MANILA, Philippines?Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Ako Bicol top the count as the Commission on Elections (Comelec), acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), started canvassing the votes for the senatorial and party-list contests Wednesday.
With only 10.8 percent of the 276 canvassing centers in the country and abroad reporting as of 4:58 p.m. Wednesday, the Comelec?s officially canvassed tally showed Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino?s Sen. Jinggoy Estrada taking the top spot with 3,715,333 votes.
His fellow actor-turned-politician, Ramon ?Bong? Revilla Jr., an administration candidate, was second with 3,649,709.
Other senators who took the first 10 places were Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Franklin Drilon, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sen. Pia Cayetano and former senators Vicente ?Tito? Sotto III, Ralph Recto and Sergio Osmeña III.
Buhay party-list, which was founded by television evangelist Mike Velarde, was edged out of the top spot by a regional group.
As of the 11 a.m. tally of the NBOC on Wednesday involving 23 out of 276 provincial board of canvassers (PBOCs), Buhay received 355,123 votes for a good second place. It was displaced by Ako Bicol, which got 447,023 votes.
Left-leaning party-list groups have entered the top 20 vote-getters. Gabriela got 184,286 (5th place); Bayan Muna had 111,779 votes (10th place) while Kabataan received 76,705 votes (13th place) followed by Anak Pawis with 64,765 (14th place).
Administration-allied party-list groups Ang Galing Pinoy and 1-United Transport Koalisyon got 27,444 and 33,547 votes, respectively.
Ang Galing Pinoy, a group that claims to represent security guards, has former Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, the President?s eldest son, as its first nominee. 1-UTAK, a transport group, has former Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes as its first representative.
The senatorial candidates who took the 11th to 15th spots were Rep. Teofisto Guingona III, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Sen. Lito Lapid, Rep. Gilbert Remulla, Rep. Ruffy Biazon and Jose de Venecia III.
Of the candidates in the top spots, only Lapid and Revilla come from Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
Earl Pareno, a political analyst from Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the opposition?s anticorruption message resonated with the voters.
?This was a continuation of the 2007 elections. It was not about being pro-GMA. The people voted for the candidates who are perceived to be against corruption,? he said.
?The opposition had more candidates who are anticorruption. The administration could not attract these candidates because the issue of graft and corruption focused on them,? he added.
The NBOC started the canvassing at 11 a.m. Wednesday, after suspending it on Tuesday. As of Wednesday noon, about 19 of the 103 provinces had completed transmission to the NBOC.
Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the canvassing at the national level slowed down in the past two days because the canvassing centers at the lower levels could send the tallies and the certificates of canvas only after they received all the transmitted results.
?They had to wait for the complete results. This was the cause of delay,? he explained.
On Tuesday night, the Comelec issued a resolution to hasten the canvassing at the national level.
Under the resolution, a board of canvassers can ask Comelec regional directors to lower the threshold provided that it will not affect the standing of the candidates. Comelec Chair Jose Melo noted that the threshold was usually not less than 95 percent.
The decision came after some precincts had yet to finish voting due to technical and security concerns, preventing the canvassers from proclaiming clear winners and transmitting the results to the Comelec.
Sarmiento said there were boards of canvassers that requested the Comelec to lower the threshold of the canvassing system.
He said a torrent of canvassed results should come in at the NBOC by the end of the day.
Proclamation of senators
By Friday, the Comelec should have proclaimed the 12 senators, Sarmiento said.
The Comelec would also try to include as many overseas absentee votes in the tally. Sarmiento said the number of votes from Filipinos abroad could affect the standing of the 11th, 12th, and 13th places in the senatorial race.
Reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs said about 130,000 migrant Filipinos participated in the 2010 presidential and national elections. There are about 500,000 registered voters abroad.