Three neophytes, five former legislators and four reelectionist lawmakers comprised the 12 newly-elected senators in the just-concluded May 9 national and local polls.
The new senators who will have a fresh 6-year term that will end in June 2028, were proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) headed by Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan, on Wednesday afternoon at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Tent in Pasay City.
Actor Robin Padilla, who is in first place with 26,612,434 votes, is a first time lawmaker, together with broadcaster Raffy Tulfo, who is in third place with 23,396,954 votes.
Former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, who was a former Las Piñas Representative, is also a first time member of the Upper House. He got 19,475,592 votes (6th place).
The five former senators that also took their oaths were former Antique Representative Loren Legarda, who is in second place with 24,264,979 votes; former Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero, 20,271,458 (5th); former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, 19,295,314 (7th); JV Ejercito, 15,841,858 (10th) and Jinggoy Estrada, 15,108,220 (12th).
Reelectionist senatorial candidates who were able to enter the “Magic 12” were fourth placer Senator Sherwin Gatchalian with 20,535,261 votes; Senator Miguel Zubiri, 18,734,336 (8th); Senator Joel Villanueva with 18,486,034 votes (9th); and Senator Risa Hontiveros, 15,420,807 (11th).
Aside from Pangarungan, the other members of the Commission en banc were Commissioners Socorro Inting, Marlon Casquejo, Aimee Ferolino, Rey Bulay, Aimee Neri and George Garcia, who took turns in presenting the Certificate of Proclamation to each of the winning senators.
The proclamation was conducted sans the Election Returns from Shanghai, China, which has yet to hold an election because of the lockdown being implemented by the host country due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases. There are 1,991 Filipino registered voters there.
The poll body will be setting a special polls in Shanghai as soon as the Chinese government lifted the lockdown.
Also, the Commission has approved the conduct of special elections in in the Municipality of Tubaran, Lanao del Sur on May 24, 2022
“Whereas, the total number of registered voters in Lanao del Sur is 685,643 while based on the tabulated National Tally Sheet (Report No. 7), the difference between the 12th ranked and the 13th ranked senatorial candidates is 1,844,655 votes,” said the NBOC in Resolution No. 022-22.
“Whereas, on May 17, 2022, the NBOC approved in open session the recommendation of the Supervisory Committee that the National Board of Canvassers can already proceed to proclaim the 12 winning candidates for senator ranked from 1st to the 12th based on the election results from the 172 out of the 173 COCs canvassed by the NBOC considering that the election results in Shanghai and the Province of Lanao del Sur will no longer affect the ranking of the 12 winning candidates for senator,” it added.
Meanwhile, the poll body chief congratulated the Filipino people for being part of a successful holding of the May 9 polls.
“As we usher in a new set of leaders from the local government units up to the national positions, I am proud to say that the Commission on Elections has successfully defended the sovereign right of the people to the democratic process of elections,” he said in his speech.
“The glory does not belong solely to the winners of the elections. It belongs also to the voters who stood patiently in line to cast their votes in an election with one of the highest voter turnouts in recent history. This is an election with the lowest election-related violence of only 16 incidents compared to 160 violent incidents in the 2019 elections,” Pangarungan added.
He also acknowledged their partners and other stakeholders that also contributed to the success of last week’s elections.
“And significantly, this is an election with a very efficient and flawless Transparency Server that received all election results in record time immediately after voting on election day. The swiftest transmission was witnessed by the watchful eyes of all representatives of political parties, the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting), NAMFREL (National Movement for Free Elections) and other citizens’ arms,” he said.
“I would also like to express my appreciation to all the women and men of the Commission who gave their support to ensure an orderly and successful election. My colleagues and fellow Commissioners, thank you for your wholehearted support. Even as we look into the reports of VCM errors and a few other glitches in this election, I trust that the Commission en banc shall continually improve on the election process,” Pangarungan added.
He also thanked the Department of Education and all the teachers and their support staff, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard, the DOST (Department of Science and Technology), the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology), and the Comelec Advisory Council.
“I also extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Embassies and Posts around the world as they made sure that every Filipino voter in different foreign countries could exercise their right to vote. To our citizens’ arms, the PPCRV, NAMFREL, the IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines), LENTE, Association of Asian Election Authorities, the KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas), foreign and local observers, the National Press Club, and members of traditional media, your help enhanced the transparency of our elections. The energy sector, the communication sector, thank you for your valuable cooperation,” the poll body chief added.
The Comelec recorded 83.11 percent voter turnout in last week’s polls. The number represents 55,549,791 out of the 66,839,976 registered local and overseas voters. (PNA)