Celebrities jokingly campaigned to win in recently held mock elections where their names were listed as among the candidates.
The Commission on Elections held the mock elections on Thursday, December 29 to prepare for the May 2022 national polls.
It was conducted in some parts of Metro Manila and in the provinces of Isabela, Albay, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Maguindanao and Davao del Sur.
This was to ensure the efficiency of the implementation of the mandated health protocols in place to prevent COVID-19 transmissions in the conduct of the elections.
This activity would also demonstrate the accuracy and security of the whole election process.
In the copy of the test ballot the Comelec had released, the list of candidates for the presidency, vice presidency and members of the Senate mostly includes names of international celebrities.
These include Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Kevin Durant, James LeBron and Angelina Jolie.
Some local personalities, whose names were also in the fictitious ballot in Taguig City, teased their fans to vote for them in the mock polls.
“Oh, hello! #1 po sa balota,” broadcaster Gretchen Ho said.
Ho’s name was listed at the number one spot for vice-mayor.
She was up against veteran singer Rico Blanco.
Blanco later chimed in another tweet and called on his fans.
“Nananawagan para sa volunteers and donations. mabigat po kalaban ko, pamilya skywalker,” he said.
Maris Racal, also Blanco’s girlfriend, also campaigned in jest to her followers.
Her name was listed among the fake candidates for mayor in the same city.
“Vote for Maris, korapsyon alis eme ganon!” Racal said.
Fans of Racal and Blanco could not help but be amused with their antics.
“Ate sandali campaign jingle version please,” one user said.
“Change career na ba kayong magjowa (laugh emoji),” another user said.
“Para sa tunay na pagbabago! Racal-Blanco tandem sa 2022!” another user added.
The two singer-songwriters confirmed their relationship last May.
After the testing period, reports stated that Gomez and James won as president and vice president, respectively, in some precincts.
The real elections will be held on May 9, 2022.
‘Generally smooth’ mock elections
In a statement, election watchdog the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said that the mock elections were “smooth and peaceful.”
“NAMFREL observers reported that in general, the conduct of the mock elections has been smooth and peaceful so far, with polling precincts opening on time, and with no significant delay in the start of voting in most voting centers observed,” it said.
“Observers also note that the activity appears well-organized in general, and anti-Covid protocols are generally being enforced and followed,” it added.
Namfrel observers noted that voters were allowed to take between five to 10 minutes to vote, and then 30 minutes were allotted for senior citizens.
Some polling places also allowed up to 10 voters inside.
Health protocols, however, were not observed in some places, according to the group.
“NAMFREL observers do note that the enforcement of certain health protocols has not been consistent, namely physical distancing, proper wearing of masks, disinfection of hands, and disinfection of election materials like pens and chairs after every use,” it said.
Namfrel deployed more than a hundred volunteers in 25 voting centers to observe the conduct of the mock elections in the country.