MANILA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The first automated elections of the Philippines kicked off on Monday.
The country's 36,679 polling stations are open at 7 a.m. and due to close at 6:00 p.m., with a winner potentially to be known before midnight. Queues formed at many polling stations before the opening.
As this was the first automated elections ever held in the history of this island country, Philippine Commissioner of the Election Commission (Comelec) Gregorio Larrazabal said, "We are both nervous and excited," at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
"Nervous because you really don't know what to expect; excited because this is it. A lot of Filipinos are looking forward to this day," he added.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the first to cast vote at the Lubao Central Elementary School in Pampanga province, her hometown, on Monday.
GMA Network's live coverage showed President Arroyo arriving early at the polling center, together with her eldest son, Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo.
The latest survey conducted by Social Weather Station on May 2 and May 3 showed Liberal Party candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III got a 42 percent preference rate, 22 percent ahead of former President Joseph Estrada, who got 20 percent.
A nother poll body Pulse Asia said four in every 10 Filipinos support Aquino III. His two major rivals Estrada and Manuel Villar Jr. had a supporting rate of 20 percent each.
The four top presidential candidates cast their votes in their respective hometown on Monday.
The Commission on Elections said 85 percent of the 50.7 million registered voters would turn out this year. They will elect the next president, vice president, 12 senators, 287 congressmen and more than 17,000 local officials.
Meanwhile, two violence incidents took place Monday morning. Three supporters of a mayoralty candidate were killed and five other were injured in an ambush in Zamboanga Sibugay in southern Philippines early Monday, the voting day of the country's first automated election, local media reported.
Xinhua also learned that one was killed in shooting in front of a candidate' house in Kidapawan in the province of Cotabato, also in the south.