AFTER a grueling vote count, the Philippine Commission on Election on Thursday proclaims 12 new senators of the Philippine republic.
Five of those proclaimed were newcomers who expressed openness to the plan of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to change the current government structure from a highly centralized system to a federalized one.
The newly proclaimed lawmakers, however, are divided on Duterte’s proposal to restore the death penalty.
Proclaimed senators of the 17th congress of the Philippines are:
- Franklin Drilon 18,607,391 votes
- Joel Villanueva 18,459,222 votes
- Vicente Sotto III 17,200,371 votes
- Panfilo Lacson 16,926,152 votes
- Richard Gordon 16,719,322 votes
- Juan Miguel Zubiri 16,119,165 votes
- Manny Pacquiao 16,050,546 votes
- Francis Pangilinan 15,955,949 votes
- Risa Hontiveros 15,915,213 votes
- Sherwin Gatchalian 14,953,768 votes
- Ralph Recto 14,271,868 votes
- Leila De Lima 14,144,070 votes
Except for Villanueva, Pacquiao, Hontiveros, Gatchalian and De Lima who are new comers to the senate, the rest of the winners are veteran lawmakers being senators in the previous Philippine congresses.
Nevertheless, the senate newcomers are not new to government service.
Villanueva used to head a government agency engaged in vocational training of workers while Pacquiao, a legendary boxing champ, was a two time member of the House of Representatives.
Gatchalian, on the other hand, was a former mayor of a small industrial city in northern Metro Manila while De Lima used to head the justice department under the second Aquino administration.
The Comelec decided to proclaim Gatchalian, Recto and De Lime despite a protest made by former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino before the Supreme Court due to alleged irregularities in the vote count. Tolentino got 12,811,098 votes and is currently on 13th place.
The Comelec said the remaining uncanvassed votes would no longer materially affect De Lima’s ranking.