Comelec to proclaim 12 new Senators today

Manila, Philippines --- Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. yesterday said the commission will proclaim at 7 p.m. today, Wednesday, the winning 12 senatorial candidates, two days after the mid-term elections.

Brillantes made the announcement after the Comelec en banc, sitting as National Board of Canvassers, reconvened at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and started the canvassing of votes in the just concluded mid-term polls.

Partial, unofficial returns before noon of Tuesday showed old names leading the race for various posts in the automated elections, halfway in the presidency of President Benigno S. Aquino III, whose six-year term ends in 2016.

In the national level, majority of the candidates of the administration coalition Team PNoy continued to show dominance and were headed for victory in the senatorial race based on unofficial and partial results from the Comelec central server.

Former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares is leading the nine Team PNoy bets in the top 12 of the senatorial contest based on unofficial results posted in the as of 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Based on the unofficial and partial results as of 7 a.m., yesterday, Poe was leading the counting, followed by reelectionist senators Loren Legarda in second spot, Francis "Chiz" Escudero in third, and Alan Peter Cayetano in fourth.

United National Alliance (UNA)'s Nancy Binay was in fifth spot, followed by Team PNoy's Edgardo Angara in sixth spot, Bam Aquino in seventh, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel in eighth, Antonio Trillanes in 9th, and Cynthia Villar in 10th place.

UNA's JV Ejercito and reelectionist Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan occupied the 11th and 12th place, respectively.

Former senators Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri were trailing in 13th and 14th spots with while Team PNoy's Ramon Magsaysay Jr. was in 15th place. (For updated figures, please see Election Count Table on Page 1.)

The pre-election surveys of major survey firms consistently showed nine Team PNoy bets and three from UNA in the so-called Magic 12 with Honasan, Gordon, Zubiri and even Magsaysay fighting for 11th and 12th spots.

Meanwhile, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the official canvassing of votes for the senatorial race is held, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has deployed more than 200 of its personnel to secure the building.

Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo, PNP spokesman, said the police forces will be backed up by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in securing the perimeters and all the access leading to and from the PICC in Pasay City.

While the PNP is expecting a gradual decrease of security following what it described as a generally peaceful elections, Cerbo said they will not lower their guard just yet.

"Our experience tells us that the time from the canvassing of votes until the official proclamation is the most critical stage in the election process that sometimes lead to unwarranted confrontation between contending parties," he said. (With reports from Leslie Ann G. Aquino and Aaron B. Recuenco)