MANILA, Philippines — Ten days after the May 9 national and local elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), sitting as National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), officially proclaimed the 12 winning senatorial candidates Thursday.
In a formal ceremony at the 2016 Elections Headquarters at the Forum of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, NBoC chairman Juan Andres Bautista, together with the other members of the NBoC, led the proclamation of newly elected Senators.
Proclaimed were Senate President Franklin Drilon who garnered 18,607,391 (1st) votes ; Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, 18,459,222 (2nd); Vicente Sotto III, 17,200,371 (3rd); Panfilo Lacson,Sr., 16,926,152 (4th); Richard Gordon, 16,719,322 (5th); Juan Miguel Zubiri, 16,119,165 (6th); Emmanuel Pacquiao, 16,050,546 (7th); Anna Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, 15,915,213 (8th); Francis Pangilinan, 15,955,949 (9th); Sherwin Gatchalian, 14,953,768 (10th); Ralph Recto, 14,271,868 (11th) and Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa de Lima, 14,144,070 (12th).
Sotto and Lacson failed to attend the ceremony, their certificates of proclamation were accepted by their respective counsels, Lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Sixto Brillantes, Jr.
This is the third try for Baranquel, who loss in the 2010 and 2013 polls while the Representative Pacquiao of the province of Saranggani, the former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) chief Villanueva, the former Valenzuela Congressman Gatchalian,and former Justice Secretary de Lima were all first timers.
Drilon, Sotto and Recto are incumbent senators while Lacson, Gordon, Zubiri and Pangilinan are comebacking lawmakers.
“Therefore, by virtue of the powers vested in it… the Comelec en banc, sitting as NBoC, hereby proclaims the 12 duly-elected senators of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 19, 2016 national elections to serve for a term of six years beginning on June 30, 2016,” said Resolution 007-16.
Meanwhile, the winning candidates expressed jubilation and thanked all the people for supporting them.
Zubiri described his political career as “rough and tumble” having to resign in 2011 for allegedly benefiting from alleged poll fraud during the 2007 elections. He vowed to pursue in the Senate the people’s clamor for change.
“We want to change the image of the Senate. Iyong bagong administrasyon ang hinahanap po nila ay change na nakakaiba sa nangyayari sa ngayon, we have to give that to them or else ma-di-disappoint t po ang taong bayan. Let us make a change in the Senate, change in the way we think , and change the way we serve the Filipino people…,” said Zubiri, who was accompanied by his wife, Audrey and their children.
Villanueva, who is second place overall expressed gratitude to the more than 18 million people who voted for him and assured that he would fulfill the promises he made during his campaign.
Among his priorities is to create more jobs for Filipinos.
”Ang araw na ito ay hudyat o simula ng shift natin duon sa Senado at di ako magkikibit-balikat na mag overtime para po sa inyo at gagawin natin ang lahat para i-fulfill ang ating commitment na gumawa at lumikha ng maraming trabaho,” said Villanueva, who was with his wife, Gladys and his father and Jesus is Lord (JIL) leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva.
Recto also thanked those who supported him and for giving him another chance to work in the Senate and to continue to serve the people.
”Pinapangako ko na muli tayong magtratrabaho at gagawin ko ang lahat para makinabang ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino pagbalik natin sa Senado,” the incumbent lawmaker said.
For his part. Gordon lauded the Comelec for showing some improvements in terms of the transmission of votes but admitted that a lot of improvement is still needed when it comes to security features of the automated counting machines.
“I think if we do that we will have a better elections there will be no questions later on especially with what is happening, I’m getting calls from everywhere and they are asking whether something is going on because of the delay of the count…,” said the chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, who was with his wife Kate.
The newly-elected senator among his priority bills are the passage of laws that would lessen campaign spending and include voters’ education in the educational system.
“We cannot afford to have only the wealthy and only the connected run for office. We need intelligent people who despite of their economic standing can continue to serve the country without fear of money , without fear of intimidation,” Gordon said.
The winners in the 2016 senatorial race will be serving a six-year term or up to 2022.
The newly elected senators will complete the 24 members of the upper house.
The other 12 lawmakers, which were elected in the 2013 midterm polls are: Senators Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Loren Regina Legarda, Francis Joseph Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay, Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Aquilino Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Cynthia Villar, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Gregorio Honasan II. Ferdinand Patinio/PNA/northboundasia.com