Elections in the Philippines

Today, May 14, 2007, is election day here in the Philippines. All registered voters aged 18 and above will troop to the polls to elect their senators, congressmen, mayor and vice mayor, governor and vice governor, councilors, and party-list.

Voting at the precincts starts at 7am and closes by 3pm. If I were you, I'd troop to the polls early enough to avoid the traffic and the crowds.

I was at my precinct at 7:30am. Save for some unfamiliarity and seeming confusion with the procedures, the individuals assigned to my precinct were friendly and helpful. As I searched for my name on the list, I was surprised to see that they now have a list which has my face and thumb mark recorded on it. I guess that's where the information went when we registered supposedly to have a new voter's ID card. I still don't have an SSS-type voter's ID card (do you?) but it's good to see that the information is being used somehow.

I was out in 15 minutes and although the initial folder that I got didn't have the names of the party-list I could choose from, I managed to get another folder that had it. I voted for only 4 senatorial candidates and am sure you know who they are. I initially thought of adding more names to the list just so there will be no blank spaces but why should I vote for candidates that I don't really like? Why help them at all?

For those who have not yet voted, if you cannot complete your list, just leave the space blank. Putting any mark on it (like a line or a slash) might make it a marked or a spoiled ballot. As to your (and my) worry that somewhere along the process, those blanks might get filled with other names, that is their problem -- not yours or mine. The important thing is that you have done your duty of voting and of choosing wisely and according to your conscience.

I can feel it in my bones that this will be an important election. We watch with interest to see if Fr. Panlilio can indeed trounce the Lapids and the Pinedas in Pampanga. We shall see if voters will go for Darlene Custodio Antonino instead of Manny Pacquiao. Those who will top the senatorial elections are sure to have their eyes set on the presidency in 2010. Will even one of the Kapatiran candidates pull a surprise?

We shall know in the coming days and weeks what the answers to the above questions will be. Whatever the results though, life will go on and I hope that the time it takes to get to a better Philippines that we all pine for -- will be shortened rather than lengthened.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas at ang mga Pilipinong tapat! Bumoto ka. Mahalaga ang iyong isang boto.

[By Angelica Viloria | Monday, May 14, 2007]

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