2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec warns against unreliable exit polls as overseas voting begins

Dwight de Leon
Comelec warns against unreliable exit polls as overseas voting begins

FACE OF COMELEC. Election spokesman James Jimenez answers media questions before the start of the Comelec vice-presidential debate in Pasay City on March 20, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Under the law, the result of exit polls may only be announced after voting ends on election day, which is May 9. Violation of this provision is an election offense, one lawyer warns
Comelec warns against unreliable exit polls as overseas voting begins

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) sounded the alarm against supposed exit polls that are going viral on social media after Filipinos overseas began casting their ballots for the 2022 elections.

“As a general rule, unless the entity that came out with the exit poll is a known and reputable survey firm, it is not reliable. It is easy to create official-looking forms or graphics that seem legitimate on social media,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said on Twitter on Monday, April 11.

“Remember that overseas voting [ballots] will only be counted on May 9, after the close of the polls,” he added.

One Facebook post, in particular, made by a vlogger who identifies as chairman of the BBM-Sara Uniteam Supporters in Hong Kong, showed that presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was dominating opponents on the first day of overseas absentee voting there on Sunday, April 10.

As of this writing, the said post has been shared 8,000 times since Sunday.

Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Election Act states that the result of exit polls may only be announced after voting ends on election day, which is May 9, 2022.

“[The result] must clearly identify the total number of respondents, and the places where they were taken. Said announcement shall state that the same is unofficial and does not represent a trend,” the same law added.

Election lawyer Emil Marañon III also warned that the premature release of exit poll results constitutes an election offense as it promotes trending.

“Exit polls, when prematurely released, cannot be relied upon as it is not only misleading, but often sinisterly done for the purpose of influencing the voting,” Marañon said.

“Overseas voting is one month long, only a clueless fool would claim victory on the basis of the results of the first day,” he added.

Comelec warns against unreliable exit polls as overseas voting begins

Nearly 1.7 million Filipinos overseas are eligible to cast their ballots, in an election that will determine President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.