MANILA — Allies of President Rodrigo Duterte seem to have swept the elections for the Philippine Senate, in accordance with unofficial outcomes on Tuesday, giving him a stronger grip on the one legislative chamber that had proven some extent of independence from his authoritarian rule.
With greater than 95 % of the vote counted, candidates backed by Mr. Duterte seemed prone to win all 12 of the seats within the 24-member Senate that have been up for election in Monday’s voting. If that’s confirmed within the coming days by the Fee on Elections, then a small opposition bloc within the Senate that had managed to thwart a number of the president’s agenda will change into considerably weaker.
One after the other, candidates in an opposition alliance often known as Otso Diretso, that means Straight Eight, threw within the towel on Tuesday, and a spokesman for Mr. Duterte primarily declared victory.
“The victory of the administration candidates and the shutout of the Otso Diretso candidates ship a robust message that our individuals yearn for stability and continuity of the real reforms that the administration began,” the spokesman, Salvador Panelo, mentioned in a press release. He mentioned the brand new Senate would assist in “crafting the president’s legislative agenda.”
In contrast to the Home of Representatives, which has backed Mr. Duterte’s bloody conflict on medicine, martial legislation within the south and different insurance policies which have alarmed human rights teams, the Senate has proven some extent of defiance. However the president’s strongest critic within the Senate, Antonio Trillanes, didn’t search re-election this week, and one other incumbent opposition senator, Bam Aquino, a cousin of the previous president Benigno S. Aquino III, seems to have been defeated.
That would depart simply 4 anti-Duterte senators — one in all whom, Leila de Lima, can’t vote as a result of she has been jailed since 2017 on drug-trafficking fees, which she says have been fabricated to silence her. Earlier than her arrest, Ms. de Lima led a Senate panel investigating extrajudicial killings within the drug conflict, maybe probably the most vivid instance of the opposition bloc’s defiance of the president.
If the sweep by Mr. Duterte’s allies is confirmed, he will likely be in a stronger place to push insurance policies like revising the Structure to primarily finish time period limits; making youngsters as younger as 9 topic to prosecution; and bringing again the dying penalty, which the Catholic Philippines abolished way back.
Among the many 12 Duterte allies apparently headed for the Senate are the president’s longtime aide Bong Go, in addition to Ronald dela Rosa, the police chief who spearheaded his conflict on medicine in its preliminary phases.
That bloody marketing campaign, which has killed 1000’s since Mr. Duterte took workplace in 2016, has been condemned internationally however is widespread within the Philippines, the place a latest ballot discovered that about 80 % of the general public approves of the president’s efficiency in workplace. Mr. Panelo, the presidential spokesman, credited the Senate outcomes to “the Duterte magic.”
“It was a great combat,” mentioned one opposition candidate, Gary Alejano, a former Marine captain. He added, “For the meantime, allow us to regroup, reassess and plan, as a result of our love for the nation doesn’t rely and finish in elections.”
Richard Javad Heydarian, a political analyst who teaches at De La Salle College in Manila, mentioned “the extra pessimistic evaluation is that now President Duterte possesses the supermajority that’s essential to push his authoritarian fashion of governance to its logical excessive.”
However he mentioned the president’s sway within the new Senate is perhaps much less robust than it appeared. Many of the 12 obvious victors are “tactical allies with their very own factors of view,” not through-and-through Duterte supporters, he mentioned.
Filipinos additionally voted on Monday to fill lots of of seats within the Home of Representatives, which was sure to stay within the fingers of Duterte allies, in addition to native places of work throughout the nation. In Mr. Duterte’s hometown, Davao, his three youngsters appeared to have received elections for mayor, vice mayor and consultant in Congress, in what some noticed as the beginning of a Duterte dynasty.
Mr. Panelo, the spokesman, mentioned the president was against political dynasties, although he acknowledged that many supporters needed his daughter, Sara Duterte, apparently re-elected as Davao’s mayor, to succeed him as president when his time period expires in 2022.