Filipinos headed to the polls on Monday in a vote that is expected to strengthen President Rodrigo Duterte's grip on power, opening the way for him to deliver on pledges to restore the death penalty and rewrite the constitution.
The results show Filipino voters' firm approval of Mr Duterte's policies. Official Commission on Election results are expected to be declared in about a week.
Among the new Senators are presidential aide Christopher "Bong" Go, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Imee, and former police chief Ronald dela Rosa, who spearheaded the president's war on drugs. His deadly anti-drug crackdown, unorthodox leadership style, combative and sexist joke-laden outbursts, and contentious embrace of China have been the hallmarks of his presidency.
A presidential spokesman described the election results today as proof of "Duterte magic".
The flip side of Duterte's perceived endorsement strength was the weakness of the opposition ticket and its campaign, said Holmes, who heads Pulse Asia, an independent pollster that predicted the dominance of Duterte's senatorial bets. "The Senate has acted as some sort of institutional check on the worst instincts of the president, political analyst Richard Heydarian said - warning, however, that could change in the midterms".
Duterte, who has shown little tolerance for critics specially those who question his anti-drug campaign, aimed for stronger leverage in the traditionally more independent Senate to bolster his legislative agenda.
Last year, opposition senators moved to block proposed bills they feared would undermine civil liberties.
"The opposition may not even get one seat and that would be a record". Duterte has also pledged to rewrite the constitution, which would open avenues to prolonging his power beyond a legally-mandated single term that ends in 2022.
"While we expect dissent to continue, we hope that that same be demonstrated with fairness and within the bounds of the law, as well as with deference to the leaders duly chosen by the electorate", Panelo said.
But for Duterte the key is taking control of an independent-minded Senate while keeping the House of Representatives in the hands of his allies.
Monday's ballot for more than 18,000 posts, among them hundreds of mayors, governors, and members of congress, was billed as a referendum on the firebrand president, with special focus on his bid to consolidate power in the all-important upper house, Reuters said. The elections were relatively untroubled, despite pockets of violence in southern Mindanao region, which is under martial law as government forces hunt down Islamic State group-linked militants and communist insurgents.