Palace sees victory new mandate for Aquino
The administration’s Team Pnoy was headed for a 9-3 win in the senatorial races, a partial and unofficial tally of the Commission on Elections showed Tuesday.
Nine administration candidates led by former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairman Grace Poe entered the top 12 while three from the opposition United Nationalist Alliance made it into the winners’ circle, led by Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
As of press time, Poe was still on top, followed by Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Nancy Binay, Edgardo Angara, Aquilino, Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes IV Cynthia Villar, and Gregorio Honasan.
The 13th to 15th places are occupied by Dick Gordon, Migz Zubiri and Juan Ponce Enrile Jr.
The Palace viewed the 9-3 trend as a “ very powerful affirmation” of the Filipino people for President Aquino’s reform agenda.
“The victory of Team PNoy is a renewed mandate for the straight path, and a vote of confidence for good governance, the continuity of reforms, and a brighter future to come,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
Lacierda said Mr. Aquino himself had described the midterms elections as a “referendum” on his administration.
Lacierda described the May 13 polls as “one that will determine whether there will be a continuation and acceleration of reform, or a regression to the old, selfish ways that had harmed our country.”
“As the counting is completed and the official proclamations take place, it seems clear that our countrymen have spoken overwhelmingly to confirm and expand the mandate for reform and change that they first granted in 2010 to President Aquino,” the Palace official said.
Lacierda said a majority in the Senate will make it easier for Mr. Aquino to push for his reform agenda.
“Since we will have a greater support in the Senate, that means we will be able to push our reform agenda -- the laws that we feel are our priorities for the country,” he said.
Lacierda said the Palace is also satisfied with the conduct of the second automated elections.
“By all accounts, this second automated election has proceeded in a satisfactory manner, with the system and the vast majority of machines working as they were intended,” he said.
“While there were isolated incidents of violence and equally isolated hitches in the voting process, our institutions—from the Commission on Elections to its deputized agencies—volunteers for poll-watching, media, and the public came together and did their utmost to ensure free, fair, and credible elections,” Lacierda added.
The Palace official said the performance of the precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines was “certainly better” this year than in the 2010 presidential polls.
Despite the poor showing in the senatorial races for his UNA, Vice President Binay said his plan to run for President in 2016 was unchanged.
“Let me just restate that I will not be a hypocrite. I plan and look forward to being a candidate in 2016 for the presidency,” he said.
He also said the UNA at least prevented a 12-0 sweep for the administration.
The National Board of Canvassers suspended the official canvassing at the Philippine International Convention Center at 6 p.m. Tuesday, pending the delayed transmission of certificates of canvass.
At press time, the NBC composed of the seven-man Comelec en banc received only six COCs from the areas of Guimaras, Paranaque, Iligan, Dinagat Island, Mandaluyong and Romblon.
But Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the transmission wasn’t delayed, but merely following a “ladderized” system of transmission.
Brillantes also said the Comelec would proclaim the 12 winning senators by 7 p.m. Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Comelec gave the green light to regional election officers to proclaim winning candidates even if not all the results have been transmitted and received.
In the 2010 elections, no proclamation was possible until 100 percent of the results were in.
In a resolution Tuesday, the Comelec lowered the threshold to enable the board of canvassers to generate their certificates of canvass for proclamation, as long as the outcome would no longer be affected.
The election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting on Tuesday said despite reports of glitches in the operation of the PCOS machines, vote buying and election-related violence, the number of irregularities in the 2013 elections were down to half of those in the 2010 polls.
“We are satisfied with the outcome of the automated elections today and it is much better compared to the 2010 elections,” the group’s media and communications director Ana Singson said.
She said the most common problems encountered by the PCOS machines were due to over-heating, signal jamming, and power supply shutdowns that were resolved in three to four hours.
A total of 255 PCOS machines malfunctioned, but the PPCRV said these would not affect the result of the senatorial races.
In the 2010 elections, 464 machines encountered problems, she said.
The PPCRV assessment was backed by Catholic bishops, who said the 2010 experience with the vote counting machines made the 2013 polls go more smoothly. The bishops also described the election as “generally peaceful.”
The Philippine National Police remained on the alert Tuesday against politically motivated or revenge attacks, particularly in areas where political rivalries were intense.
Police and military forces posted in far flung and remote villages in the country, including 17 election hot spots, were still n high alert as the canvassing of votes continued.
As of Tuesday, the PNP recorded a total number of 81 election-elated incidents, which was lower than 176 in 2010 and 229 in 2007.
Of the 81 incidents, 67 involved shooting; four were explosions; two were ambushes; two involved grenade throwing; two involved strafing; two were reported as harassment and two were categorized as “others.”
At least 33 elective government officials, one candidate, 14 political supporters, two soldiers and a policeman were killed while 65 others were wounded in different circumstances.
The PNP nerve center continued to received post election violence reports. In the town of Milagrosa, Negros Oriental, two communist rebels and an Army soldier were killed when the insurgents attacked government forces on security detail. With Joyce P. Pańares, Vito Barcelo and Francisco Tuyay