I’d rather call it “Eleccion de Comedia,” but I guess the above would suffice my experience with yesterday’s elections.
I was actually excited yesterday. It would be my 3rd time to vote and the first to experience the automated elections (like the rest of us). The night before, we scheduled our voting times since hubby was not around (he went to Caloocan where he was registered) and someone had to stay with Zee. So the following morning my mom and 2 brothers went at 7AM to the voting precinct. They were back by past 9:30AM with indelible inks on their right forefingers.
Next up was me and my sister. (My dad went ahead all of us, since he was part of PPCRV).
The first things we saw along the way weren’t new to us: people giving away sample ballots and loads of them littered along the road. We were wondering who would be cleaning them up.
We arrived at De Castro Elementary School in Pasig where our precinct was at about 10AM and made our way to the third floor. We lined up with the rest of our cluster members for about 2 hours, and then we were allowed inside the waiting room, arranged with seats rowed in 10s. We learned that voters were grouped into 10s from the waiting area to the voting area. Okay. But then there was one row that had 11 seats, and one of the people ahead of us made a mistake in filling up that 11th seat. So when it was time to move forward, there was always a person without a seat. My sister called the attention of the one manning the line, a certain Reynaldo Pelino (or Felino? Can’t read the name from where I was seated, no thanks to the thick tip of the pen they used for their ID), to fix the line, but all he said was that a minimum of 10 people can go inside the voting area. Well, he and my sister didn’t see where both sides of the argument came from, but after that he counted loudly how many people were getting in the waiting area. Okay, fine. That was his solution. I told my sister to give him until 2PM before he stops counting the number of people going inside (it was already 12:30PM) because by that time, we were done and he’ll probably forget my sister’s suggestion. Haha.
At 1PM we were part of the batch that’s supposed to go to the voting area when another guy went in and said that the head teacher manning the voting area was to take a 5-minute break, much to everyone’s chagrin. Ma’am Eliza Salvador had no substitute so the voting stopped. My sister (so bibo that day) approached the guy who made the announcement (didn’t get his name, shucks) and asked why there was no one to take her place for the meantime. The guy’s answer: “Wala po kasing budget.” Oh.
(Magkano ba kasi serbisyo mo, Ma’am Salvador? Expensive ka ata…)
The 5-minute break extended to 15 minutes (she needed to retouch her make-up, I guess). I was hungry. Man, my breakfast has been digested. It was now 1:20PM. And lo and behold, the guy said the next batch can proceed to the voting room: it was our turn to vote. Yay!
So I went in line, showed an ID (I have no voter’s ID, will just register again for one next time) and signed beside my name and photo. Then I was given the ballot, folder, and pen. In less than 10 minutes I was done. I then proceeded to the PCOS machine where I waited in line for it to swallow my vote (the girl ahead of me had her ballot rejected thrice, though it was accepted the 4th time). After feeding my ballot into the machine, the message read: “Congratulations, your vote has been registered.” Then it was time to move to the other table to have my finger marked with indelible ink and back to Ma’am Salvador for the thumbmark. And I was done!
Whew! More than 3 hours of waiting and only 10 minutes to actually cast my vote. Took much longer than the last elections, when it only took us no more than an hour from waiting to writing our preferred candidates.
The clustering of numerous precincts made the process longer. Also because there was only one head teacher in charge of the names and giving out the ballots (wala pang ka-relyebo). Not to mention that some PCOS machines in other areas bogged down. It can’t be helped, these are the birth pains of the automated elections.
I do hope, though, that COMELEC has noted these observations so that they could come up with some solutions in the next elections. They have 3 more years to work on them, so I guess that’s enough time, right?
For now, I am proud and happy that, even if Richard Gordon (yes, he’s my candidate, now you know) is lagging behind in big numbers, I was able to practice my right to be heard and to make my vote count.
At least I can say that whatever happens to my country, I can complain. I voted, you know. 😉