MANILA – The ruling party PDP-Laban on Thursday expressed dismay that Maguindanao Rep. Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu failed to make the cut in the senatorial elections.
Based on the Commission on Elections’ transparency server, Mangudadatu placed 19th in a Senate race that requires a candidate to place in the top 12 to earn a place in the 24-member upper chamber of Congress.
With 97.46 percent of election returns transmitted, Mangudadatu got 7,318,144 votes.
“Sayang hindi nanalo ang isa, si Dong, na magre-represent sana sa atin sa Muslim area, sa ating mga brothers na Muslim pero, anyway, nagpapasalamat pa rin kami because 4 out of 5, nanalo, pinagkatiwalaan ng taumbayan ang tao namin,” said Sen. Manny Pacquiao, campaign manager of PDP-Laban.
Mangudadatu’s partymates, reelectionist Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, former presidential assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and former police chief Ronald dela Rosa are all headed for the Senate after landing in the top 12.
Asked what went wrong for Mangudadatu, Pacquiao said unlike the other four PDP-Laban candidates, Mangudadatu was less prominent.
Pacquiao also hinted that the Catholic-Muslim divide somehow played a factor in Mangudadatu’s loss.
“Dapat alisin natin 'yung ganong pag-iisip na Muslim kasi siya, Christian kami,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte personally tapped Mangudadatu to run in the Senate race, always speaking positively of the Mindanaoan lawmaker in campaign sorties.