Allies of President Rodrigo Duterte are set to dominate the Philippine senate after a midterm election marred by technical glitches including a stalled vote count.
Nine of Mr Duterte's favoured politicians are among leading senatorial candidates, based on ABS-CBN data at 8.12am local time with 93.6 per cent of the votes reporting. The likely winners of the 12 Senate seats include his former aide Bong Go and Ronald dela Rosa, the police chief who oversaw Mr Duterte's war on drugs.
Senator Bam Aquino, the only opposition candidate who had been within striking distance of a seat based on early results, dropped to 14th place.
Mr Duterte triumphed despite global criticism for an anti-drug campaign that has killed thousands and for his government's increasing pursuit of its critics, including independent journalist Maria Ressa. He said on Monday (May 13) that his candidates' victory would serve as an affirmation of his three-year-old administration.
CHECKS AND BALANCES
A victory for his senate allies could speed up policy implementation, including tax reform and Mr Duterte's plan to move the country to a federal system of government. But it could also have negative implications for Philippine democracy by removing one of the last checks on the 74-year-old's power.
More than 18,000 government positions, including half of the 24-seat Senate and about 300 House of Representatives posts were elected in the midterm vote.
Incumbent senators have investigated Mr Duterte's drug war, and also blocked controversial measures including his federalism push and his plan to reinstate death penalty.
Dancers at a campaign event in Manila for the Philippines' midterm elections. On Monday, more than 60 million Filipinos will head to the polls to elect 12 senators, 297 district representatives and some 18,000 provincial, city and town officials.
"Since Duterte has seized control of the lower house through pork-barrel politics, stacked the high court with loyalists and launched assaults on media outlets, the Senate is the last real roadblock to him further eroding democracy in the Philippines," said Dr Lee Morgenbesser, a Southeast Asia expert at Griffith University in Australia.
For voter Ruth Santos, who works at an international disaster relief organisation, a strong opposition in the Senate could provide necessary checks and balances.
"Even those with the best intentions, if given too much power will start to think they're infallible," said Ms Santos, 45. "An opposing voice is necessary to keep us from going to the deep end."
The vote was marred by glitches. Hundreds of voting machines malfunctioned on election day, delaying the vote in many areas. And a quick count stalled for hours after providing an initial update at 6.15pm Monday once 0.4 per cent of votes had been tallied.
The next update did not come until 1.19am on Tuesday (May 14), reporting almost 91 per cent of the counted votes. Data released by the poll body to some media agencies then flipped back to a count below 50 per cent on Tuesday morning.
A programme glitch stalled the count but raw data was not compromised, said Mr James Jimenez, a spokesman for the country's Commission on Elections. The winners of the 12 senatorial seats will be proclaimed within the week, Mr Jimenez said.
Mr Duterte said those who agreed with his policies likely voted for his candidates.
"If I'm repudiated by the loss of my candidates, that could indicate that the majority doesn't want me," he told reporters in Davao City after voting on Monday.
Opinion polls have predicted that Mr Duterte's allies will dominate the race over a divided opposition. He has not lost an election in his three-decade political career and is enjoying record high popularity despite the recent criticisms.
The opposition has remained "disorganised" and "fragmented" since the 2016 presidential elections, said Dr Bridget Welsh, an associate professor at John Cabot University in Italy. The opposition Liberal Party and leftist groups fielded different Senate bets and campaigned separately.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.