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Elderly voter says she wants ‘peace of mind’

15 April 2016

Norma Gulapa (right) is aided down the
Bayanihan stairway after she cast her vote on April 10.
Norma Gulapa waited for the heavy rain on Sunday, Apr 10, to ease before she ventured out of her rented public housing flat in Yau Tong to travel by bus and tram to Kennedy Town. She wanted to be an early bird on Day Two of the 2016 Philippine national elections.
Nanay Norma, 78, appeared weak and wan and was helped by volunteers up the steep flights of stairs to the polling booths at Bayanihan Centre.
“Kalalabas ko lang sa ospital kahapon, sumama ang pakiramdam ko, tumaas ang aking dugo,” Nanay Norma said in an interview with The SUN shortly after she voted.
Her blood pressure was 218/60, indeed alarming for a septuagenarian. She was hospitalized and released only a day earlier, yet there was fire and firmness in her speech.
She said she voted for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Duterte, baka sakali,” she replied confidently when asked who she voted for president.
“Kasi sa buong buhay ko parang masyadong walang peace of mind, eh. Kasi, tingnan mo, kahit ang tahi-tahimik mo, mayamaya huholdapin ka, o kaya aagawan ka ng ano,” Nanay Norma said.
She related how shocked she was one time when a man snatched her necklace from behind as she sat on a jeepney in Muñoz, Quezon City. The thief’s sharp nails scraped her nape and neck leaving scars. That influenced her choice.
But that choice is not a popular one in her family.
Her two grown-up sons who both work as bartenders heaped scorn on her when she said she was voting for Duterte, saying she was supporting a “murderer”. She told them that was a lie.
With the current state of affairs back home, Nanay Norma said she prefers spending her retirement in Hong Kong, where she stays in a public housing flat and lives on the meager pension she gets from the government. – Vir B. Lumicao

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