12 winning senators all pro-Duterte

MANILA – Two winners of the May 13 senatorial elections showed that they were not fanatically pro-Duterte by refusing to do the clenched fist bump, while two reelectionist senators just out of the Magic 12 graciously accepted defeat.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared the 12 winners on Wednesday, May 22, while resetting the declaration of the victorious party-list representatives to Thursday, May 23.

The dozen senators were all allied with President Rodrigo Duterte, but Grace Poe and Nancy Binay did not follow the lead of the 10 others in their first group photo by not doing the sign that has become synonymous with the Duterte presidency.

While considered pro-Duterte, Poe ran as an independent, while Binay was not endorsed by the president despite her being generally supportive of the chief executive’s programs.

The winning senators are, from first to twelfth place, Cynthia Villar, Poe, Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Bato dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Koko Pimentel, Bong Revilla, and Binay.

Except for Dela Rosa, Marcos and Tolentino, all are either reelectionists or returnees to the Senate.

The two reelectionists who failed to make it were JV Ejercito and Bam Aquino, both of whom conceded with heads held high.

The 12 senators will join a Senate which has four incumbent oppositionists, thereby giving the administration a super majority in the upper chamber of the country’s bicameral Congress.

The four minority senators are Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Leila de Lima (who remains detained).

The Duterte administration has a similar overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives.

No major changes are expected in the Senate, with Senate President Tito Sotto expected to stay at the top post.

With the 24 senators of the next Congress already known, the next battle will be for committee chairmanships.  Besides Ejercito and Aquino, Loren Legarda has also exited the Senate after completing her term limit.

Based on a ruling by the Comelec judging the Nacionalista Party as the official minority party, Cayetano, Marcos, Ralph Recto, and Villar will be treated as the dominant opposition in the next elections, which will be in 2022.