Three more senatorial winners were proclaimed on the fifth day of canvassing on Friday by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) but only seventh-placer Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV showed up for the ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center late Friday night.
Amid questions about the slow pace of canvassing and doubts over the propriety of proclaiming winners this early, the Comelec declared the seventh to ninth placers—Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV and Aquilino Pimentel III—senators-elect.
Aquino, a cousin of President Benigno Aquino III, was personally escorted by Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. as he took his place before the Comelec sitting as the national board of canvassers (NBOC).
“Our campaign was not hard, but I know being a senator will be equally hard… I’m sure while I am senator for the next six years, we will be together to work for the future of our country,” Aquino said in brief remarks.
Trillanes out of town, Pimentel ill
“Senator Trillanes is out of town so he will not be able to make it tonight. Senator Pimentel will also not make it tonight as he said he is somehow feeling ill,” Brillantes said.
The proclamation of the three candidates came a day after the first-six placers were declared winners on Thursday. Only three more slots are unfilled with the official proclamation of the nine senators-elect.
Aquino was accompanied by his wife, Mary Fatima, his father, Paul, relatives, friends and supporters. Everyone wore yellow, the Aquino family signature color, except for the new senator’s wife who wore a dark blue lace dress and his father who was in barong Tagalog.
Aquino said the last time he spoke with his cousin, the President, was last Monday, Election Day, when he thanked him for his support throughout the campaign.
Aquino said he received a call from the Comelec at about 4.30 p.m. for him to go over to the PICC for the proclamation.
He said he did not ask the NBOC about the swirling controversy over the early proclamation of the winners.
On the criticisms of the Comelec’s too early proclamation of the winners in the senatorial contest, he said: “The Comelec has answered all of these questions already. In my case, I am just happy to be proclaimed. It was a very long election prior and we are happy that we reached this point,” he told reporters.
He said repeatedly that he was happy to be proclaimed and that he was eager “to start working for the country.”
Aquino said he would want to join the committees on women, youth and sports, and commerce and industry, and will be pushing his advocacies for entrepreneurship and micro-entrepreneurship.
The Comelec on Friday made a huge leap in the pace of its canvassing of the senatorial vote, reporting that it had now canvassed more than 90 percent of the vote a day after its controversial proclamation of the top six winners of the election contest.
As of 6.30 p.m. Friday, the Comelec, sitting as the NBOC, finished tabulating 113 certificates of canvass (COCs), out of a total 304 COCs.
The 113 COCs represent 34,604,531 out of the country’s registered voting population of 52 million.
Assuming a 70 to 75 percent turnout, some 38 million Filipinos voted in Monday’s elections.
90 percent of vote
This means the Comelec has accounted for slightly over 90 percent of the vote. Most of the 195 COCs left uncounted are overseas absentee votes, many of which represent only a few voters. Out of 304 COCs, 198 COCs are overseas, while 106 are local.
Grace Poe was still leading in the partial, official tally of the Comelec, followed by Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Nancy Binay and Juan Edgardo Angara.
The first six were officially proclaimed on Thursday night in alphabetical order.
The next six places are occupied by Aquino, Pimentel, Trillanes, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito and Gregorio Honasan.
Hovering just outside the Magic 12, Richard Gordon was back in 13th place, followed by Juan “Jack” Ponce Enrile and Miguel Zubiri.
as of 7:35 p.m., May 17
117 out of 304 COCs
Senatorial bets Votes
1 POE 18,697,429
2 LEGARDA 17,160,208
3 CAYETANO 16,168,156
4 ESCUDERO 16,148,955
5 BINAY 15,358,420
6 ANGARA 14,714,561
7 AQUINO 14,086,288
8 PIMENTEL 13,466,306
9 TRILLANES 12,958,307
10 VILLAR 12,725,809
11 EJERCITO 12,566,069
12 HONASAN 12,153,688
13 GORDON 11,673,359
14 ENRILE 10,575,933
15 ZUBIRI 10,506,446
16 MAGSAYSAY, R. 10,377,948
17 HONTIVEROS 10,115,604
18 HAGEDORN 7,901,113
19 VILLANUEVA 6,446,252
20 MADRIGAL 6,173,959
21 MAGSAYSAY, M. 5,115,384
22 CASIÑO 3,930,504
23 MACEDA 3,170,748
24 COJUANGCO 2,847,173
25 DELOS REYES 1,108,529
26 ALCANTARA 1,090,613
27 BELGICA 1,030,445
28 PENSON 947,431
29 DAVID 927,379
30 MONTAÑO 902,787
31 LLASOS 629,789
32 SEÑERES 625,781
33 FALCONE 592,909