CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls started smoothly in Pampanga province with only the usual election problems noted, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
"No officials from any precinct have reported any problems yet, so election in the province is 100 percent rolling," said lawyer Temie Lambino, provincial election supervisor, said.
The voting started at 7 a.m. Monday, but the usual problems of missing and misplaced names, confusion amid "unorganized" lists, and delays in the opening of some precincts surfaced.
There are at least 3,804 clustered precincts in Pampanga's 538 villages.
Lambino reminded the voters that the polling precincts are open until 3 p.m. without a noon break.
Unlike the May 2010 national elections, there were no precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in Monday's elections.
In Porac, where one village, Cangatba, is on the Comelec watchlist, voters complained of delays in the opening of the polling centers.
In Barangay Babo Sacan, voting started around 7:30 am, with the usual complaints of missing names. Many voters were confused on where they will find their voting centers.
The same situation has been observed in many villages in Mabalacat town, where the Poblacion is also on the watchlist.
Aside from lost and missing names, some watchers came to the polling centers without the proper Comelec accreditation, with many candidates seen 30 meters away from the precincts.
Sun.Star Pampanga also learned that the incumbent village chief in Barangay San Francisco provided laptops to assist voters, but where disallowed as it violated the election rules.
In Candaba town, several candidates disregarded the Omnibus Election Code as they continuously campaigned at the height of the barangay elections.
As of noon Monday, candidates from Barangay Buas, Pasig, San Agustin and Pescadores, including their supporters, are still campaigning at the entrance of Candaba Elementary School.
They placed streamers, posters and other campaign paraphernalia within the vicinity.
The Election Code prohibits individuals and even political parties from soliciting and undertaking any form of propaganda during the election day, particularly if it is done within the radius of 30 meters from the voting place.
Sun.Star Pampanga also observed that candidates have established their respective headquarters a few meters from the voting area. They assist voters in locating their assigned precincts.
"Madali na po ngayon ang maghanap ng presinto dahil pumapasok ka pa lang sa eskwelahan ay sumasalubong na sa iyo ang mga tagasuporta ng mga humahabol na kapitan. Sila pa mismo ang maghahanap ng precinct number ng mga botante, tapos pag ibibigay na ay may naka-ipit na balota," Randy Barrredo, a resident here said.
However, Barredo said this strategy could put pressure and influence on the voters.
The voter turnout in various precincts all-over the province was high as of this posting Monday.
A total of 22,966 candidates are vying for various posts and wooing the approval of some 1,220,506 voters who are expected to troop to 8,074 established precincts and 3,804 clustered precincts. (Charlene Cayabyab/Ian Ocampo Flora/Rey G. Navales/Herbert Mapiles/Sun.Star Pampanga/Sunnex)