Success! I was able to cast my vote, and successfully! This was a victory but a hard-won one. I came to the voting center at 10 am and was able to cast my vote at 12:30 pm! The voting center was the Isabelo de los Reyes School in Tondo. It was full of people. The heat was terrible, heat not only coming from the sun but also from the thousands of bodies gathered there! It is a wonder that up to now there is no news of anyone being a victim of heat stroke! Fortunately, ours is a patient people. We Filipinos are known for patience. There were squabbles here and there but in general the atmosphere was peaceful – people lining up and waiting patiently for their turn. I was not that patient. Good for me that the voting center is near the convent where I stay. Upon getting my service number which was 350 and knowing that the one being served was number 230, I went back to my room to do some reading. Two hours later I came up and I still had to line up for 30 minutes more.
Voting started at 7 am. By 12:30 I cast my vote, number 350. I surmise not all the 349 before me voted. I was right. There were only 280 votes cast before me, and that at 12:30 pm! Each precinct has 1000 voters. I wonder how many of those 1000 in my precinct would be able to vote. But this is not just the situation in my precinct. I went around asking the other polling places in the same school. All have similar situations. I wonder how many percent of the electorate will line up to vote. Worse scenario: I wonder how many will not be able to vote even if they want to because there is not time left.
We continue to call on voters to please take the time to vote, in spite of all the hassle. This is a small act of heroism that the nation asks from each of us today. I congratulate the so many volunteer groups involved in this election – PPCRV, NAMFREL, LENTE and many others. I salute them for their great sense of sacrifice especially staying in these over heated ovens! Many of these volunteers are young people. Their sense of volunteerism is truly heroic. I salute too our many prayer warriors, hidden in churches and adoration chapels, interceding for a clean, peaceful and orderly election. May their prayers and petitions touch our leaders and candidates to respect and accept the will of the people so that the election results will be credible and peace will be the end result of this political exercise.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila