By Jeffrey Damicog
Sen. Cynthia Villar of the Nacionalista Party has maintained the No. 1 spot as she continues to pull away from the pack in the senatorial race after garnering 23,610,580 votes in the latest partial and official tally released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as of 7:16 p.m. Friday.
Jockeying for the last two spots are: Sen. Nancy Binay (No. 11) with 13,453,117; former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. (No. 12) with 13,442,578 votes; Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino (No. 13) with 13,384,293 votes; and half-brothers Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito (No. 14) with 13,344,417 votes and former senator Jinggoy Estrada (No. 15) who got 10,512,191 votes.
Except for Revilla and Aquino, the rankings in the rest of the top 15 senatorial candidates remain unchanged since the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), last posted its partial and official results on Thursday night.
Still at No. 2 is Sen. Grace Poe who received 20,711,849 votes, while former presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go keeps the third spot with 19,030,884 votes.
Former senator Pia Cayetano is at 4th place with 18,550,012 votes, while former PNP chief Ronaldo “Bato” Dela Rosa, who topped the overseas senatorial polls based on unofficial tally, remains at No. 5 with 17,567,258 votes.
At 6th place is Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara with 17,027,333 votes, while former senator Lito Lapid is at 7th place with 15,778,223 votes.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos is at 8th place with 14,775,948 votes, while former Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino is at No. 9 with 14,387,602 votes. At No. 10 is Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel with 13,563,083 votes.
The NBOC is set to resume canvassing today (Saturday, May 18) the remaining 21 out of the total 167 COCs.
The NBOC started to officially canvass the votes for senators and party-list groups Tuesday at the PICC in Pasay City.
Among the COCs that have been canvassed in the last few days came from Makati City, Mandaluyong City, Las Piñas City, Muntinlupa City, Quezon City, Sorsogon, Ilocos Norte, Marinduque, Lapu-lapu City, Camiguin, Iligan City, Agusan del Norte, Singapore, Greece, Bahrain, Zambales, Southern Leyte, San Juan City, Iloilo City, Qatar, Ifugao, Brunei Darussalam, Benguet, Occidental Mindoro, Dinagat Island, Pasay City, Mountain Province, Baguio City, Repulic of Korea, Biliran, Capiz, Manila, Negros Oriental and Nueva Viscaya.
Other COCs came from Antique, Catanduanes, Batanes, Cebu City, Spain, Sultan Kudarat, Abra, Kalinga, Ilocos Sur, Caloocan, Romblon, New Zealand, Italy, South Cotabato, Davao del Norte, Masbate, Nueva Ecija, Zamboanga Sibugay, Marikina City, Laguna, Vatican, New Delhi, Myanmar, Yangoon;Prague, Hague, Berlin, Indonesia, Hanoi, Cairo, Brasilia, Dhaka, Malabon, Malaysia, Davao City, Aklan, Port Morsby, Islamabad, Phnom Penh, Pasig, The Sultanate of Oman, China, Taiwan, Taguig Pateros, Lanao del Norte, Australia, Dili, CLAV (Committee on Local Absentee Voting), Parañaque, Surigao del Sur, Quirino, Lebanon, Tel Aviv, Camarines Sur, Sarangani, and La Union, among others.
Meanwhile, former senator Estrada has accepted his defeat in the May 13 senatorial race.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page Thursday, Estrada thanked his supporters as he conceded being “unfortunate” in the recently concluded polls.
“Sa lahat po ng mga bumoto, nagdasal, at sumuporta po sa akin, taos puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat. Bagamat hindi po tayo pinalad na makapasok sa Magic 12, ayon sa unofficial count ng Comelec (Commission on Elections) at mga VCM’s, tatanawin ko pa rin ng malaking utang na loob sa inyo ang inyong ipinakitang suporta sa akin lalong-lalo na ang masang Pilipino na kahit kailan hindi po ako iniwanan,” Ejercito wrote. (To all of those who voted, prayed and supported me, I sincerely thank you. While it was unfortunate that I was not able to make it in the Magic 12, according to the unofficial count of the Comelec and the VCMs, I am still grateful for the support you have shown especially to the Filipinos who never left me.)
Partial and official results of the May 13 midterm elections showed Estrada ranking 15th.
Estrada congratulated his fellow candidates in the winning circle of the senatorial race and appealed that they maintain the Senate’s independence. (With reports from Minka S. Tiangco, Hannah L. Torregoza, and Vanne P. Terrazola)