The waiting game has officially begun for the presidential bets of this year’s elections.
By noontime today, May 9, all 10 candidates have finished casting their votes in their respective precincts, which opened at 6 am, as mandated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In casting their votes, some of these presidential aspirants had to stand in thick queues and bear the scorching heat while others had the privilege to cut the line.
Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson was among the early bird voters of Bayang Luma 1 Elementary School in Imus. The former Philippine National Police chief headed to his precinct at 7 a.m. and waited in line along with other votes, as seen on his Facebook post.
“7:00 AM dito sa aking munting paaralan, Bayan Luma I Elementary School, mula sa lungsod ng Imus, Cavite, isa tayo sa mga unang bumoto,” his caption reads.
After turning over his ballot, the 73-year-old politician told reporters in the precinct that he felt relieved because the 90 days of his campaign has finally ended. The senator is also grateful that he was spared from any illness throughout his rally until today.
“Not only us but the other candidates as well,” he said. “Imagine, kung mayroong tragedy na nangyari, we’d be parang mourning instead of parang jolly or parang masaya ‘yung atmosphere natin.”
He continued, “And I’m speaking on behalf of all the candidates na sana the feeling is mutual na we get out of this exercise safe from injury, safe from illness and may we always stay that way. And this is sincere.”
Meanwhile, presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. cast his vote in the same hour as Lacson, in Mariano Marcos Elementary School in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
The former senator was accompanied by his sister Irene and son Sandro, who is running as Ilocos Norte 1st district congressman. They immediately proceeded to one of the school’s classrooms upon arrival at the venue.
At around 8 a.m., presidential candidate Leody de Guzman arrived at the Cainta Elementary School in Rizal to cast his vote. The 62-year-old labor leader was accompanied by his wife and son.
Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, cast her ballot at the Carangcang Elementary School in Camarines Sur before 10 a.m.
She stood in line for almost two hours before completing the voting process. Afterwhich, Robredo told reporters at the venue that she was happy that the campaign period has finally ended.
"Masaya ako na nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon na gawin ang lahat ng makakaya kong gawin na hindi nag-resort sa kahit anong hindi maganda. Pumunta ako dito sa botohan na tahimik, panatag ang loob. 'Yung na-achieve natin during the campaign was so much more than what we expected," she said.
It was the vice president’s first time voting in the municipality since transferring her residency from her hometown of Naga City to the nearby Barangay Carangcang in Magarao.
"Masaya rin ako na dito ako sa Maragao bumoto," Robredo continued. "Iba 'yung buhay sa labas ng lunsgod. Mas tahimik, mas nakakapagpahinga. 'Yung mga kapitbahay ko has been treating me as family. Nakakapanibago pa, pero maganda siyang panibago."
Presidential aspirant Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso arrived at the Magat Elementary School in Tondo, Manila before noon. According to One News PH, the Manila mayor skipped the line to his clustered precinct.
After casting his ballot, the actor turned politician said that he wishes for a clean and peaceful elections. "Maraming salamat sa mga natagpuan ang peace of mind. Nagulat ako dahil marami talaga ang gusto ang peace of mind. So far, sana palarin tayo ng Diyos na matapos ang halalan na ito na payapa," he said.
Asked what would be his message to all those enduring the heat while waiting in long queues at their precinct, Domagoso replied, "Mga kababayan, tiyagain natin tutal isang beses lang ito sa anim taon. At hindi ito dahil sa buhay namin bilang kandidato. Ito ay buhay ninyo, anim na taon ng buhay ng anak ninyo, anim na taon ng buhay natin, ng bansa natin."
"Tiyagain ninyo dahil tulad ng sinasabi natin, ayaw na namin ng away, higantian, bawian. Ang binibigay ko sa inyo ay peace of mind and today, you will find it," he continued. "Makikita niyo 'yan sa polling station ninyo. Tiyagain ninyo. Nakita ko ang hirap ng tao. Yung pila, young init, tiyagain po natin, onting sakripisyo."
Senator Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, arrived at his precinct at the Kiamba Central Elementary School in Sarangani before 12 p.m. He didn't have to fall in line as he was reserved a seat with his ballot.
Same as other candidates, the world boxing champ said he is relieved that the campaign period has come to an end. "At least natapos na 'yung pag-iikot nationwide as pangungumpanya," he told reporters at the precinct.
Asked how confident he is in winning the polls, Pacquiao answered, "Kumpansya naman ako. Kumpansya dahil unang-una, katulad ng sabi ko sa mahihirap, 'wag kayo magalala dahil 'yung social class ABC ang maiingay sa social media at 'yung survey, lagi silang nangunguna... Pero napakaraming mahihirap na hindi natanong."
He said that he has been telling voters from lower social classes not to lose hope because more than 30 million individuals have registered for his "Pabahay Plus Program," proving his high chances of winning the polls.
Other presidential bets who cast their votes by noon are former presidential spokesperson Ernie Abella in Silang Crossing West in Tagaytay, Cavite; former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales in M. Delos Reyes Memorial Elementary School in Balanga City, Bataan; Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi party standard-bearer Faisal Mangandato in Cawayan Central Elementary School, Marantao, Lanao Del Sur; and presidential candidate Atty. Jose Montemayor Jr. in Sto. Tomas Elementary School sa Sasmuan, Pampanga.