Overnight

Live from Maguindanao Day 16
A day after Halalan 2010

Maguindanao voters filling out ballots at Shariff Aguak Central Elementary School on May 10, 2010

SHARIFF AGUAK, MAGUINDANAO–Had this been any other election, we might have stayed for more than two nights in this town.

We’ve slept in the wooden chairs of an elementary school and under the ramp of the largest government office here. We’ve taken baths through hoses and pails in open air.

All to support ABS-CBN’s widest, most comprehensive, and most impressive poll coverage yet.

But on the cusp of the Philippines’ first nationwide automated elections, we get to end the sleepover a little earlier.

Maguindanao residents looking for their names on voters lists at Shariff Aguak Central Elementary School on May 10, 2010

The results of this election have almost virtually arrived overnight. Any moment, we may have our next leader.

The effect is surprising. Already, almost all of the presidential candidates have conceded defeat to winner apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III–a first since most can remember.

And despite numerous flak regarding the long lines, transmission errors, and paper jams, no one has seriously questioned the numbers, more so the speed.

Maguindanao would, at best, be a rare case.

Maguindanao provincial board of canvassers Comelec waiting for results at Maguindanao capitol

Provincial canvassers here at the capitol still await the numbers from less than 20 towns in a race gradually favoring Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, the vice mayor widowed by the infamous Ampatuan massacre.

This is the first time media witnessed an election count in this building overrun today by soldiers in fatigues, notes Jiggy Manicad of GMA 7.

The Comelec housed its nerve center at the provincial board office, one of the roomiest in this already vast palace. Here, a whiteboard displays a projected screen of the municipalities that have or have yet to transmit their results.

Shariff Aguak Central Elementary School in Maguindanao

We first saw the vote yesterday in nearby Shariff Aguak Central Elementary School. Our setup there sat amid 11 precincts separated by wide, muddy grounds.

Funnily, poll watchers there seemed to outnumber voters, who arrived past the 7 a.m. start of voting. After 8 p.m., some PCOS machines still waited to transmit their count.

BEIs print election returns in a precinct at Shariff Aguak Central Elementary School on May 10, 2010

You could not describe those scrambling over the lone voters’ lists per precinct as eager to vote, but the spectrum of voters took to the task. Some election inspectors had to help older voters shade the ballots.

PCOS machines and election materials from Rajah Buayan brought to Maguindanao capitol

Violence largely spared election day–although Sir Jorge Carino’s roving team got caught between an exchange of gunfire between soldiers and unidentified rebels in Datu Salibo town. Their video landed prime spot on TV Patrol that day.

GMA 7’s team reported hearing blast sounds from their set up at the capitol that morning, while the TV5 crew later caught another encounter.

Halalan 2010 was historic alright, and not just for the reports we transmitted, but even more, how we reported them.

To be continued

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One comment on “Overnight

  1. Pingback: August to August: A first year of firsts « PinoyJourn

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