• UPDATE Aquino casts vote in Tarlac, heads back to Malacañang

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    TARLAC CITY: President Benigno Aquino III has cast his vote at Precinct 175-A, in Central Azucarera de Tarlac School, in his home province of Tarlac.

    Voting has gone relatively smoothly at the school, except for when a paper jam prompted the Board of Election to change a Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine ahead of the President’s arrival.

    Wearing a light brown collared T-shirt and blue jeans, Aquino arrived at the school at 9:20 a.m. with his sisters Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz and Aurora Corazaon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada.

    Aquino and his sisters waited in line for about 30 minutes outside Precinct Cluster 73, where Ballsy’s and Pinky’s husbands and children joined them.

    The President, who was fourth on the list of registered voters in his precinct, took a while to fill out his ballot, making sure to check and double-check the names of the candidates he voted for.

    TV cameras from outside zooming in through the window on the President’s hand showed him shading the names of Manuel “Mar” Roxas II for president and Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo for vice president. He was also seen browsing a piece of paper, which appeared to be his “kodigo” for the names of his chosen candidates for the other posts, while inside the precinct.

    It took some 10 minutes before the President fed his ballot into the Vote Counting Machine and had his index finger marked with indelible ink. He was done voting by 10:20 a.m.

    Aquino did not say a word to the media, but a Palace official said the President would be heading straight to Bahay Pangarap, is officials resident inside the Malacañang compound, to monitor the developments on election day.

    Tarlac has a total of 739,526 registered voters, the fourth biggest in Central Luzon, according to the Commission on Elections.

    The province has 1,229 cluster precincts in 480 voting centers in its 511 barangays (villages). CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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