MANILA -- Opposition senatorial candidate Mar Roxas was headed towards a third consecutive loss in a national election, with nearly 93 percent of votes counted on Tuesday.
Roxas, who turned 62 on Monday, saw his survey ranking drop in the weeks leading to the midterm vote. He lost to President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and to Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2010.
Roxas ranked 16th with 9,427,966 votes as of 5:20 a.m., with 92.89 percent of votes tallied by the Commission on Elections transparency server.
Based on the last pre-election survey of Pulse Asia conducted May 3 to 6, Roxas was projected to rank 16th to 17th. Only Sen. Bam Aquino had a statistical chance of winning among the opposition Otso Diretso candidates.
Roxas was roughly 4 million votes behind Aquino, Senators JV Ejercito and Nancy Binay and former Sen. Bong Revilla, who were slugging it out for the last slots in the winners' circle of 12, based on the partial and unofficial count.
According to a study by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) on political ads, Roxas was the top spender on political advertisements from the start of the campaign period on February 12 until April 30. He was estimated to have spent at least P231 million (assuming discounted ad spending) during this period.
FAKE NEWS, ABSENCE
Fake news and trolls that targeted Roxas for the government's slow response to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 and the death of 44 police commandos in a 2015 misencounter weighed on his candidacy, his campaign manager, Edgar Erice, told ABS-CBN News before Monday's vote.
At the time of the two tragedies, Roxas was interior secretary to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, his 2010 running mate. Roxas dropped his presidential bid in 2010 to give way to Aquino.
"Naglalabas kami ng mga sagot pero massive 'yung machinery nung mga trolls, mga bashers e so minamanage na lang as much as we can," Erice said.
(We answered the allegations but the trolls and bashers machinery is massive so we managed it as much as we can.)
In April, Roxas attributed his survey decline to his 20-day absence on the campaign trail to take care of his twin children, who were born via surrogacy in the US.
Wharton-educated Roxas topped the 2004 senatorial elections using the moniker "Mr. Palengke." He was trade secretary to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Erice said in the ABS-CBN interview: "At this point in time, hindi naman political career ang nasa isip ni Mar."
"Ano pa ba ang hahanapin sa buhay ni Mar? Pamilya, maayos na negosyo, maayos health niya," he said.
(What else can Mar be looking for? Family. He has a good business, good health.)
"Personally sa tingin ko wala na siyang kailangan," he said.
(Personally, I don't think he needs anything more.)