* STATEMENT RELEASED SUNDAY
MANILA - The looming defeat of opposition candidates in the senatorial race is a "loss" for the Filipinos, detained Sen. Leila de Lima said Sunday, adding that the fight was not yet over.
Nine of 12 available seats in the Senate looked set to go to administration candidates and the rest to "independents," with 98.25 percent of the votes counted as of Monday. Not a single candidate of opposition slate Otso Diretso cracked the top 12 as seen in the partial, unofficial tally.
The 8 candidates of Otso Diretso "offered themselves up to serve the interests of the Filipino people - above all and with no reservations," said De Lima.
"They may have won no seats, but that is not their loss. It is our loss," she said in a statement.
"We had a chance to elect brave, competent, independent-minded and compassionate people, who understood and were committed to the true meaning of 'public service', but we, as a nation, turned their offer down."
The opposition lawmaker said while the loss was "painful", people should not give up.
"This fight is perhaps the most important fight of our entire history as a nation. We are fighting for our future, our children's future. We are fighting for our soul as a nation," De Lima said.
"There will be no playing the blame game. There will, nevertheless, be a lot of reflection, a heightened resolve and, above all, the opening up of avenues of communications," she added.
Winning senators and party-lists may be proclaimed on Tuesday, the Commission on Elections said.