Smartmatic’s ‘magic 12’

THIS writer firmly believes that the “winning” 12 senatorial candidates do not owe us voters their good fortune. They probably owe it to unidentified personnel from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic. The suspicion is not without basis.

Weeks before Monday’s election, this corner advised our dear readers to monitor the seemingly unbelievable frontrunners in senatorial surveys, obviously aimed at preparing us for the eventual election returns.

You must have wondered what the top 12 in those surveys had done to eventually emerge as the top 12 in the actual race.

Is election history repeating itself?

I remember that the last Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) senatorial surveys in 2016 turned out prophetic. Of the 12 survey leaders, only the 7th, Serge Osmeña, did not win as he was eventually edged out by Win Gatchalian.

Let’s move fast forward to SWS’ last survey on the just-held 2019 senatorial derby, still available on Google, starting from the 1st placer to the 12th.  They are Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Sonny Angara, Ronald Dela Rosa, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, Nancy Binay, Jinggoy Estrada, Koko Pimentel, and Bam Aquino.

All of the above, plus  JV Ejercito, Francis Tolentino and Imee Marcos, are also listed in the last Pulse Asia survey of 15 “most likely to land in the magic 12.”

Now, compare the two different surveys with the tentative result of the senatorial race. As of yesterday afternoon, the top 12 were ranked in the following order: Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Ronald Dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Bong Revilla Jr., Koko Pimentel, and Nancy Binay.

Take note that 10 candidates in the final SWS survey are within the “magic 12”; and the top four are similarly ranked.

All 12 in SWS’ winning circle are also among Pulse Asia’s “top 15,” plus Jinggoy, JV and Bam, who must be aching to dislodge any one in there.

Don’t you find it eerie that with 62 candidates running for senators, two commercial pollsters randomly interviewing 1,200 different respondents on a base of 60 million voters could almost accurately predict all 12 winners?

The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) retention of Smartmatic as vote-counting machine (VCM) provider and operator reminds us of the “automated dagdag-bawas” manipulations in previous elections.

In a previous column, I cited the sudden resignation and departure of then Comelec chairman Andres Bautista to the United States to evade the impeachment complaint against him for massive hacking of the Comelec website two months before election 2016.

Now there’s someone interpreting the coincidence of the 2019 senatorial surveys with the election results as a reflection of the President’s popularity.  It is no secret that most of the winning candidates are either close to the President or to his daughter, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte Carpio. Re-electionist senator Grace Poe is an “independent” who has never openly commented on the President’s pronouncements.

No wonder, both SWS and Pulse Asia have repeatedly “shouted out loud” the unbelievable 80 percent or more “trust ratings” of the President.

The Senate is now the only institution in the country that still enjoys a semblance of independence, unlike the House of Representatives where more than two-thirds “worship” President Duterte.

If two-thirds of the Senate would be as pliant, then the President could play a numbers game – say impeaching his adversaries, notably jailed senator Leila de Lima and Vice President Leni Robredo; or railroading a law calling for Charter change to effect a federal form of government that would lift term limits on elected public officials. (


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