By Gillian M. Cortez, Reporter

CREDIT-RATING agency Fitch, in a statement on Thursday, said it sees “policy continuity” in the remainder of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s term, following the midterm elections.

“Early results of the mid-term elections suggest President Duterte and his allies would secure a majority in the Senate,” Fitch Ratings Associate Director Sagarika Chandra said in a statement. “This outcome, if confirmed, could bode well for policy continuity during the President’s remaining term.”

She added:”The key economic factors that we would be watching in the period ahead remain — the Philippines’ growth outlook, progress on tax reforms and fiscal policies. Fitch Ratings last affirmed the Philippines’ Issuer Default Rating in December at BBB/Stable.”

For his part, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said he doubts the proposed shift to a federal system — a priority in Mr. Duterte’s legislative agenda — will have a smooth sailing in the 18th Congress, even with the expected super-majority in the Senate.

“I cannot agree na sabihin na mas madali na ang federalism sa Senado dahil sa magiging composition ng bagong Senate,” Mr. Sotto said in a briefing, Thursday. (I can’t agree that federalism will be easier to push in the Senate just because of its new composition).

The latest count as of Wednesday night, according to the Commission on Elections convening as the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC) shows reelectionist Senator Cynthia A. Villar still leading the top 12 by 10,416,332 votes, followed by fellow reelectionist Grace Poe-Llamanzares (9,151,162), Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go (8,549,086), Pilar Juliana “Pia” S. Cayetano (8,417,229), Ronald “Bato” M. Dela Rosa (8,025,527), and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara (7,699,782).

Rounding up the top 12 are Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos (7,157,978), Manuel “Lito” Lapid (6,607,637), Francis N. Tolentino (6,552,739), Aquilino Martin “Koko” D. Pimentel III (6,220,434), Joseph Victor “JV” G. Ejercito (6,079,028), and Maria Lourdes “Nancy” S. Binay (5,949,885).

For its part, election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said the Comelec has granted their request for audit logs to check the cause of the glitch in the transmission of election results from the transparency server on May 13.

“Our IT (information technology) team will be going to work over the weekend so that we can analyze the logs,” PPCRV Chairperson Myla C. Villanueva told reporters.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, said it has confiscated a total amount of P12,208,958, so far, from 225 vote-buying incidents monitored by police.

PNP Spokesperson Col. Bernard M. Banac said Region XIII (Caraga) had the highest amount of money confiscated, at P7,976,100; followed by Region X (Northern Mindanao) at P1,125,718; Region I (Ilocos Region) at P561,000; and the National Capital Region at P541,100. — with Charmaine A. Tadalan, Vann Marlo M. Villegas, and Vince Angelo C. Ferreras