- Two women — Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe — lead the Senate race
- Three other women — Pia Cayetano, Imee Marcos and Nancy Binay — have a good shot at landing on "Magic 12"
- Only one Liberal Party (opposition) candidate, Bam Aquino, could possibly make it (he's currenty at No. 14)
- But with nearly 95% of votes counted, Aquino could be a long shot
- Liberals have led opposition to federalism, a key campaign agenda of Duterte
Manila: President Rodrigo Duterte's grip on political power in the Philippines is widely expected to get a carte blanche push.
And the Liberal Party, the main opposition group, could be in for a complete, humiliating defeat, according to partial, unofficial returns for the Senate race gathered by the Inquirer transparency server.
Even in Marawi City, decimated by war against Daesh-inspired militants in 2017 and facing disappointing delays in rehabilitation, seven out of 12 senatorial candidates backed by Duterte were leading.
In general, however, Filipino voters may have done a fine balancing act, too — by electing up to five women out of the 12 Senate seats contested.
5number of women among the Top 12 Senate seats
Voter turnout on Monday's mid-term election was at least 72 per cent — 45.6 million out of 63.6 million registered voters.
95.02 per cent transmitted
With results from up to 95.02 per cent of vote counting machines (VCM) already transmitted, the mid-term vote could open the way for Duterte to deliver on his other items on his campaign agenda.
72%Voter turnout, according to Commission on Election (as of 12.08pm Dubai time)
Some of the tougher issues the second half of the Duterte administration confronts include: restoration of the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12, and rewriting the Constitution, among others.
Whether or not a Senate dominated by Duterte's people could make it easier to push Charter change remains to be seen.
Switching the Philippine government system from unitary — in place for over 100 years — to federal is one of Duterte's key campaign promises in 2016, but the previous Senate stood in the way.
Liberals face rout
So far, none of the candidates fielded by the main opposition Liberal Party — whose leaders vigorously oppose moves towards federalism, or who claim "it's not the right time" for it — has made it to the top 12 in the Senate race.
LP's leadership said they are not conceding the fight just yet for two of its leading candidates — Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas.
The vote was generally peaceful, though there's evidence of widespread vote buying. Some people seen behind the practice had been arrested.
Vote of confidence for Duterte
The partial and unofficial result, based on a "transparency server" authorised by the Commision on Election, shows a vote of confidence Duterte.
Despite launching a deadly drug war and shaming "narco-generals" among police officers — or perhaps because of it — Duterte remains massively popular among Filipinos fed up with corruption, criminality and lack of resolve by previous leaders to fix it.
Possible changes to watch out for:
- Restoration of capital punishment for drug-related crimes
- Rewriting the Constitution to switch from unitary to federal system
- Lowering the age of criminal responsibility, from 15 to 12