The Commission on Elections (Comelec), led by Chairman Andres Bautista, has formally proclaimed the 12 new senators for the 17th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines.
Held at the plenary hall of the PICC today, May 19, the event was marked by good vibes among the winning senatorial candidates.
Five senators are under Liberal Party; namely Franklin Drilon, Joel Villanueva, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, and Leila De Lima.
Independent candidates who landed seats in the senate are Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Richard “Dick” Gordon, and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.
Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Sherwin Gatchalian are both under Nationalist People’s Coalition, while Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao is from United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
They will officially start their six-year tenure on June 30, as mandated by the provision of Article 6 Section 6 of the 1986 Philippine Constitution.
MISSING IN ACTION. Although re-electionist Senator Sotto did not make it to the ceremony, the plenary hall was filled with loud cheers when his name was called for the senate proclamation.
It was Atty. Romulo Macalintal who received senator-elect Sotto’s certificate of proclamation.
Former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. also received the certificate of Senator-elect Lacson, who also did not make it to the event.
Pacquiao was accompanied by his family to his proclamation as senator.
His wife Jinkee Pacquiao was all smiles as they were photographed on stage for the official photo-ops.
On the other hand, the wives of Senators Pangilinan and Recto, Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Star For All Seasons Vilma Santos, respectively, were not able to attend the proclamation ceremony.
A PAT ON THE BACK FOR COMELEC. Meanwhile, Comelec Chairman Bautista touted the 2016 national and local elections as the “most organized and most efficient” in Philippine history.
While he admitted that it is also the “most vicious and divisive,” Bautista maintained that Comelec has delivered its mission to facilitate a credible election and enhanced voting experience for the voters.
He also boasted of the fact that the 2016 elections have the fastest transmission of votes, with 60 percent votes transmitted on the first day alone (as early as 8 P.M. on May 9).
The remaining 23 percent and 17 percent total number of votes were transmitted on the second and third day, respectively.
At one point during his speech, Bautista also touted the three legs of Pilipinas Debates 2016 as “world-class events,” considering that it has been 24 years since a presidential debate was mounted before the election.
He stressed that it paved the way for voters to be fully informed of the presidential candidates’ platforms and stand on crucial issues.