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12 senators proclaimed

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and commissioners join newly proclaimed senators at the PICC canvassing center yesterday. From left: Leila de Lima, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, Franklin Drilon, Richard Gordon, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan and Ralph Recto. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

De Lima rounds out ‘Magic 12’

MANILA, Philippines - More than a week after election day, the Commissions on Elections (Comelec), sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, finally proclaimed yesterday the 12 winning candidates in the senatorial race.

The last canvass report released by the Comelec showed Senate President Franklin Drilon garnered the highest number of votes at 18,607,391.

Former Technical and Education Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva came in a surprise second with 18,459,222 votes.

Reelectionist Sen. Vicente Sotto III earned 17,200,371 votes while Panfilo Lacson, who is making a comeback at the Senate, landed in fourth place with 16,926,152 votes.

Former senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, got 16,719,322 votes followed by former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri with 16,119,165 votes.

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Retired boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao came in at seventh place with 16,050,546 votes.

Former senator Francis Pangilinan will be making a comeback with 15,955,949 votes.

Risa Hontiveros, after two previous unsuccessful runs, found the third run a charm and secured ninth spot with 15,915,213 votes. She was followed by Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian who got 14,953,768 votes.

Reelectionist Sen. Ralph Recto earned 14,271,868 votes while former justice secretary Leila de Lima completed the winning circle with 14,144,070 votes.

‘Relief and gratitude’

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, in his opening remarks, said the poll body as NBOC proceeded with the proclamation of winners even as they have yet to receive the remaining 1,211 votes.
Bautista said the difference between the number of votes garnered by the 12th and 13th senatorial candidates is 1,332,972. He added the remaining votes would no longer affect the results.

Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, who is in 13th place, had asked the Supreme Court to stop the Comelec from proclaiming the last three winners.

Tolentino, who trailed De Lima by more than 1.3 million votes, said the election results were compromised by the changing of the script of the Comelec transparency server on election day.

The NBOC, however, proceeded with the proclamation of the winners in the absence of a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court stemming from the petition of Tolentino.

Bautista said Comelec had been relieved of the burden to proclaim the winners, given “the myriad emotions that surfaced during the election period.”

“What they cherish most now is the feeling of relief and gratitude. The 2016 elections may be the most divisive yet most organized and efficient we have had in our nation’s history,” he said.

“There was active participation by the people as a testament to our vibrant democracy.”

In his opening statement, Bautista also paid tribute to the men and women of the Comelec, the volunteers and the state agencies that made the elections a success.

Five new faces

Only ten of the 12 winners attended yesterday’s proclamation held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal received the certificate of proclamation on behalf of Sotto while former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. took the certificate for Lacson.

Five new faces have emerged – Villanueva, Pacquiao, De Lima, Gatchalian and Hontiveros, along with four former senators – Gordon, Lacson, Pangilinan and Zubiri – who are headed for new terms.

Three were reelectionists – Drilon, Sotto and Recto. Only two women – Hontiveros and De Lima – made the winning circle.

De Lima, accompanied by family members, was the early bird at yesterday’s proclamation that started around 3:20 p.m.

Drilon came with his wife. Gatchalian was accompanied by his brother, reelected Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, while Zubiri showed up with wife Audrey and kids.

Pangilinan also attended the proclamation ceremony but without his celebrity wife Sharon Cuneta and their kids.

Villanueva showed up with his father, evangelist Eddie Villanueva and wife. Gordon was accompanied by wife Kate. Hontiveros was also given support by family members.

Recto came in solo while Pacquiao arrived together with wife Jinky and children.

Except for Sotto and Lacson, all the winning candidates personally received their certificates of proclamation from the Comelec.

Immediately after the proclamation ceremonies, three of the new senators briefed reporters on what they wanted to do at the Senate.

Pacquiao said he would work for the restoration of the death penalty in support for the administration of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.

Villanueva also said he would support the restoration of the death penalty but only for heinous crimes such as rape and kidnapping.

“I support the measure but I want to see an effective justice system before I would allow myself to support the initialization of death penalty,” he said.

De Lima, who used to be a justice secretary and chair of the Commission on Human Rights, had expressed reservation in supporting some of  Duterte’s pronouncements, particularly on summary execution.

“I will definitely oppose summary execution because that is illegal and unconstitutional. Summary execution is plain and simple murder,” De Lima said. 

Senate topnotcher Drilon, on the other hand, vowed to work harder for the next six years.

“I would like to humbly thank every single

Filipino who have entrusted me with the mandate to serve this nation for six more years. I am forever grateful for your recognition of what I have accomplished in my past terms as senator but more importantly, for your confidence in what I can still do for our country,” Drilon said.

Drilon said he only sought to win in the election, which is why the first place finish was both humbling and inspiring for him.

“My intention was to win in order that I can continue to serve our people and influence the governance through policies which I believe will be beneficial for our country,” he said.

Old faces, new life

Some of Drilon’s colleagues in the Senate, on the other hand, are looking forward to retiring.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile is ending his long and colorful career in government service. He said he will just go fishing in his home province of Cagayan.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, who placed 14th in the May 9 senatorial race, also said he wanted to go fishing.

“I will go fishing. I am so tired. I have to relax,” he said.

Osmeña claimed he could have been cheated in the May 9 elections though he is not filing a protest. “I think I deserve a rest,” he said.

Osmeña said he would refuse any appointive position in the Duterte administration.

“I hate appointed positions. At least at the Senate, we are flexible, we can say anything. You know, I am independent-minded. I say what I think… That’s why Malacañang gets angry with me all the time,” he  said.

For his part, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, who placed 17th in the senatorial race, said he is going back to business.

“I am looking forward to my private life,” he said.  

“I am not happy of course but I accept it,” he added.

Guingona also said he would not jockey for any government post under the Duterte administration.

 46 party-list groups proclaimed

Forty-six party-list organizations, led by Ako Bicol Political Party, were proclaimed yesterday by the Comelec. These groups will occupy a total of 59 seats at the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress.

Based on the final National Canvass Report released by the Comelec, Ako Bicol bagged 1,664,975 of the 32,377,841 votes cast for party-list last May 9. This entitles the group to three House seats.

The other groups that are guaranteed two seats are  Gabriela (1,367,795 votes); 1Pacman (1,310,197); ACT Teachers (1,180,752); Senior Citizens (988,376); Kabayan (840,393); AGRI (833,821); PBA (780,309), Buhay (760,912); Abono (732,060); AMIN (706,689), and Coop-Natcco (671,699).

Getting one seat each are Akbayan (608,449); Bayan Muna (604,566); AGAP (593,748); An Waray (590,895); Cibac (555,760); AAMBIS-OWA (495,483); Kalinga (494,725); A Teacher (475,488); YACAP (471,173); DIWA (467,794); TUCP (467,275); Abang Lingkod (466,701); LPGMA (466,103); Alona (463,856); 1 Sagip (397,064), and Butil (395,011).

Others are ACTS-OFW (374,601); AnakPawis (367,376); Ang Kabuhayan (348,533); ANGKLA (337,245); Mata (331,285); 1-CARE (329,627); ANAC-IP (318,257); ABS (301,457); Kabataan (300,420); BH (299,381); AASENSO (294,281); Serbisyo sa Bayan Party (280,465); Magdalo (279,356); 1-ANG EDUKASYON (278,393); Manila Teachers (268,613); Kusug Tausug (247,487); Aangat Tayo (246,266), and Agbiag (240,723). –Marvin Sy, Christina Mendez, Evelyn Macairan, Sheila Crisostomo

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