May 10, 2010, election day in the Philippines is historic in several ways. First of all it is the first time that the national elections are automated. Secondly, it is a chance for the electorate to get rid of the Glorious disaster of the last 9 years and thirdly it shows us that religious command votes no longer matter much.
Besides the heat (and I was not that hydrated, stupid me and got a mild case of heat fatigue!) I noticed that even in precincts where the heat index would have reached 43 C, hardy anyone wants to leave the queue. It took many voters 4 hours (leading prez contender Noynoy Aquino not exempted) cast their vote. Congratulations Filipino electorate. Your vote was read by the PCOS machine.
Some PCOS machines conked out apparently due to the heat. But equipment failure contrary to pessimists was estimated at less than 1%
Within a minute after the polls closed, it seems that PPCRV has got a few results in its parallel count. Expect this to snowball as time passes.
Electoral exercise is the distillation of what democracy is. We have been voting for more than 100 years and we tend to be a bit blase about the whole thing. But I am always reminded of and even haunted by the photo in the "Australian" newspaper more than 10 years ago, showing the people of East Timor voting in their first national elections. East Timor was and still now a poverty stricken country. But what struck me is the hopeful faces of the voters who were clutching their voter's certificates. East Timor has had a history of, colonialism, violence, neglect and betrayal worse than what the Philippines had. And yet the citizens of this young nation were hopeful.
We are not as young as East Timor but still we have problems. Can we be as hopeful still as the East Timorese?