CEBU CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Voting for the 2013 mid-term elections is going smoothly in Cebu as polls opened promptly at 7 am and PCOS machines were delivered on time on Monday, May 13.
Hundreds of citizens were already lined up as early as 6 am at the Guadalupe Elementary School, where 28,000 voters are assigned.
Board election inspectors said they hope that despite the long lines, most of them will not be disenfranchised due to this like in 2010, according to watchdogs.
At the Guadalupe polling precint, Rappler observed not just voters but also poll watchers from the candidates, among them operatives of Anabelle Rama, the talent manager and showbiz personality who is running for representative in Cebu’s 1st district under UNA.
Rama is running against 6 opponents, including the Liberal Party’s nand former congressman Raul Daza.
One of the first to arrive at the polling station was re-electionist Mayor Michael Rama, Anabelle’s cousin, who aspires to renew his mandate despite a challenge from Cebu 2nd district Rep Tomas Osmeña.
“It’s going to be an enthusiastic exercise, hotly contested. Everybody seems to be showing patience, hopefully the people will be respected,” Michael Rama told reporters.
The mayor complained about his campaign posters being removed “in a widespread manner [never] seen before.” “It’s now a rule rather than the exception,” he stressed.
“It’s grueling, such an ordeal, tension cannot be avoided. What’s important is [that] we as leaders avoid [that] it will escalate,” Michael Rama added about the campaign.
He also commented on his cousin’s chances: “She will pull a surprise. In the pulong-pulong, people see her as candid. It’s time for change.”
Anabelle’s daughter, celebrity Ruffa Gutierrez, later tweeted about her mother voting:
Mommy @annabellerama2 just voted for herself and the whole Team Rama slate at Barangay Zapatera Elementary School.#cebuvote2013— Ruffa Gutierrez (@iloveruffag) May 13, 2013
Tommy Osmeña later cast his vote at the same precinct and complained about the lines: “The process is smooth but I pity the senior citizens in line. Me, I don’t care I can fall in line but these guys are already old and they have to wait in line for so long.”
Rappler spoke to a few voters, who called on the Commission on Elections to use more PCOS machines.
Later in the day, another group of citizens at the Don Vicente Memorial Elementary School told Rappler that two PCOS machines broke down, prompting electoral officers to resort to manual voting and placing ballots in envelopes while they wait for replacement units. Some citizens said they had not yet been able to vote despite being in line since 8 am.
As for the gubernatorial race, One Cebu/UNA’s Pablo John Garcia — Cebu 3rd Rep and brother of suspended Gov Gwen, herself a candidate to take his place in the House — is facing Hilario Davide III from the LP.
Gwen Garcia complained of harrasment on the eve of the polls.
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