5 former senators mount successful comeback in 2022

Former senators Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada, and JV Ejercito are poised to return to the Senate

MANILA, Philippines – After short stints away from the Senate, 5 former senators pulled off a successful comeback in the May 2022 elections, securing themselves seats in the upper chamber for the next 6 years.

Former senators Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada, and JV Ejercito saw themselves poised to become senators-elect once more, after partial and unofficial results from the Commission ons (Comelec) Election transparency server saw the 5 politicians enter comfortably the so-called Magic 12.

With 97.39% of precincts having transmitted results, the longtime politicians had the following rankings and number of votes as of Tuesday, May 10, 12:41 pm:

  • Legarda – 23,802, 939 votes, 2nd
  • Escudero – 19,907,505 votes, 5th
  • Cayetano – 18,944, 366 votes, 7th
  • Ejercito – 15,581,358 votes, 10th
  • Estrada – 14,861,816 votes, 12th

Legarda, who previously served as senator for 3 terms, returns to the Senate after serving as representative speaker and representative of the lone district of Antique in the House of Representatives. In 2022, she ran with the Marcos-Duterte Uniteam slate and the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Pulse Asia’s pre-election surveys saw her ranking either in second or third of the 12 slots available for senatorial candidates. In January 2022, Legarda had a voter preference of 58%, which held steady in February (58.9%), March (58.3%), and April (49.4%).

Following Legarda was Escudero, who ranked fifth among senatorial candidates. Escudero served as Sorsogon governor from 2019-2022, during his break from the Senate.

Escudero was a joint candidate of three slates: Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Senators Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto, and of Senator Manny Pacquiao and congressman Lito Atienza. Vice presidential candidate and presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte likewise formally endorsed Escudero in February.

The longtime politician previously said he’d use his position as senator to address “economic and public health problems” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also voiced plans to champion laws that would strengthen the powers of local government units, particularly during the health crisis.

Meanwhile, Cayetano returns to the Senate after holding the post of Taguig-Pateros Representative and House Speaker, until he was unseated by his rival Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, with the help of no less than presidential daughter Sara.

This will be Cayetano’s third term as senator. He consistently ranked in the top five in Pulse Asia’s pre-election surveys, but was poised to land in the 7th spot.

After both failing to win Senate seats in 2019, half-brothers Ejercito and Estrada managed to make their way back to Congress in the May polls. Like other returning senators, the two politicians were consistently in the Magic 12 in pre-election surveys, though they had ranked in the lower 8th to 12th spots.

In the 2019 race, both brothers were part of the slate of Sara Duterte’s regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago. JV Ejercito managed to be included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s senatorial slate, but ultimately lost. The President had also initially endorsed Jinggoy Estrada at an event, but later said he only did so as it would’ve been awkward not to do so when they were at the same event.

Estrada continues to face a P183-million plunder case over the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, but he has been out on bail since September 2017, when the Sandiganbayan 5th Division granted his petition for bail in a close 3-2 vote.

Ejercito and Estrada’s victory in 2022 sees not only their return to the halls of the Senate, but Philippine politics, after 2019 delivered a crushing defeat to the House of Estrada. – Rappler.com

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