Senate supermajority looms
This gives the ruling coalition of Duterte, halfway into his six-year term, a full 19 sitting senators. According to partial and unofficial count from Comelec’s transparency server as of 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, Senators Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe continue to lead the senatorial race in the May 13 elections after 95.02 percent of total election returns had been processed. With no senatorial candidate from the “Otso Diretso” entering the “Magic 12” based on the partial, unofficial results, the 18th Congress braces with only four opposition senators, led by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who said the opposition might have less in number now but stressed they would continue to fiscalize —a unique Filipino term to mean to keep watch on – the administration in the Senate. The four opposition senators include Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained at the PNP Custodian Center in Camp Crame since February 2017 over illegal drug charges, Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros. In related developments: • Half of the opposition’s Senate slate conceded on Tuesday, but they promised the fight for the Filipinos would not end with their defeat. Otso Diretso candidates election lawyer Romy Macalintal, ex-Solicitor General Pilo Hilbay, civic leader Samira Gutoc, and former congressman Erin Tañada waved the white flag, ending months of their grueling campaign. “The will of the people is supreme, so we respect the result of the elections... This is not the result we hoped for, but it is the reality that we have to face with the optimism that we will have better days,” Hilbay said in a statement. Macalintal added, “It is clear that a great majority of our voters have chosen other candidates. And I respect their decision.” • Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday urged Filipinos to respect the voice of the majority. In a statement, Lacson also reminded the public to remain vigilant and keep an eye on the new public “servants.” “When the dust has finally settled and all the winners have been officially proclaimed, let us bear in mind that we are all Filipinos who love democracy, no matter the flaws and weaknesses,” he said. “What is important is that we respect the voice of the majority but without abandoning our responsibility to continue our vigilance against abuses and wrongdoings of those given the mandate to serve. Remember, we may not be their masters, but definitely, they are our servants,” he added. A total 18,072 national and local positions were at stake in Monday’s polls. At stake in Monday’s polls were positions for 12 senators, 61 seats for party-list organizations, 245 members of the House of Representatives, 81 governors and vice governors, 780 members of the provincial board, 145 city mayors and vice mayors, 1,628 city councilors, 1,489 municipal mayors and vice mayors, and 11,916 municipal councilors. • In the Senate, President Vicente Sotto vowed the upper chamber would remain free from the influence of President Duterte. “Don’t worry that there will be no opposition in the Senate because opposing is not the sole franchise of the opposition. We just side with what is right.,” Sotto told radio dzMM. • Former police and corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa issued guarantees to the public that he would not be a lapdog of the Palace, as he is poised to get a seat in the Senate after placing in the top half of the midterm polls based on partial, unofficial results. Dela Rosa, quoting the late President Manuel L. Quezon, said his loyalty to his party ends where his loyalty to the country begins.