I had a problem sleeping last night because I’m used to hitting the sack way past 1:00 AM. I was told to sleep very early, though, because we would be heading to our designated precinct not later than 8:00 AM. True to word, at around quarter to 7:00 AM, my nephew was asked to wake me up in my room. I only managed to eat a chicken burger from last night and a cup of coffee, and immediately changed to something decent from my sleep clothes. Time to cast our votes.
Coming all the way from Makati, my brother was the first one to arrive in the school and he has already found our precinct. It was lcoated all the way to the third floor and there were already a bunch of people waiting outside. Good thing the weather was gloomy because, as expected, there were no electric fans inside the classrooms and we still had to fan ourselves to remain cool. While we were waiting, I saw a lot of people still handing out sample ballots and campaign materials to prospective voters. These supporters were not to be dissuaded by the Omnibus Election Code. As far as I can recall, this should not be the case but I was no longer surprised. This was also the case three years ago during the presidential election.
A lot of funny things also happened while waiting for our turn. We were the 85th to 88th to vote, and we were lucky enough to sit inside the waiting room. The exasperating group was the set of newcomers who kept on whining over the queueing system. I think the system was not fixed and it depends on the COMELEC representatives in that particualr precinct. What they did was hand us out little stubs with a number, sit inside the room following that given number, and wait to be asked to transfer to the other room. It was working smoothly until about 9:30 AM when the better-than-everybody people arrived and kept on complaining about the system. They were stupid enough to follow their number listed on the paper posted on the blackboard and NOT ask for a stub. Then some would even go as far as to condescendingly shout at the COMELEC people that they should let 10 people in, instead of one by one. They fail to recognize that this won’t work because there were a lot of senior citizens who need assistance, as well as those who are not well-versed in reading and writing, thus requiring help as well. Everybody wants to cast their vote as fast as possible, but if you arrive very late and get the 200-up number — do not even wonder.
Then finally, at quarter to 10:00 AM, all four us were able to vote and immediately left H. Bautista Elementary School. Good luck to the people who are still waiting for their turn and I hope they will stay put and not leave just because the line is long. We also even managed to see the incumbent Mayor and his wife on their way. On Facebook, however, I’ve been seeing posts from my contacts weighing in on the “to vote or not to vote” debate. The main argument was that those who did not vote has no right to complain, while others hold that complaining has got nothing to do with the process of voting and everyone has the right to do so (i.e. complain). Personally, every person of legal age and are mentally-able SHOULD vote because it is a responsibility, and we are already way past the ‘right’ status. Unless it is extremely tasking to go back to your designated precinct because it is located in a far-flung province AND you have no means to go there, or if you are bedridden in a hospotal, or with other compelling reasons preventing you to vote, you should still vote.