Who made it to the Magic 12 in the senatorial race?      

By Jeffrey Damicog and Martin Sadongdong 

The results are in and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to proclaim the 12 winning senatorial candidates in this year’s May 13 midterm polls following a week-long canvassing.


Get to know the incoming four new senators, and returning veterans who were reelected:

Cynthia Villar is a reelectionist senator who won her second term under the Duterte-led coalition Hugpong ng Pagbabago. The wife of former Sen. Manny Villar first got entered politics in 2001 when she became Las Pinas representative. She is currently ranked as the richest senator in the country.

Following Villar in second place is Grace Poe, one of the four reelectionist senators who won in the 2019 midterm polls. She is the only independent candidate among the top 12 senatorial candidates. She is the adopted daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. and movie queen Susan Roces and remained popular among the voters to secure the second spot after Villar. Poe also ran in the 2016 presidential elections but lost.

This is the first time Christopher “Bong” Go has been elected to a government position. The senatorial bet of the PDP-Laban and the administration’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago coalition had served as special assistant to President Rodrigo Duterte from June 2016 up to October 2018 when he filed his certificate of candidacy. The Davao City native also served as Duterte’s executive assistant and personal aide even when the latter was still mayor.

Pia Cayetano is a returning senator who had been elected to the Senate in 2004 and 2010. In 2004, she was considered the youngest senator elected to the post at the age of 38. In 2016, she was elected as representative of the Second District of Taguig City and even became House Deputy Speaker. Her brothers, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter and Lino, were recently proclaimed as Taguig City First District representative and mayor, respectively.

Like Go, this is the first time Roanald “Bato” dela Rosa ran for an elective post. Prior to this, the party-mate of Go served as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and led President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. Dela Rosa also served as director general of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and chief of the Davao City police.

Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara is a relectionist senator under the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and the administration’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago. The son of the late former Senator Edgardo Angara was first elected as senator in 2013. Prior to this, he was representative of Aurora province in 2004.

With little to no funds for his campaign, actor-turned-lawmaker Manuel "Lito" Lapid banked on his stint as a "protector of the oppressed" in a popular television series to charm the public and, eventually, gain a Senate comeback . Lapid won in the 2004 and 2010 senatorial elections.

Maria Josefa "Imee" Marcos, the daughter of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and incumbent Ilocos Norte second district representative Imelda Marcos, is among the four neophyte senators-elect in the 18th Congress. She still managed to get popular support which secured her the  eight spot in the so-called “Magic 12” despite the negative publicity over her questionable educational attainments, the spectre of human rights violations committed during the martial law era under her father’s rule, and the ill-gotten wealth amassed by her family.

From losing the 12th spot to Senator Leila de Lima in the 2016 elections, Francis Tolentino, Duterte’s former adviser for political affairs, managed to secure a seat in the Senate this time. He previously served as chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from 2010 to 2015. Thanks to the President's support, the neophyte senator-elect rose to popularity despite his lackluster performance in pre-election surveys.

Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. is no stranger to lawmaking since he served as senator from 2004 to 2016. His political career took a major blow in 2014 when he was indicted for plunder and multiple counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan over his alleged involvement in the multi-billion pork barrel scam. Detained in 2014 for the charges, Revilla was only freed when the Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder in December 2018.

Reelectionist Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III won decisively in this year's midterm polls after securing the 11th spot. He was Senate President from July 2016 to May 2018, much like his father, former SP Aquilino Pimentel Jr. He is the current president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP–Laban).

Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay won her second consecutive term under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), the party of her father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay. Binay raked up enough votes to secure the 12th spot and beat 13th-ranked Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito.