Philippine election commission proclaims 12 new senators
Winning senators of the 2016 elections ©

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:

  1. Franklin Drilon                                                18,607,391 votes
  2. Joel Villanueva                                                18,459,222 votes
  3. Vicente Sotto III                                             17,200,371 votes
  4. Panfilo Lacson                                                  16,926,152 votes
  5. Richard Gordon                                               16,719,322 votes
  6. Juan Miguel Zubiri                                          16,119,165 votes
  7. Manny Pacquiao                                              16,050,546 votes
  8. Francis Pangilinan                                           15,955,949 votes
  9. Risa Hontiveros                                                15,915,213 votes
  10. Sherwin Gatchalian                                          14,953,768 votes
  11. Ralph Recto                                                       14,271,868 votes
  12. 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.



Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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