Interview on the 2022 Philippine elections


With Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines
By Edna Becher, Radyo Pawikan in Zurich, Switzerland
May 11, 2022

On the evening of May 9 in the Philippines, local and international observers witnessed widespread irregularities in the National Election of 2022. 9. The integrity of the voting process was put to question, due to power and vote counting machine (VCM) failures, widespread reports of vote-buying, as well as violence in polling stations. Reports indicate more than 1,800 voting machines malfunctioned or failed affecting 1.1 million voters. There were 321 verified cases (35 per cent) of VCM errors, which include paper jams and rejection of ballots. The number of malfunctioned VCMs has doubled compared to 2016 and 2019 according to Comelec’s own data.

Amid the reported irregularities and a considerable number of voters unable to cast their votes, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) pursued in counting the results of the 2022 National Elections. Many have questioned the consistent lead of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte by a margin of more than 16 million and 22 million difference respectively with opposition Robredo-Pangilinan.

Today in Radyo Pawikan, we will be interviewing Jose Maria Sison, Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have your insights on the election results. To start off, what was your reaction when you saw the results?

JMS: I monitored the Philippine elections from 6 a.m. of May 9 onwards. I was getting reports from friends in different parts of the Philippines that they could not vote and were made to wait even past 7 p.m. because the local board of electoral inspectors told them that the Vote Counting Machines, SD cards or Precinct Count Optical Scanners were defective or out of order.
But starting at 8 p.m. the Comelec began to broadcast that it has counted and canvassed nationwide more than 50 per cent of the votes and Marcos was winning by a landslide over Robredo, at first with a uniform margin of 32 per cent in various parts of the country and then eventually with uniform margin of 47 per cent.

I immediately thought that the results were unbelievable like the statisticians and mathematician opined in the press. The widespread malfunctioning of the VCMs, SDs and PCOSs did not jibe with the subsequent high speed of the vote count and canvass. In the 2016 elections, it took 10 days from May 9 to May 19 to complete the vote count and canvassing nationwide. This time it took the Comelec only 2 days to count and canvass all the votes.

How could this happen? Can you tell us about the historical revisionism that has led to a second Marcos presidency? Did it start with Duterte or has this been going on for a longer amount of time?

JMS: The incumbent president Duterte rigged the elections this year. He cheated. He controls the Comelec, the entire process and the contracted suppliers of equipment and ballots which include his dummy company run by Dennis Uy and the Smartmatic. He has fixed the results of the elections in favor of the Marcos-Duterte tandem and slate in order to prevent his prosecution and trial for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court and for mass murder and plunder before Philippine courts.

Since it was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991, the Marcos family had always tried to revise Philippine history in its favor. But it has always failed. It is not true that the Marcos propaganda machinery has been so successful at revising Philippine history to the point that the people have become stupid and have forgotten the brutal and corrupt rule of the fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

The false narrative that the Marcos family was successful at dumbing down the people is calculated to cover up the rigging of the 2022 elections and blame the people for the fake election of the Marcos-Duterte tandem and slate. The Dutertes, Marcoses and their allies and propaganda agents have spread the false narrative to dampen the people’s outrage and the expected mass protests.

Could the other candidates like Leni Robredo or Isko Moreno have done anything else? Especially Robredo had seemed to gain a lot of support. Was her political platform ultimately the cause of her loss or were the forces behind the Marcos-Duterte campaign too powerful?

JMS: Robredo was the most credible opposition presidential candidate in terms of her pronouncements and the large mass rallies that she was able to gather. She was at the top of Google Trends and other credible surveys. The other presidential candidates who presented themselves as also opposition had less following to show.

Marcos was far worse than Robredo in having no platform or program, except for the empty phrase “pagkakaisa” or “unity”, without any substantiation. At the least in the case of Robredo, she was dishing out a few points about the substance of her platform. Indeed, it is more valid to say that Marcos made a fake victory by having powerful forces like the Duterte regime and Marcos money to rig the elections.

There have been reports about irregularities regarding the vote counting machines (VCM). Has this won Marcos the election?

JMS: At the outset, I pointed out the irregularities regarding the vote counting machines, SD cards and PCOSs. There were claims of breakdown or defects of these. And so many people in tens of millions were not able to vote. But unknown to the voters fake ballots were pre-shaded and later fed to the VCMs by operatives of the Duterte regime.

The fake ballots had been pre-shaded and kept in reserve for speedy count and canvassing after 8 p.m. of May 9. It is an obvious lie that only so few thousands of VCMs were deployed this year despite the billions appropriated for buying new equipment and refurbishing old ones.

A lot of campaigning was done on social media. There was a lot of fake news, disinformation, historical revisionism. Should social media be held accountable?

JMS: Of course, the Marcos and Duterte families had their private troll armies and used government civil and military propaganda machines in favor of the Marcos-Duterte tandem and slate. But the opposition has had in its favor the reality of the ever worsening social crisis, the mass protests against the crimes of the regime and increased access to the social media.

People have been taking to the streets since Monday night. The people are furious. What can those of us, that are not willing to accept a Marcos presidency, do both in the Philippines and here in Europe?

JMS: The people have the right to rise up in mass protests against the electoral fraud committed by the Duterte regime. Their sovereign and democratic right of suffrage has been violated. And the scion of a brutal and corrupt political dynasty is being imposed on them.

The Filipinos in Europe and elsewhere abroad can also rise up in protest in support of and coordination with their compatriots and relatives in the Philippines. They are even more free to do so abroad, unlike in the Philippines where state terrorism is rampant and is extremely violent against the people.

Can you tell us a bit about the Marcos-Duterte alliance? What can we expect?

JMS: The Marcos-Duterte alliance has existed since a long time ago. Rodrigo Duterte is proud of his father Vicente being a cabinet member of the Marcos regime in the 1970s and being an ally of Marcos. When he ran for the presidency in 2016, Duterte sought the support of the Marcos family in order to get votes from the so-called Solid North.

The Marcos and Duterte political dynasties have been the worst, the most brutal and most corrupt in Philippine history. We can expect far worse from Bongbong and Sara because they are out to consolidate and expand the power and wealth that their parents have accumulated for decades.

Here on Radyo Pawikan, we have often reported on the NTF-ELCAC, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. They have been the cause of a massive campaign against activists, journalists, human rights advocates and lawyers that has even resulted in murder numerous times. Will Marcos continue NTF-ELCAC? What will happen to progressive organizations and people?

JMS: We expect the Marcos-Duterte regime to continue the so-called Anti-Terror Law, the so-called Anti-Terrorism Council, the NTF-ELCAC, the anti-communist campaign of military suppression, the red tagging, abductions, torture, mass murders and other crimes against the people. Social activists, journalists, human rights advocates and lawyers, their patriotic and progressive organizations and the broad masses of the people will be further victimized on a wider scale.

We’ve talked about what has happened and the negative effects it will have on the Filipino people. Let’s turn this around. What is it that the Filipino people want? What are we fighting for?

JMS: What the people want can be simply stated as follows: full national independence from US and other foreign domination, genuine democracy for the people, social justice against class oppression and exploitation, economic development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, expansion of social services (especially education, health and housing), cultural progress, independent foreign policy and international solidarity of peoples.

Do the Filipino people have a chance in improving the situation in the Philippines through the electoral process?

JMS: Of course, the Filipino people have a chance to improve their situation. Within the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system, they can try to struggle for and obtain reforms through the elections and mass campaigns. And if they fail to obtain reforms in this manner, the people can invoke their sovereign right to change the ruling system and and carry out the new democratic revolution. Thus, there is now a growing and advancing armed revolution in the Philippines.

Will there be peace negotiations under the Marcos-Duterte regime?

JMS: The Marcos-Duterte tandem has not shown any interest in the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, unlike most of the opposition presidential candidates. The new ruling clique has indicated so many times that it will continue the the campaign of military suppression against the revolutionary movement of the people.

As a result of the cheating in the 2022 elections and the lack of peace negotiations, what are the foreseeable consequences?

JMS: The people will keep on engaging in mass protests and mass campaigns to expose the rottenness of the ruling system and the usurpation of power by those who benefited from electoral fraud and terrorism. The ruling clique will not be able to solve the worsening chronic political and economic crisis and will continue to be brutal and corrupt.

The people, especially the workers and peasants, will be suffering a lot from mass unemployment, low incomes and mass poverty and from the repressive actions and campaigns of the ruling clique. The people’s democratic revolution will further grow in strength and advance through protracted people’s war. ##

Interview on the 2022 Philippine elections