It’s more fun voting at the mall | Inquirer News

It’s more fun voting at the mall

By: - NewsLab Lead / @MSantosINQ
/ 02:44 PM October 28, 2013

Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. tries his hand at reporting as he interviews a voter in the barangay elections at the SM Mall in Manila, along with other journalists Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. Video by’s Matikas Santos and edited by Hotaru Niitsu

MANILA, Philippines — Seventy-four year old Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. was stress-free and jovial on the day of the Barangay (village) Elections even joining reporters in interviewing a senior citizen who cast his ballot.


During an inspection of a pilot project at SM Manila for senior citizens, Brillantes helped himself to the amenities such as the first aid station which provided free blood pressure checkup and a wheelchair service from the mall’s nurses.


Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. availed of the amenities in the special polling precinct set up in SM Manila as part of their pilot project to allow easier access for Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens.

He had a blood pressure of 130/70 while commissioner Elias Yusoph, who was with Brillantes during the inspection, had a blood pressure of 120/80.

Brillantes happily joked that he was 10 years older than Yusoph and both still had normal blood pressure.

He then sat on the wheelchair and told the nurse to bring him to the voting area joking that he was “going out to vote.” Brillantes had already voted early Monday morning in Paranaque before going to the inspection.

And to prove that he was still strong, he had the nurse sit on the wheelchair and wheeled her back to the first aid station.

Brillantes also gamely joined reporters in shooting questions to one senior citizen who voted in the special accessible polling place set up by Comelec.

Guillermo Roldan, 75, said that he experienced difficulty when voting in the local precincts because he would have to go up to the second or third floor just to vote.


“It’s better here because the service is better,” Roldan said.

Brillantes then butted in and asked what Roldan thought about going to the mall to vote.

Roldan swiftly answered: “Maganda naman dito kahit araw-araw tayo bumoto dito (It’s better here even if you have to vote every day).”

Brillantes asked a follow up question: “Wala naman libreng pagkain dito (There’s no free food here),” referring to reports that local politicians were giving away free food to their supporters, an act that could be considered as vote-buying.

“Okay lang wala din naman libre dun (That’s OK because at the precinct candidates don’t give any freebies),” Roldan replied.

Brillantes then asked Roldan where he was from.

“Dito lang sa may harap nito (Right here in front of you),” Roldan answered.

Guillermo Rolando, 75, cast his vote in a special polling precinct located in SM Manila Monday. The pilot project of the Comelec which aims to give greater access to Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens when the vote.

At this point Brillantes commented that Roldan still looked young, “sabagay mukhang bata pa ho kayo, 1938 daw kayo pinanganak (You looked still young, and you were born in 1938)?”

Roldan answered yes, and Brillantes asked where.

“Leyte,” said Roldan.

Brillantes, seemingly having running out of questions, laughed with reporters at his short stint as a media man. In jest, several cameramen noted that Brillantes has no accreditation ID.

The pilot project of the Comelec headed by Commissioner Grace Padaca aims to provide easier access to Persons With Disabilities and senior citizens so they may exercise their right to vote.

As of 10:45 a.m., 33 of the 37 pre-selected senior citizens in Ermita, Manila, were able to vote at the mall.

Brillantes said that if this project will succeed, they would implement it nationwide in the 2016 presidential elections.

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