It was May 10, 2010.
It was Presidential Election Day!
I had my kodigo ready and I was off to our precinct to cast my vote and exercise my right. At the entrance, there was a long table with 3 COMELEC representatives. They were in-charge of letting the voters know what room they should proceed to. There were no lines and everyone was elbow to elbow, hoping that they would be assisted first. A small white sheet of paper was available for people to write their names and address on for faster facilitation. Before I was even assisted, I heard several people already complaining that their names were nowhere to be found in the new list of voters the COMELEC provided. I really didn't mind these complaints as I got a piece of that small white paper and wrote down my name and address. I handed it confidently to a very accommodating COMELEC representative. A few seconds after, she was about to check a name on the list and was about to write down what room I should go to. I immediately stopped her to tell her that it was my mother's name she saw. You see, Carina is my mother's name. I am Rina. So she double checked the list and unfortunately, she couldn't find my name! ARGH! All the members of my family (5 of us) were always there! Yesterday, my name was missing!
I then asked the COMELEC representative if I could see another list. I was hoping that it's only a printout problem. She asked me to proceed to a room in the first floor where another copy of the voters' list was posted. I immediately scanned this 2nd copy only to confirm that my name was indeed NOT on it. I ran out of options so I went home.
I told my parents and my sister my unfortunate event and I tried (as in) to remember if I voted last 2007 during the Senatorial Elections. It was the only way my name could be excluded in this year's list. I have to admit, I have a very vague memory whether or not I did vote last 2007. I kept arguing that I never missed an election!
I was advised to log onto COMELEC's site and check my voter's status. It took me a couple of hours to finally access the site. This was the result of my inquiry:
I was blaming the system until I realized that I am also at fault. I never expected something like this to happen so I never checked my voting status beforehand. As a result, I was not able to secure my right to cast my vote. Embarrassing as this my seem, I was irresponsible and now I regret that I didn't have a say on who I believe should be the future leaders of our country.
Lesson learned ... moving on.