The eyes of the world will be upon the Philippines today, May 9, 2022, as more than 65 million voters choose their bets for 16,385 elective posts – the foremost of which will be the country’s 17th President, succeeding President Duterte.
Divisive and highly contentious have been the campaigns for the presidential post with former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo emerging as the frontrunners, being able to marshal the most number of supporters in a duel of rallies and a battle of catch-up in pre-election surveys.
It was a divided Metro Manila when the red and green of Marcos and the pink of Robredo highlighted their respective campaigns with a miting de avance on Saturday night, May 7, 2022. Crowd estimates of as much as one million have been quoted for the UniTeam rally, held at a vacant lot adjacent to the Solaire Hotel in Paranaque City, and the Leni-Kiko tandem’s last hurrah on Ayala Avenue in Makati City.
Marcos could become the third second generation leader of the Republic of the Philippines after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the 14th president, who is the daughter of the country’s ninth president Diosdado Macapagal, and the late Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the 15th president who was the son of People Power president Corazon Aquino (11th president).
And should Robredo win, she would become the third female president of the country after Cory Aquino and Macapagal-Arroyo.
The other presidential candidates — Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Leody de Guzman, Ernie Abella, Norberto Gonzales, Faisal Mangondato, and Jose Montemayor Jr. — also mounted formidable campaigns.
And based on the same surveys, Marcos’ running-mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has also pulled away from her closest rivals Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan. Of course, it was also a huge factor that Mayor Sara’s father – President Duterte, who will be going into his last two months as a President with the highest trust rating among previous departing presidents – had endorsed her candidacy.
The other vice presidential aspirants are former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, Dr. Willie Ong, Walden Bello, Rizalito David, Carlos Serapio, and Manny Lopez.
There are 65 senatorial candidates vying for 12 slots in the Upper House of Congress.
And this early, television host Raffy Tulfo, a first-timer, is holding sway at the top in the numerous senatorial surveys, which have a diverse list of re-electionists, returning senators, and actors bringing up the rest of the top 12.
Voting today will start as early as 6 a.m., and will last until 7 p.m. with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) saying that the deadline could be extended should there be voters still waiting in-line when the cut-off time comes.
Voters have been advised to wear face masks and to observe all other health protocols when participating in the electoral process. There will be no need to present vaccination cards or to wear face shields.
A check with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) precinct finder (https://voterverifier.comelec.gov.ph/voter_precinct) will be of much help for voters so that they will know where to go to cast their votes.
For each voter, he or she would be shading as many as 39 circles. These correspond to his or her choice for President, Vice President, 12 senators, a congressman, a party-list group, a governor, vice governor, one to seven provincial board members, a mayor, a vice mayor, and four to 12 councilors.
Manila Bulletin Online will be able to provide regular updates on the canvassing by way of a direct link to the media server of the Comelec.
There will also be a parallel count to be conducted by the Comelec’s citizen arm Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Quadricentennial Pavilion.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner George Garcia described today’s polls as “historic” not only because it will be held amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but also because it’s a presidential election.
“This will be a historic and very memorable election. In a pandemic situation, we are electing a new president,” Garcia said in a press briefing.
“We are actually expecting a high voter turnout on Election Day,” he added.
The Comelec said that the voter turnout during presidential elections is usually higher compared to the midterm polls.
During the 2016 polls, the voter turnout was 80 percent.
On Thursday, the Comelec already declared its readiness to conduct the polls as almost all of the election paraphernalia have been dispatched fully.
“We are all systems go. We are just waiting for the date of the elections,” Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said.
“We are 100 percent all set for May 9,” he added stressing that failure is not an option for the Comelec.
Senate post-election proceedings
The Senate will take advantage of digital technology by broadcasting live for the first time the arrival and deposit of all election documents.
Senate Secretary Myra Marie Villarica said the whole process of receiving the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) and Election Returns (ERs) for the presidential and vice presidential race will be live-streamed on Monday via the Senate YouTube channel starting at 6 p.m.
“We are taking this opportunity to advance our digital initiatives and ensure transparency of the entire activity,” Villarica said in a statement.
She said there will be security cameras in strategic areas and roving cameras manned by the Public Relations and Information Bureau staff.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who is also running for Vice President, shall receive the COC and open all not later than 30 days after May 9 in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives in a joint public session.
Congress shall then proceed to canvass the votes.
Under Article VII, Section 4 of the Constitution, the Senate is mandated to receive the returns of every election for President and Vice President, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city.
On Wednesday, the Senate conducted a dry run of the process wherein its officials and employees were briefed on the condition of the ballot boxes, reading the serial numbers, and turnover of keys and locks and the serial number of the self-locking seal.
The Comelec en banc, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, will convene at the PICC Forum Tent in Pasay City in the afternoon of May 9.
“We will convene the NBOC for senators and party-list here at 3 p.m. on May 9,” Comelec Acting Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said in a press briefing Sunday, May 8.
“Afterwards, it would be a continuing session just declaring break and recess in between. No adjourment, it’s a continuing session,” he added.
“We will wait for the certificate of canvass to be transmitted…which the NBOC will canvass,” said Laudiangco.
He stressed that only the votes for senators and party-lists will be counted by the NBOC at the PICC.
“Those of the president and vice president will be canvassed by the National Board at the House of Representatives,” Laudiangco said.
The poll body is eyeing the proclamation of the winning senators and party-lists in the May 9 polls in at least seven days. (With reports from Leslie Ann G. Aquino and PNA)