By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan
I stared at the list I jotted down on a sheet of grade-school-ruled pad, asking myself if I was ready to take the plunge.
I had a nagging feeling–second thoughts even–to be sure. I was casting my vote for the first time, and this list of candidates for senator and party-list was my assurance that my first time was being done right.
The list was a digital one at first–a rough draft sitting on my laptop. When I learned in February that media workers like me could vote earlier, I hurriedly listed names that had the best chance of getting my vote.
I only went back to the list the day before, April 28. The three-day period of local absentee voting (LAV) for soldiers, police officers, civil servants and the media had already begun.
This mini-Election Day felt like a final exam. I went through a review, scanning the profiles of the 34 senatorial bets on the Halalan 2013 web sites of ABS-CBN News and of the University of the Philippines.
I watched the final leg of the Harapan TV debates. I shuffled my digital list as the candidates faced the nation. I thought I wouldn’t complete my Magic 12. But after Harapan, I was already weighing who to retain or replace in an already-full lineup.
I had already covered a national election in 2010. Assigned out of town, I, like most of my colleagues could not vote. Thankfully, my registration remained active when the Comelec approved a petition to include members of media in the absentee vote.
This time, I had to grab the chance. Voting was one right—and duty—I did not miss out on, even as a student voting for the school council or for national candidates in mock university polls.