TWELVE familiar faces are officially joining the 24-member Philippine Senate, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Wednesday.

Action star Robinhood Ferdinand “Robin” C. Padilla topped the race with 26.6 million votes, according to official results.

Close behind was Antique Rep. Lorna Regina “Loren” B. Legarda with 24.3 million votes, followed by TV journalist Rafael “Raffy” T. Tulfo with 23.4 million votes.

In fourth place was reelection Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian with 20.6 million votes, followed by Sorsogon Governor Francis Joseph “Chiz” G. Escudero with 20.3 million.

Former Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar was No. 6 with 19.5 million, followed by Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter S. Cayetano (19.3 million), reelection Senators Juan Miguel F. Zubiri (18.7 million) and Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva (18.5 million), former Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito (15.8 million), Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel (15.4 million) and former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada (15.1 million).

Nine of the top 12 senatorial bets are connected to Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. who is headed for a landslide presidential victory. Mr. Cayetano and Mr. Tulfo are independent candidates, while Ms. Hontiveros is affiliated with the political opposition.

Mr. Zubiri told reporters a Senate bloc with no more than 13 members was pushing him to run for Senate president.

He promised to prioritize the economy, help the poor, revive tourism and support micro, small and medium enterprises during his Senate stint.

Mr. Zubiri was elected senator in 2007 at No. 12, but he resigned four years later after an unsuccessful election protest from No. 13 Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III. In a privilege speech on Aug. 3, 2011, he said his family was hurt by the unfounded accusations of cheating against him.

The voter turnout for the 2022 elections was 83% or about 56 million of the 67 million voters who registered.

The remaining votes from Lanao del Sur province, the only area where votes were yet to be counted, would not affect the final tally, according to a livestreamed video of the National Board of Canvassers on Monday.

The election body also postponed the proclamation of some party-list winners, initially set for Thursday, as it found that votes from some villages in the Bangsamoro region could affect the outcome.

Last week, a failure of elections was declared in the province due to violence and irregularities on election day. Preparations were under way for special elections on May 24.

Sixty-four candidates ran for senator on May 9. The present Congress will adjourn on June 3. — ANOT and JVDO