👋 Oi, mga repapips, Brian Dys here! I love music, photography, and creative stuff like UX design and art. This is a place where I collect my thoughts and works. Apart all these, I’m Jaycelle’s better half and Bryce’s dad. 🥰
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was my second time to vote for this country’s president. In 2004, I placed my bet on GMA because she was cute.
I was watching TV before the election day. Not excited to vote at all. Why would I be? At first I was caught between Noy!Noy! and Gibo then between Gibo and Gordon; never saw a single Ja-Ja-Ja-Jamby commercial (thanks, god) but saw a Jinggoy commercial (heads horribly morphing into other heads) in the bus. Only the last minute before I slept did I think of checking my assigned precinct. COMELEC’s Online Precinct Finder was down so I used Google Precinct Finder. I was assigned to the same precinct as before — Ladislao Diwa Elementary School.
The rooms were segregated by barangay. The line towards our room was fairly normal even if we already got there at around 8 A.M. The heat was scorching, as usual, so the line created a gap — other people chose to stay in the shade rather than get roasted alive. There was an instance where an adult couple or magulang pretended to be looking for their names on the list tacked to the door — they stayed on the line as if they were ahead of a dozen fall-in-liners. The style.
I and my parents were behind the man reading a tabloid; he was approached by his companion and joked that he might as well go ahead and vote since he was already a senior citizen. The old man silently laughed as he was short of several years to senior citizenship.
The line wasn’t moving for fifteen minutes. People were already doing all sorts of things — hands in their pockets; fingers in their booger holes; imaginary drawings by their tiptoes; I, on the other hand, strolled around with my camera hanging by my shoulder. I peeked through the wooden jalousies of a classroom to see the voters keenly choosing which candidates to vote or maybe they were just keenly shading those tiny circles.
Cavite City Voters
Cavite City belongs to Region IV-A which is also known as CALABARZON (provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon). There are close to 64,000 registered voters in Cavite City according to Google Precinct Finder. Two of them were not on the list; we bumped into my uncle and his wife who were walking out of the precinct looking disappointed. They were upset that their names were not on the list even if they voted in 2004 National Election. There might have been mix-ups of voters and their assigned precincts.
This was the first automated election in the country. Before, you had to cast your vote by writing the name of your chosen candidate and drop the ballot into the golden yellow ballot box. Now, all the names of the candidates were printed out — you just had to shade the circle beside the candicate of your choice. Some people might put a check on the circle and some might jot a dot so the government and several news networks launched campaigns to educate the public on the correct way of casting votes.
It was a good thing for the senior citizens to have fast lanes. Most of them who voted were accompanied by adults or children — anyone who could assist them in walking through crowds to reading the names of candidates.
It was my turn after an hour and a half. The ballot was a long paper which awkwardly drooped to my lap as I awkwardly sat in a little kid’s classroom chair. Up to this point, I was pointing my marker to Gibo and Gordon, to and fro. As I shaded my choice, I noticed how easy it was to fill the circle with ink. The Smartmatic marker had a jagged-tip; with just three short strokes, there was no turning back.
I repeatedly counted if I already had twelve senators in my lineup; having more than twelve would invalidate my other votes in that category. For the local candidates, I was only here in Cavite City during weekends; I missed all the fuss of candidates campaigning, riding their vehicles and waving while their jingly-jangly campaign jingles were playing in the foreground — I mostly guessed my bets for city councilors.
We were done voting in two hours. The area near the exit was peppered with flyers. Voters done with their businesses were still hanging out — maybe excited and waiting for the results. As I walked out, I left the immediate memory of the election and hoped that tomorrow would be a new day.