MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III is hoping reelectionist Sen. JV Ejercito will make it to the winner's circle in the midterm polls, even as he feared for another colleague, Sen. Nancy Binay, who took the last spot in the top 12, with 97 percent of votes counted as of Thursday.
Binay collected 14,358,899 votes, landing her at 12th place, according to a partial, unofficial tally from the Commission on Elections past 10 a.m. Behind her at the 13th spot is Ejercito with 14,127,292 votes.
"I hope that JV Ejercito will make it. Mayroon pang mga pinag-uusapan, may mga binibilang pa [na boto], may mga parating pa," Sotto told reporters.
(There are still votes that are being counted and are being transmitted.)
"Pero when you hope for that, nakakatakot kasi iyung pang-number 12 si Nancy. Gusto mo rin siyempreng manalo iyun. Kung pwede nga, manalo silang lahat e," he added.
(But when you hope for that, it's scary because Nancy is at 12th place. Of course, you also want her to win. If it's only possible, I want all of them to win.)
There is only a gap of around 100,000 votes between Binay and Ejercito, noted Sotto, who said he was both happy and nervous about the election results.
"Nag-aagaw iyung tuwa at kaba na finally malaman natin kung ano talaga ang desisyon ng majority ng ating mga kababayan," he said.
(I'm torn between being happy and nervous to finally learn the decision of the majority of our compatriots.)
Ejercito, who ran alongside his half-brother, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, enjoys the support of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) where Sotto is senior council leader.
The reelectionist is also backed by regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. Binay meanwhile belongs to the United Nationalist Alliance.
Nine of 12 available seats in the Senate looked set to go to administration candidates and the rest to "independents," unofficial tallies showed, as the opposition that campaigned against his controversial policies failed to make the cut.