Sunday, October 29, 2006

SWS Poll Is NOT Consistent With Supreme Court Ruling

Just before the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on Sigaw ng Bayan's people's initiative this week, the banner headline of the country's leading broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer read:

60% of Filipinos doubt SC fairness, says poll

Looking at the actual question and respondent data of the SWS 3rd Quarter survey, it's evident that the headline was deceptive because the data actually showed that 60% were UNSURE ("hindi sigurado") on how the Court would rule, for or against, fairly or unfairly; the vast majority were "undecided" and just did not know what to think, because the Court had not yet ruled. But the question was craftily phrased and it produced a headline assailed by many as propaganda pressure on the Supreme Court from those who were against the initiative. Suddenly, in Lambino v. Comelec the Supreme Court ruled against Sigaw ng Bayan people's initiative saying that
With only 100,000 printed copies of the petition, it would be physically impossible for all or a great majority of the 6.3 million signatories to have seen the petition before they signed the signature sheets. The inescapable conclusion is that the Lambino Group failed to show to the 6.3 million signatories the full text of the proposed changes. If ever, not more than one million signatories saw the petition before they signed the signature sheets.
But maybe to make up for the earlier insulting misinterpretation of the data PDI and SWS published the following stories today about a poll in the 2nd Quarter:

PDI: High Court Ruling Consistent With SWS Poll Result


Social Weather Stations head Mahar Mangahas posted a rare by-lined article on their website trying to make up for things they said about the Supreme Court just before its ruling. Mahar writes:
The lead-off argument of the Supreme Court's majority decision on October 25 to reject the "People's Initiative" is that the great majority of the signatories were not told what amendments in the Constitution they were supposed to be petitioning for.This is consistent with SWS's report: "Six of every ten of those approached on a petition said that they were not shown the amendments which they were asked to sign" in its July 13, 2006 Media Release "'No'Vote In Cha-cha Plebiscite Rises To 67%; Only 6.8% Have Signed A Petition."

No, it was not consistent.

In fact the SWS data tends to put the Supreme Court's conclusion in a bad light! SWS's data shows that as early as June 2006, 5 months into a 7 month signature collection campaign, there were already at least one million that could be said to have seen proposed amendments.

In contrast, and based on the documents and testimony at hand, the High Court decided upon a definite mathematical fact, that "if ever, not more than one million of the signatories saw the petition before they signed the signature sheets."

How many does SWS claim saw the petition? From Mahar's article SWS claims that "six of every ten of those approached on a petition said that they were not shown the amendments..." which means 4 out of 10 or 40% did see them.

Mahar also says that "only 6.8% have signed a petition."

According to the National Statistics and Coordination Board the number of registered voters in 2004 was 43,536,028 registered voters. The annual population growth rate is about 2%. Thus, according to SWS, the number of signatories that saw the text of the initiative petition, as of their July, 2006 survey was 40% of 6.8% (plus or minus 3%) of 43,536,028 or 1,184,179. Considering that Sigaw ng Bayan collected signatures between February 15, 2006 and August 25, 2006 and that the July survey covered only up to the June time frame (5 out of the 7 months), their estimate, corrected for the extra two months of signature collecting was that between 1.5 and 2 million people who were shown and who signed the petition for chacha also SAW the full text of the proposed amendments. I did not bother to correct the voter base for population growth, and I ignored the fact that their statistic "...six of ten did not see..." applies to ALL who were shown petitions including those who did not sign. Thus, even given the margin of error, the SWS estimate is actually closer to the 2 million number. 2 million is 100% HIGHER than the High Court found as an absolute upper bound. It is NOT consistent with the court's statement that "not more than one million signatories saw the petition before they signed on the signature sheets." Moreover, I have assumed that the RATE of signature collection was uniform and linear throughout the 7 months. A plausible case could be made that the rate in the last two months, not covered by the 2nd Quarter SWS survey, was much higher than in the first five months, which would argue for an even higher estimate. But even the most conservative calculation proves that more than one million probably had seen the text by June, 2006.

SWS proves that the Supreme Court has ERRED in a finding of arithmetic fact.

What a laugh! Well they can fool 99.9995% of the people all of the time. But they can't fool the readers of Philippine Commentary!

If anything, Sigaw ng Bayan's Atty. Raul Lambino should include the SWS data and subsequent articles like the above in its Motion for Reconsideration as proof that millions of the signatories "probably" and "with statistical confidence 95%" saw the full text of the initiative petition. It may not help him one whit, but may as well, it can't hurt, it can only help. Come to think of it, I have so far assumed that the rate of signature collection was linear. Maybe Sigaw could even say that if the rate merely doubled in the last two months of collection, one could construe the SWS data as indicating that by end of August, all or most had seen the proposed amendments.

Regular readers know that I agreed with the Court's finding of a fatal insufficiency in form because the Court seemed to conclusively show that almost none of the signatories actually saw the full text, even if they made a very generous calculation that put an upper bound of one million who might have seen it. I am perturbed by the fact that SWS found up to twice that number that probably saw the full text. Even though 2 million is far less than the claimed 6.3 million signatures, it is still a pretty large number and might be a FACT not known to the Supreme Court.

I have no reason to doubt SWS's raw data, even if their Media Release Bureau seems guided by more than just statistics and mathematics. As for the Media's coverage of surveys, I wish they'd send their reporters and editors to school for a month or so, just so I don't have to keep writing these really embarrassing (for them) articles.

Still SWS’s incontrovertible data could become a part of the Sigaw Motion for Reconsideration because while it does not prove that they “showed to the people” the full text, it DOES prove that the Supreme Court made a finding of fact but was WRONG! Mathematically. Can this change the Decision? Hardly, because of the revision thing. But it is a very interesting twist in the denouement of this whole affaire.

SWS proves the Supreme Court erred in a finding of fact!


Randy David (PDI: Hope in Education) probably does not even realize he has just produced one of the best arguments for the large scale PRIVATIZATION of the education system. It is the 150 billion peso per year national, centralized public school system, with its half a million lifetime government employees in the biggest labor union in the Archipelago, that is responsible for stifling local initiatives to build real schools with real buildings, desks, books and computers, not JUST teachers on a payroll and a prayer.

Rina Jimenez David GUSHES. (That's all. She just gushes!)

Chinese Company to Bid for Transco
Oh great! Now they can turn the whole grid into JDV's fire-prone Christmas lighting system with all that cheap and brightly painted but dangerously substandard electrical gear that is flooding the country from the Mainland. We need an honest-to-God consumer products safety testing agency.

Manila Times editorializes on the debate on History and Fiction between Manuel F. Almario and Augusto de Viana. It's moot and academic, but that is the way of all history and fiction, eh?

Amina Rasul (Prayer of Thanksgiving) on Eid'l Fitr:
I prayed in Greenhills, at the once-controversial prayer room located in the parking building. There must have been more than 2,000 of us there! So many that we could not use the prayer room. The Greenhills Muslim Traders’ Association laid blue plastic sheets on the rough cement floor and used blue plastic sheets to give us some privacy, as cars started arriving to park. I thank the Ortigas Corporation for our prayer room, for not caving in to the pressure of anti-Muslim groups.
Yeah, Preciosa Soliven, back off! They've as much right as the Catolicos cerrados.

Oh I just can't wait to read and blog about Jimmy Licauco's inevitable article for Halloween in the Demagagosphere.


mlq3 said...

let's stipulate 40% did see the "amendments." but let's also stipulate that they saw what they signed -or did not sign- but then, what they saw were not the amendments, but a summary, at best, and most likely, simply the survey question that comprised the petiotion -"do you approve amending..."

so it does not prove either lambino or the sws. it proves what the majority decision stated: that what people signed on to was deceptively-phrased and incomplete something-or-other but not what they should have signed.

Rizalist said...

I am not questioning any of the Court's other findings. Just their finding of fact that "NOT MORE THAN ONE MILLION had seen..." upon which they posit the first fatal infirmity, the insufficiency in form.

The reason they say that such a requirement is essential is precisely because of the practical difficulty of VERIFYING that ALL the people had seen what they signed. Going by the documents and testimony they had, they made above finding of fact (Lambino claimed to have printed 100,000 copies, they assumed 10 per signature sheet, etc.)

Obviously there is no way to prove that all actually read and understand, but that is the inherent compromise in requiring a sufficiency of form.

Thus, the Court can only make rulings based on FACTS and TESTIMONY in its cognizance.

All this proves is that SWS has shown their finding of fact to be WRONG.

How it affects everything else is what has to be decided.

This is definitely a MORAL BASIS for reconsideration, because the findings of fact by SWS tend to dispute a basic premise of the decision.

But they may rule me out of my mind!

Fred said...

DJB, I agree with you that it cannot change the decision. While the SC and SWS figures are based on extrapolations, I believe the SC figure is closer to the bullseye (based on the documents and admissions of Atty. Lambino).

(Off topic: By the way, Dean, I already moved my site to Thanks.)

schumey said...

Your post regarding China is absolutely true. Remember the North Rail issue? I recall a BBC report some months back discussing the Chinese Railways System. The report mentioned that China's Railway System is 35 or 40 years obsolete. This is the reason why they are now investing $70 billion to change the entire system. UK, France and Germany has been tapped to undertake this project. Now where will they "dump" their old and atiquated equipment? Your guess is as good as mine.