Hontiveros may be lone oppositionist in Senate
MANILA, Philippines — Reelectionist Sen. Risa Hontiveros is poised to retake her seat as probably the only oppositionist among the top 12 candidates in the senatorial race — as voters’ top choices in this year’s general election indicate a continuing preference for the strongman-style of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Hontiveros, who is running under the Akbayan party, ranked 11th with 15,251,075 votes as of 10:47 p.m. on Tuesday, according to data from the transparency server of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
She will join the ranks of actor Robin Padilla, broadcast journalist Raffy Tulfo, former Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, reelectionist Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri, and former Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, JV Ejercito, Chiz Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada and Loren Legarda who are due to return to that chamber.
Alone in Congress?
Padilla continued to lead the Senate race with 26,385,249 votes. He was closely followed by Legarda with 23,939,235 votes and Tulfo with 23,123,060 votes.
Hontiveros is the only original member of Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate, although Escudero and Villanueva were considered guest candidates.
In the 18th Congress, she had the backing of fellow oppositionists in the Liberal Party—Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who was Robredo’s running mate in this election; reelectionist Sen. Leila de Lima, who appears headed for defeat; and outgoing Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
Progressive lawmakers in the House of Representatives are also on their way out after their party-list groups failed to secure the minimum 2 percent of total votes cast in the party-list race.
Hontiveros may thus find herself the lone oppositionist in Congress—unless one also counts Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III who has become an outcast in the ruling circle that may likely prevail under a Marcos administration.
But apart from her possible standing in what observers may anticipate to be a monolithic 19th Congress, she will also pursue her long-standing advocacies, regardless of the political composition in her chamber—such as women’s rights, gender equality, universal health care, and ensuring peace in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Meanwhile the Comelec said it may proclaim this week the winning senatorial candidates and party-list groups.
“Hopefully this week, if we can do it, we will make the proclamations,” Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
He said if the Provincial Board of Canvassers and City Board of Canvassers can transmit all their results soon enough, the poll body can already proclaim the winners.
Only six out of 177 party-list groups were able to make it in the party-list race, as the record number of groups accredited by the Comelec had also served to lessen the number of party-list representatives.
There are currently 51 such groups with 63 representatives in the 18th Congress. But many of them will not join the next Congress, following the results of Monday’s general election.
The six winning party-list groups are ACT-CIS (5.76 percent of the votes), 1-Rider (2.74 percent), Tingog (2.42 percent), 4Ps (2.32 percent), Ako Bicol (2.25) and Sagip (2.14 percent).
ACT-CIS or the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support, which also topped the 2019 party-list race, is expected to retain its three congressional seats.
Bayan Muna, a consistent topnotcher since joining the party-list election in 2001, failed to secure the minimum percentage of votes along with the rest of the groups under the progressive Makabayan bloc.
—WITH REPORTS FROM KATHLEEN DE VILLA, DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN AND TINA G. SANTOS