Philippines Elections: Allies of President Rodrigo Duterte Dominate the Win
Amid the reports of vote-buying and faulty vote-counting machines, the associates of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte have largely dominated the mid-term legislative elections. As per the unofficial results, nine candidates of a political coalition called “Hugpong ng Pagbabago” (Caucus for Change) led by the President’s daughter might win the Senate seats.
Out of all the candidates who have stood for the elections, one is expected to have landed in the “winning circle”, assuring Duterte of a “supermajority” there. The President could thereby bring changes in the legislative agenda, which includes re-establishing the death penalty and lowering the age of criminal liability of child offenders. He could even revise the country’s 1987 Constitution, allowing a shift to a federal form of government.
“Undoubtedly, the Duterte magic spelled the difference”, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a news conference on Tuesday.
Senator Cynthia Villar, led Duterte’s Senate slate, with over 24.4 million votes. Christopher Go, also the President’s long-time personal assistant, with 19.9 million votes and Former Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa with 18 million votes were certainly winners in the race. In the counting of the votes, both ranked third and fifth respectively. Former Governor Imee Marcos, another of President Duterte’s associate was set to win the eight positions.
The three candidates who ran independently made it to the top 12 in the Philippines’ elections. Senator Grace Poe, 51, stood on the second place with 21 million votes. She said that she “doesn’t owe anything” to any political patron, and promised to “balance (out the Senate)” in the face of a landslide win by Rodrigo Duterte allies.
So far only two Senate bets from the opposition alliance, Otso Diretso, have been leading. As the counting came into a close, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, nephew of former president Benigno Aquino, was lagging behind on 14th position. He is largely considered the only opposition candidate with the chance of winning.
However, the election results noted a sudden dip on Tuesday morning from 92 percent to 49 percent. This created confusion in the minds of election officials who believed that there was a glitch caused by malfunctioning data packets. They later said that the central server was “working perfectly” as the results reverted to 92 percent two hours later.
The political theorists claimed that the opposition failed in demolishing the growing popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte and his party, which subjected them to the defeat. As per Tuesday’s counting, the voters in Metro Manila have largely supported the pro-Duterte Senate candidates as the President’s earlier policies have helped them in living a quality life, thereby shutting out the anti-Duterte opposition parties. Some of political parties lost their long decades of office to the potential younger sets of candidates.
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