MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (search) won a narrow victory over her movie star rival in the May 10 vote, national election officials said Monday, although her opponent claimed massive fraud and warned of a "people power" revolt.
Arroyo put the military on full alert to prevent the vote count from being influenced by "mob rule," her spokesman said.
Elections officials said the count showed Arroyo with 39.5 percent of the vote to Fernando Poe Jr.'s (search) 36.6 percent. The margin of Arroyo's lead was more than 900,000 votes, the officials said.
Two areas — Sarangani province and Cotabato city — remain to be counted, but they do not represent enough votes to affect the outcome, the officials said.
An official hand count will not be finished for weeks. But two top elections officials said on condition of anonymity that an unofficial count was made during the tabulation for senatorial candidates being released Monday by the Commission on Elections.
"It's clear, but Congress is the one who will proclaim that," one election officials told The Associated Press, referring to Arroyo's victory.
Elections Commission chairman Benjamin Abalos said he and other officials counting the votes for senatorial candidates also have tracked presidential votes appearing in the same documents. However, the officials could not announce their tally publicly, he said.
Arroyo also was leading Poe by more than 730,000 votes in a government-sanctioned, but unofficial, "quick count" by an election watchdog. It has tallied more than 60 percent of 216,000 election precincts.
The size of Arroyo's advantage will do little to ease growing tensions. Poe's people claim their own count shows a clear victory for him.
Under the constitution, Congress must tally the votes for president and vice president from regional and provincial vote totals. Lawmakers then proclaim the winner.
Police warned they would disperse illegal rallies, and the military went on full nationwide alert.
"We will not allow this vital institutional process to be sabotaged, subverted or delayed in any manner by lawless machinations or mob rule," Arroyo spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in a statement.
Rumors of anti-government plots have spread in recent days through mobile phone text messages.
The looming standoff has caused concern in a country with a history of political turmoil and military restiveness. Analysts predict some sort of confrontation and say the recriminations could continue to hound Arroyo if she is proclaimed winner by a narrow margin.
House of Representatives Speaker Jose de Venecia said he expected the tally to be completed within three weeks, ahead of the scheduled June 30 inauguration.