DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 May) – When President Rodrigo Duterte enters his voting precinct on the ground floor of Building 1 at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School (DRANHS) on Monday, he will be using what school officials here refer to as the “historical chair,” that wooden armchair he sat on when the country’s 16th President and first Mindanawon to lead the nation, cast his vote for the Presidency three years ago.
After the May 9, 2016 election, the chair was encased in glass and is displayed prominently on the second floor of the nearby Administration Building, just before turning left towards the Principal’s office. OIC Rosalina Sondong even showed MindaNews a “Historical Chair logbook” last Friday, where guests are to write down their names.
The classroom where Duterte voted on May 9, 2016 under Clustered Precinct 461 is gone. The one-floor building was demolished in October 2016 as had been scheduled before the city mayor became President, to give way to the construction of what is now the four-story Building 1 (the Commission on Elections refers to it as “Building No. 8”).
Duterte failed to vote during the barangay elections on May 14 last year.
When he votes on Monday, the President will be Voter 46 of Precinct 1245A of Clustered Precinct 361. Voter 45 is sister Jocelyn while Voter 47 is daughter Sara, the city mayor.
A holding room has been prepared for the President and the Presidential Security Group, close to where he will vote, Joel Quiratman, head of the English Department, and the person in charge of the holding room, told MindaNews.
The holding room, he said, was where they hosted dignitaries of the National Capital Regional Athletic Association during the recently concluded Palarong Pambansa. DRAHNS billeted the NCR delegation.
Quiratman and teacher Elenito Escalante on Friday afternoon showed MindaNews the holding room and the room where Duterte will vote.
Fifteen wooden armchairs with steel frames have been arranged in the room but Quiratman said they were informed these will be replaced with all-wood armchairs similar to the “historical chair” which will be taken out of the glass case for the President to use again.
He said the “historical chair” will look odd beside the newer steel-framed wooden armchairs, hence the need to replace them with similar-to-the-historical-chair chair.
On the glass case of the “historical chair” is a note that says it was “used by Mayor Rody Duterte” while voting on May 9, 2016 under Clustered Precinct 416.
It also lists the names of the poll supervisor, Arlene M. Bello-Pernes, EdD; Deputy poll supervisor Rosalina Sondong; Supervisor Support Staff Joseph O. Lee and Christian Bryan L. Payor; Members of the Board of Election Inspectors chaired by Mary Rose Digal with Marites Cabilogan and Noleta Bancud as members and support staff Gina Gutib and Jessa Cagumbay; and Schools Division Superintendent Maria Ines C. Asuncion, CESO VI.
Duterte has been a long-time voter in DRAHNS.
He is expected to spend several minutes shading his ballot for 12 senators, one party list representative, and the city’s Mayor, Vice Mayor, eight councilors and 1st District representative.
Duterte’s children are all sure winners even before May 13. Sara, mayor from 2010 to 2013 and elected in 2016 for another term, is seeking reelection against an independent candidate while Paolo, who resigned as Vice Mayor on December 25, 2017, is running for 1st district Representative against two independent candidates. Sara’s opponent had earlier ran against her father for the mayoralty. Sebastian is running for Vice Mayor, unopposed.
The three posts his children are vying for have all been held by the Duterte patriarch.
President Duterte had served as OIC Vice Mayor from 1986 to 1997; was elected mayor from 1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010 and 2013 to 2016; 1st district Representative from 1998 to 2001 and Vice Mayor from 2010 to 2013.
He filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor in October 2015, to the dismay of his supporters, but a month later, withdrew his candidacy and was substituted by Sara when he decided to run for President. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)