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Can exit pollsters be liable for publishing results ahead of the closing of the polls?

Publishing the result of an exit poll ahead of the national polls closing is an election offense. This is according to Section 5.5 of Republic Act (RA) 9006 or “an act to enhance the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections through fair election practices.”

An alleged exit poll result conducted on the first day of absentee voting in Hongkong recently went viral online.

Publishing the result of an exit poll ahead of the national polls closing is an election offense. This is according to Section 5.5 of Republic Act (RA) 9006 or “an act to enhance the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections through fair election practices.”

On April 11, twitter user @KimIndar shared on her account, a screenshot of an alleged exit poll result conducted during the first day (April 10) of the overseas absentee voting in Hong Kong. 

Her tweet reads “Hong Kong Exit Poll as of April 10, 2022″. A photo attachment showed the alleged number of votes received by five candidates, with Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. leading with 3,357 votes. His nearest rival, VP Leni Robredo had received only 65 votes. Manila Mayor Isko Domagoso and Senator Manny Pacquiao were ranked third and fourth, with a meager 18 and 15 votes, respectively. Senator Ping Lacson failed to get any vote.

Netizens, however, noticed that the total number of votes shared by Indar exceeded that of the data released by the Philippine Consulate in Hongkong, which reported that there were only 3,285 valid votes cast on the first day of absentee voting in Hong Kong.

Also on twitter, COMELEC commissioner, James Jimenez, shed light on the legitimacy of such a survey. 

An “exit poll” is not the official tally of votes cast in the 2022 National and Local Elections. Tandaan din na bibilangin lang ang mga boto ng Overseas Voting on May 9, AFTER the close of polls.” 

When asked by a netizen whether the exit poll result shared by Indar is legitimate, his answer was. As a general rule, unless na ang nag labas ng exit poll ay isang kilala at reputable na survey firm, hindi ito reliable. Lalo na sa social media, madaling gumawa ng official looking forms or graphics na mukhang legit (as a general rule, unless the publisher of an exit poll is a known and reputable survey firm, it is not reliable. Especially on social media, it is very easy to make forms or graphics that looks official and legitimate).”

But is it really legal to publish exit poll results ahead of the May 9, 2022 election? Election lawyer, Emil Marañon III has something to share.

In his tweet, he said: “Sec. 5 of R.A. No. 9006 prohibits the announcement of the results of exit polls before the closing of the polls on May 9, 2022 as it promotes trending. Even if true, premature release of exit polls results is an ELECTION OFFENSE. Persons responsible may be arrested in flagrante.

Several personalities, including infamous social media personality Jam Magno, and Ilo-Ilo representative Janet Garin also shared a screenshot of the said exit poll on their accounts. 


COMELEC has since warned the public against publishing exit poll results.

Written by JE C.C.

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