Cavite City May 13 Election Day (2013)

Today is the 2013 Philippine general election, a midterm-kind of election since elected officials will be sworn in to office midway from the president’s term.

Brian Sahagun showing the indelible ink on his finger.

Last night, my brother, Jaycelle and I came home all the way from Quezon City to exercise our right to vote and the right to not vote epal candidates. From the news, we could hear all sorts of violence springing from this event–who should win and gain back their investments and more. And that’s what we saw–clumps of people on every corner as we drove by nearer our house in Cavite City.

We arrived in front of our house by 11 PM. From afar, I saw a dark spot on the street. It was a pool of blood as I inferred from the commotion of people nearby. I honked the car to tell my brother to quit probing and start opening the gate. Thanks to the goto late-night meal we had we didn’t reach home early enough to be part of this news.

The dried blood in front of our house.
A close-up of the dried blood.

At Ladislao Diwa Elementary School

We planned to wake up early to vote by 7 AM to avoid a long queue of voters. I readied my camera and stepped out to walk up to the school.

Our neighbor, Macho, delivering softdrinks.

The entrance were barricaded by candidate supporters handing out flyers to people going in. There were many people already–some were there to vote, some were only hanging around.

On election day outside Ladislao Diwa Elementary School. Cavite City
Flyers littered over the plants.
Classrooms used as election precincts.

Right by the very first building in the school was a voters’ assistance desk with roaming volunteers for a CHAMP elections:


Clean would be difficult to achieve given those loads of campaign materials that outnumbered trash cans; accurate would be a black and white thing–if the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine isn’t accurate then there wouldn’t be any event today; meaningful–I don’t know–this isn’t Christmas to be meaningful enough.

All I want is an HP elections–honest and peaceful.

The voters’ assistance desk and its volunteers.

Months before the elections, we’ve been bombarded with teevee ads and jingling campaigns where some were a pain to the sight and hearing and a nuisance to that teleserye we were watching. Days before the event I still didn’t have any senatorial roster. All I had was a list of “senatoriables” (what a term) I would not vote. Aside from being unready to vote, I had no idea where my designated precinct was.

Internet Precinct Finder? Wow!

COMELEC has a website, they say. COMELEC has an app, they say. It’s downright unusable, I found out–it’s always down. Even those who tried to help the government like GMA News Online couldn’t deliver the hopes and dreams of people who wished to immediately know where to go to vote on this day.

And the best damn thing that greeted me today–the Barangay Map Locator. Located in front of the school, it will tell you where you’re supposed to go without any search box or FAQ. It doesn’t need any data plan or even a keypad. It simply worked.

The Barangay Map Locator written on a blackboard.

Voting proper

Our precinct was located way beyond the school grounds. Past the field and into the classroom, there were a few people loitering around. The good thing was that there wasn’t any queue.

The stage of Ladislao Diwa Elementary School.
The precinct number signage.
The voter’s list.

Some of my relatives weren’t able to vote–them, being trapped in another city or country, they couldn’t afford to teleport here and back. I wondered how easy would it be for someone to pretend to be one of those absentees.

A voter signing his name on the registration.
People casting their votes.

I didn’t use the ballot secrecy folder because there are no secrets to keep (like in some love songs). But really, I didn’t want to look like I’ve studied for an exam and was being overzealous in not sharing the answers.

Casting my votes for the senatorial candidates.
The indelible ink getting applied to a voter’s right index finger.
A voter being attended to by the teacher-volunteers.

I went home right after feeding my ballot to the machine and getting the ink. All we’re left with is the chance to hope that some candidates don’t get into position. For a better tomorrow.


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