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Philippine opposition mayor wins Manila's financial district

Philippine opposition mayor wins Manila's financial district

The opposition mayor of Manila's financial district was proclaimed an election winner Thursday, while opposition senatorial candidates increased their lead with less than a quarter of the vote canvassed by a citizens' poll watchdog.
While the opposition was expected to retain its Senate majority after Monday's midterm elections, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo predicted a big victory for pro-administration candidates in the House of Representatives.
Securing enough seats in the 265-member lower chamber would scuttle any third impeachment bid against Arroyo on allegations of rigging the 2004 election.
The fractured opposition, which earlier conceded it failed to field enough House candidates, scored another victory Thursday: the incumbent mayor of Makati, the capital's financial quarter, was proclaimed winner by the Commission on Elections.
Jejomar Binay has been a thorn in the side of Arroyo's administration for readily accommodating opposition protests calling for her resignation at the height of the vote-rigging allegations, which she has denied.
Binay, thanking Arroyo for his re-election, alleged the administration was behind a recent attempt to suspend him on charges of graft, which he said only helped him win.
In the city of Manila, which has been in the hands of a pro-administration mayor, opposition candidate Alfredo Lim was leading over his closest rival, a count of 16 percent of votes showed.
Both Binay and Lim are closely linked to former presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada, Arroyo's foes.
Votes for half of the 24-member Senate, the entire House as well as 17,500 local posts are being counted by hand, and results could take weeks.
Violence marred balloting, with nearly 130 people killed in intense electoral rivalry in four months of campaigning. Foreign observers reported cheating and vote-buying in the southern Philippines.
An exit poll by independent surveyor Pulse Asia and ABS-CBN television said six opposition candidates, four Arroyo allies and two independents were likely to win Senate seats.
A quick count by the NAMFREL watchdog, which compiled tallies at 13 percent of the country's nearly 300,000 precincts Thursday, showed eight opposition candidates, two independents and two pro-Arroyo allies in the lead for the 12 available seats.
The administration said it was concerned about the accuracy of early surveys showing the opposition leading, and that if the official results turn out differently, it might trigger massive protests.
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Associated Press writers Jim Gomez, Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-19 11:42 GMT+08:00