By Macon Araneta i FilAm Star Correspondent
The Senate under the 18th Congress will usher in four first-time senators, including the three who are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, three returning senators and five others who were given a fresh mandate for a second term of office after the May 13 mid-term polls.
The three winning senators who are known to be close to the President are his former aide Christopher “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief and Bureau of Corrections Director Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and former presidential adviser and MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino.
While the President endorsed the senatorial run of the other candidates backed by the ruling majority party PDP-Laban and Hukpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), he however, strongly campaigned for Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino.
It will be the first time for outgoing Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos to sit in the Senate.
The recent mid-term elections also saw the successful comeback in the Senate of outgoing Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla.
Revilla was not able to finish his second term as senator when he was jailed over the multi-billion pork barrel scam.
After being incarcerated for four years and six months, he regained his freedom when the Sandiganbayan cleared him of plunder charges.
Five of the seven re-electionist senators also emerged victorious. They are Senators Cynthia Villar who topped the elections, garnering over 25 million votes.
The other successful re-electionists are Grace Poe who was ranked number two; Sonny Angara, number six; Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, number 10 and Nancy Binay, number 12.
The two re-electionists who failed to make it to the top 12 are Senators JV Ejercito and Bam Aquino who were thirteenth and fourteenth respectively.
Ejercito’s candidacy was backed by the President’s PDP-Laban and HNP. On the other hand, Aquino ran under the opposition’s Otso Diretso senatorial slate.
Nobody among the Otso Diretso won a senate seat. This drove its campaign manager, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, to resign from his position as Liberal Party president.
Terms for Senators Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV will expire on June 30.
Legarda and Escudero won as congressman of Antique and Sorsogon, respectively.
Trillanes, is the fiercest critic of the President in the Senate.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Go will serve as their bridge to the President. He said with Go in the Senate , they would know legislative measures that the President will possibly like and those that he will veto.
Grace Poe, who ran as an independent expressed her readiness to lead the Senate Blue Ribbon committee if it will be given to her by its current chairperson, Richard Gordon.
Marcos and Sen. Bong Revilla, who were strongly criticized during the election campaign period, appealed to their critics to stop the bashings.
Marcos, daughter of the late strongman and former President Ferdinand Marcos and First Lady Imelda Marcos, was assailed for alleged fake school records and the Marcos ill-gotten wealth.
Revilla drew flak for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel anomaly masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles.
Before her proclamation, Marcos told her bashers and haters that it’s time to move on. She guaranteed to just focus on her job.
Revilla, who has also been the subject of several tirades due to his incarceration at the PNP Custodian Center, also vowed to work hard in the Senate. He has repeatedly professed his innocence and insisted he was just a victim of political persecution.
Sen. Nancy Binay said she felt like giving birth again in her re-election journey during the mid-term polls.
“Parang fourth time to give birth, kasi nga ‘yung waiting, alam mo namang may lalabas na maganda pero hindi mo alam kung kailan siya lalabas,” said Binay.
Binay is on the last spot in the so-called Magic 12 senators after obtaining 14,504,936 votes.
For his part, Aquino said he already entrusted his fate in the 2019 elections to God. In six years as senator, Aquino accounted for 43 laws, including the landmark Free College Law and the Go Negosyo Act.