Actor Robin Padilla gained traction on local Twitter after he emerged as the top senatorial candidate in the 2022 national elections based on partial and unofficial count.
The pardoned ex-convict garnered more than 26 million votes as of 2:10 p.m., based on the Comelec‘s transparency server.
Padilla also reportedly earned the most number of votes among the senatorial bets from overseas absentee voters.
He is part of the ruling PDP-Laban party.
In March, the Manila Times reported that vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio said that the actor is a “guest candidate” of the “UniTeam.”
A month before that, her running mate Ferdinand Marcos Jr said that Padilla is not a UniTeam guest candidate.
Padilla’s votes, based on the partial and unofficial count as of 12:11 p.m., largely came from Central Luzon with over three million votes and Central Visayas with more than two million votes.
He has also garnered over one million votes from the Ilocos Region, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The actor’s name landed on Twitter Philippines’ top trending list following the initial release of the unofficial counts, where some Filipinos aired their concerns over his huge turnout of votes despite not having any experience in policy-making.
“Pinoy Big Brother” host Richard Juan quoted a Filipino who claimed to vote for Padilla because of the latter’s looks.
“‘Syempre dun tayo sa gwapo’ — on why she’s voting for Robin Padilla and not Chel Diokno. Seryoso?! This is exactly how we’re NOT supposed to vote!” he tweeted with vomiting emojis.
It has earned almost 30,000 likes as of this writing.
Juan referred to lawyer Chel Diokno, a senatorial bet under the slate of presidential bet Leni Robredo and her running mate, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan.
He is a human rights advocate who became a counsel to two of the petitions lodged in the Supreme Court against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
“Robin Padilla literally said lawyers shouldn’t be the only ones to write laws, but when asked; ‘How would you sign a Law?’ He said; ‘I’ll hire Lawyers.’ And you’re going to tell me siya iboboto mo?” another Twitter user recalled.
The post has earned over 55,000 likes so far.
Last February, Padilla was asked if he has knowledge of making laws, given that he was running to vie a seat in the Upper Chamber.
“Marami po tayong pwedeng kuning lawyer. Tapos na po tayo sa panahon na ang lawyer ang gumagawa ng batas kaya di niyo maintindihan,” he told ANC’s “Headstart.”
“Panahon na po na isang Robin Padilla ang gumawa ng batas sa guidance ng magagaling na lawyer para maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan kung ano ang batas,” the actor added.
A senator of the republic is expected to create the nation’s bills and resolutions, as well as debate measures in respective committees and during plenary sessions, among others.
He also has the duty to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation and propose or concur with amendments in the appropriation of funds by the House of Representatives.
During the campaign period, Padilla pushed for anti-criminality measures, a crackdown on illegal drugs, the establishment of federalism and legislating community policing.
In 1994, the actor was convicted of possession of illegal firearms and was imprisoned.
He was granted a conditional pardon by former president Fidel Ramos and an absolute pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.
Padilla’s platforms as a senatorial bet focus on the “poor, Muslims and Christians, voters and micro and small entrepreneurs,” based on his website.
His wife, Mariel Padilla, thanked Filipinos for voting for him amid the release of the partial and unofficial results.
“We are beyond grateful!!! Pilipinas, maraming maraming salamat,” she wrote on Instagram.