I arrived at the polling place (Rizal Elementary School, Pacdal, Baguio City) about 20 minutes before 7am and found my precinct in no time. I was 15th in line. A few minutes later, poll watchers were given time to cast their votes and at exactly 7:00, the line started to move. A few senior citizens have to be accommodated so we let them cut in line, which was okay to the rest of us except one at the head of the line who started grumbling but realized he couldn't do anything.
I overheard another saying that he already prayed for his choices, which had me thinking about the absurdity of invoking some divine intervention during elections and believing that it is actually God or some gods who influence us in casting our votes. If that is so, then God has made a lot of mistakes all these years by influencing the Iglesia Ni Cristo, the Catholic Church and the various Protestant/Evangelical churches in the country to vote for local and national leaders who have proven themselves to be stupid and/or corrupt. And I wonder which voice of God -- among all the disharmonious sounds coming from these denominations -- do people actually follow when voting? A lot of Christians voted for Erap Estrada who got convicted of plunder. In the US of A, a still larger number of Christians voted for George Walker Bush who proved himself a bufoon.
The fact is, when we finally ink those ballots on election day, our votes, our choices are determined by our personal prejudices, our own judgment based on our own assessment of the candidates' qualifications, the dictates of the groups we belong to, or yes, even the weather.
Making a political exercise a divine act has deluded Pacquiao into thinking that it is God's will that he and his wife make a fool of themselves in the political circus. I don't believe that God influenced Eddie Villanueva to run for the Presidency in the last election and for the Senate this time around. And I didn't vote for him because I really don't buy his kind of messiahnic goal to be the peacemaker in Congress where discussions and decisions should be ruled by reason and real-time reality and not by religious convictions. I don't believe he has a special phone line to the throne of God anymore than Apollo Quibolloy had talked to the Father (whoever he is) who supposedly appointed him to be the Jesus of our time and chose Davao City as the Jerusalem of our day.
Anyway, back to my polling place. I asked if I could take photos of my ballot and one with a COMELEC staff ID who was also snapping pictures of the room said yes. Except for one wrong number in my precinct assignment in the COMELEC's acknowledgment receipt (0635a) which, in the COMELEC app I downloaded, is actually 0634a), everything went smoothly. I shaded my ballot and ran it through the PCOS machine in a jiffy -- less than five minutes!
So far -- at least just before I left the school -- we had no problems with the PCOS machines about which one of the BEIs remarked, "Magaling kasi kayong magshoot." Ay wen met a hehe.
It's a stress-free voting day for me, and I doff my hats off to the COMELEC officials, the BEIs and their staff
for helping to make this possible! Kadakayo nga dadduma nga naistress ala Shamcey @ "Showtime," kasta la ti biag wehehehe...