9 out of 12 elected senatorial bets are Duterte allies

Pia Ranada
9 out of 12 elected senatorial bets are Duterte allies
While Malacañang attributes their victory to 'Duterte magic,' most of the winning candidates are also reelectionist senators or politicians with familiar names

MANILA, Philippines – Nine out of the 12 winners in the 2019 senatorial elections are allies of the administration, sparking fears of a rubber stamp Senate in the last half of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

The 12 winning senatorial candidates were announced early Wednesday, May 22. Of the 12, only 3 are not allied with Duterte: independent reelectionist Grace Poe, reelectionist Nancy Binay, and actor and former senator Lito Lapid.

Bong Revilla, who continues to face graft charges even after his acquittal from plunder, was not endorsed by Duterte but was endorsed by presidential daughter Sara Duterte.

Revilla, however, has vowed he would support the Duterte administration.

The 9 winning Duterte-allied candidates are:

  • Cynthia Villar – 1st place
  • Bong Go – 3rd place
  • Pia Cayetano – 4th place
  • Bato dela Rosa – 5th place
  • Sonny Angara – 6th place
  • Imee Marcos – 8th place
  • Francis Tolentino – 9th place
  • Koko Pimentel – 10th place
  • Bong Revilla – 11th place

While Malacañang attributes the domination of the President’s allies to “Duterte magic,” most of the winning pro-Duterte bets had also been familiar names to voters, having occupied national government posts before.

The raw power of Duterte’s endorsement was most apparent in the top 5 finish of Go and Dela Rosa, two electoral newbies from Davao City.

Go, Duterte’s top aide, had beaten reelectionists and veteran politicians by landing in the 3rd spot. Dela Rosa, before the Senate race, had been Duterte’s first police chief and Bureau of Corrections chief.

Tolentino’s victory, to a lesser extent, also proves Duterte’s endorsement power. He landed in the 9th spot this time – a better performance than his first senatorial bid, in 2016, when he placed 13th.

In 2016, Duterte had included Tolentino in his senatorial lineup when he was running for president.

In 2019, Duterte had campaigned most passionately for Go, Dela Rosa, and Tolentino. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.