Malacañang congratulated the 12 newly-proclaimed senators who will form half of the Senate in the upcoming 19th Congress, saying it sees a “sense of hope and optimism” with the new set of lawmakers.
Four re-electionists, five returning senators, and three candidates who ran for the first time received the highest number of votes in the recently-concluded election. They will join the 12 incumbent lawmakers elected in 2019.
“We congratulate the 12 newly-proclaimed senators of the Republic,” said presidential spokesperson Secretary Martin Andanar.
“Our people have elected old and new faces in the Senate, and there is a sense of hope and optimism with the new set of lawmakers,” he added.
The Palace official also urged the public to “work closely together” to speed up economic recovery amid the pandemic after what it described as a “divisive” election campaign.
“It is now time to move forward,” Andanar said. “Let us work closely together and pray for our nation’s success.”
The 12 candidates who received the highest number of votes are: Actor Robin Padilla, House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, broadcaster Raffy Tulfo, reelectionist Sherwin Gatchalian, Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero, former Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, and ex-House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Joining them are reelectionists Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joel Villanueva, as well as former lawmaker JV Ejercito, incumbent Senator Risa Hontiveros, and ex-senator Jinggoy Estrada.
They will serve for six years.
Hontiveros is the lone opposition bet who secured a seat in the Senate, which was expected to be dominated by allies of presumptive President Bongbong Marcos Jr. and presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio.
In her speech during the proclamation rites, Hontiveros vowed to work with other lawmakers to craft measures that would benefit the public and push for her advocacies, particularly health and employment.
“Looking back at everything we went through, I cannot help but think that it is almost a miracle that I am standing before you today,” Hontiveros said.
“But the truth is, I am able to mark this new journey because of the love and hardwork of everyone around me: my family, my staff and campaign team, my party Akbayan, my friends, allies, and, of course, all Filipinos dreaming of a better life,” she added.