It's Duterte magic, says Palace on Otso Diretso loss

Arianne Merez,ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2019 05:30 PM | Updated as of May 14 2019 05:59 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte shows his marked index finger after casting his vote for the midterm elections at his voting precinct at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School in Davao City on May 13, 2019. Presidential Photo

MANILA - The dominance of President Rodrigo Duterte's allies in the Senate race is due to his "magic," Malacañang said Tuesday.

This as administration-backed candidates are poised to win big in the midterm elections, occupying 9 of 12 Senate seats based on the partial, unofficial tally as of Tuesday noon.

"Undoubtedly, the Duterte magic spelled the difference," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement Tuesday.

"While the results of the elections are still unofficial, there appears to be an unstoppable trend towards a resounding victory of the administration’s favored senatorial candidates," he added.

The Duterte administration endorsed the candidacy of several politicians under its umbrella through the ruling PDP-Laban party and regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, chaired by the President's eldest daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Opposition senatorial slate Otso Diretso, meanwhile, is headed for a stunning loss with not even a single candidate breaking in to the top 12 as seen in the partial, unofficial tally.

The looming loss of opposition candidates show that Filipinos "yearn for stability and continuity of the genuine reforms that the administration started," Panelo said.

"They yearn for a constructive – not obstructionist – Senate which will help in crafting the President’s legislative agenda," he said.

Results of the midterm polls will determine whether the President could keep his hold on Congress to ensure the support of the legislature for his programs in his last 3 years in office.

Duterte on Monday said the polls could also be seen as a referendum for his administration.

The midterm elections also show that the Filipino electorate wants a Senate supportive of the President's agenda.

"The voters rejected the negative propaganda unleashed by the opposition against PRRD (Duterte) and his Administration," Panelo said.

'MIRACLE WIN'

While votes from some 95 percent of the total clustered precincts have already been counted, Otso Diretso campaign chief Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan is still hoping for a miracle win for their bets reelectionist Sen. Bam Aquino and former senator Mar Roxas.

"Let's wait for the results. Who knows, baka may milagro (maybe there's a miracle)," he said.

Malacañang, however, already thanked the Otso Diretso slate for "fighting a good battle" ahead of the final election results.

"To the Otso Diretso candidates and their supporters, we thank you for giving your best shot and fighting a good battle. As we have said, we respect dissent as it vitalizes the democracy of our nation. In the end, however, it is the will of the people that prevails," Panelo said.

"We only have one government and one nation. Together, let us support it for the betterment of the Philippines that we all love," he added.