Duterte allies dominate Senate in tail end of unofficial vote count

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14) — Senatorial candidates allied with the adminisration are commanding the 12 Senate seats as the unofficial vote count reaches its tail end.

On Tuesday, 8 of the 12 candidates in the so-called Magic 12 were publicly endorsed by Duterte. He has campaigned for his former officials Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Bong Go, and Francis Tolentino; reelectionists Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, and Koko Pimentel; Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano; and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.

The only four candidates not backed by Duterte who made it to the Top 12 based on the partial and unofficial count are reelectionists Grace Poe and Nancy Binay, and actors-turned-lawmakers Lito Lapid and Ramon "Bong" Revilla.

Here are the 12 senatorial candidates with the highest number of votes, according to the available COMELEC raw data as of 2:50 p.m. with 94.94 percent of election returns counted:

JV Ejercito, another Duterte-endorsed bet, is trailing in the 13th spot with 13,857, 752 votes.

Duterte formally endorsed 11 candidates. From his political party PDP-Laban, only one bet failed to secure a safe spot in the partial count. Dong Mangudadatu landed in the 19th rank with over 7 million votes. Folk singer Freddie Aguilar — the candidate Duterte often sings praises to — is in the 30th spot out of 62 candidates.

Palace assures independent Senate

Malacañang assured the public that a Senate dominated by Duterte allies will still be independent.

"They have to support the President when the agenda of the President is for the good of the people and they will have to opoose it if they feel in their conscience that it [runs] counter to the interest of the nation," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a media briefing Tuesday.

The midterm elections, held on May 13, are seen as a referendum on the administration.

Constitutional law professor Tony La Viña said the names on the list aren't surprising.

"It follows the usual pattern. It is not an aberration," he told CNN Philippines.

He noted the "enormous" resources of the Duterte administration to campaign for its bets.