Mindanao island. Ambassador and DCM
toured various polling centers in Metro Manila as observers as
¶5. (U) The most common problem that Embassy observers and
Philippine media reported was missing names on election rolls as
well as inclusion of names of dead people. While apparently true in
many precincts, the overall numbers do not appear to be significant.
Many blamed the inaccurate lists on the lack of automation and
inefficient COMELEC oversight. New this year, however, were lists
including a photo of the registered voters, so that the poll workers
could verify their identity.
¶6. (U) Violence continued on election day, with several more
deaths and injuries of both candidates and their supporters. The
total of election-related deaths is well over 100 so far.
¶7. (U) The COMELEC suspended voting in one city in Lanao del Norte
(central Mindanao) due to irregularities and delayed voting in
Marawi City in neighboring Lanao del Sur due to the failure of
ballot boxes to arrive in time.
¶8. (U) A reported one million or more volunteers — from the
Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the National
Movement for Free Elections, and other NGOs – were present at most
polling centers, although the farther from Metro Manila, the less
noticeable their presence became, according to Embassy observers.
Political parties, notably the pre-dominant
Lakas/Christian-Muslim-Democrats, also had observers at many polling
centers. In many voting sites, volunteers outnumbered the actual
voters at any given time.
¶9. (U) Virtually without exception, election workers (primarily
schoolteachers), volunteers, and voters alike appeared warmly to
welcome Embassy observers and U.S. support for the Philippine
democratic process. Many offered thanks for our presence and
¶10. (U) Comment: The enthusiasm of Philippine voters in turning
out for the polls was palpable, and the dedication of electoral
workers and volunteers was a tribute to the determination of the
Philippine people to ensure the freest and fairest elections
possible. Many nonetheless fear that there will cheating will
escalate during the canvassing period.
MANILA 00001544 002 OF 002