File photos by Angie de Silva/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senators Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV and Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito failed to win their reelection bids in the 2019 midterm polls.
With the official canvassing completed early Wednesday, May 22, Ejercito and Aquino stood just outside the winning circle, ranking 13th and 14th, respectively.
Ejercito finished with 14,313,727 votes, while Aquino got 14,144,923.
Seven incumbents ran for reelection on May 13. Five of them won: Senators Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, and Nancy Binay.
Binay, who earlier claimed victory over Ejercito, did win the coveted 12th spot. (READ: The rise of Cynthia Villar: How politics, money, networks made her No. 1)
Ejercito and Aquino's losses were somehow predicted by their fluctuating rankings in preelection surveys. In the May 3 to 6 Pulse Asia Research survey, Ejercito and Aquino both ranked 9th to 15th.
Ejercito is a member of the Senate majority bloc and chairs the Senate committee on health. He pushed for the passage of the Universal Health Care Act, which he used in his campaign.
Other members of the Estrada-Ejercito clan suffered major losses in the 2019 elections, losing in key races in Manila and San Juan – their hometown, which they had served for 5 decades. (READ: House of Estrada falls in May 2019 polls)
Ejercito thanked on Twitter those who voted for him: "Kunin ko na ang pagkakataon magpasalamat sa Sambayanang Pilipino sa pagkakataon na ako ay nakapaglingkod bilang Senador ng ating bansa.
Isang karangalan na kayo ay paglingkuran. Will be walking away from the Senate with my integrity intact. Salamat po sa pagmamahal!"
(I'm taking this opportunity to thank the Filipino peoiple for givng me the chance to serve as a Senator of the country. It was an honor to serve you. Will be walking away from the Senate with my integrity intact. Thank you for the love.)
Kunin ko na ang pagkakataon magpasalamat sa Sambayanang Pilipino sa pagkakataon na ako ay nakapaglingkod bilang Senador ng ating bansa. Isang karangalan na kayo ay paglingkuran. Will be walking away from the Senate with my integrity intact. Salamat po sa pagmamahal! — JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) May 21, 2019
Aquino, a Liberal Party member, is part of the minority bloc in the Senate, serving as deputy minority leader.
He pushed for the passage of the law on free tuition in state colleges and universities, as well as the law providing free Wi-Fi in public places.
Out of all the reelectionist senators, Aquino was the only one who voted against President Rodrigo Duterte's Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.
Aquino earlier said that black propaganda and fake news negatively affected his campaign.
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com