Despite being labeled as the No. 1 absentee at the House of Representatives, Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao's popularity seems to be enduring as the votes continue to pile up for the retired boxing icon.
In fact, Pacquiao has climbed to the seventh spot today, as he raked in millions of votes in the senatorial race.
With 15,494,708 votes, he silently overtook Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan who also both had over 15 million votes each.
Hontiveros and Pangilinan were previously in the seventh and eighth places, respectively.
These figures are based on GMA News' election results that reflect 95.39 percent of election returns as of 10:45 a.m.
Meanwhile, the rankings for the other senatorial candidates remain unchanged with Frank Drilon, Joel Villanueva, Tito Sotto, Ping Lacson, Dick Gordon and Migz Zubiri taking the top six spots in the race, Interaksyon reported.
Win Gatchalian, Ralph Recto and Leila de Lima likewise remained at the 10th to 12th spots after Pangilinan's drop to ninth place.
With this development and his inevitable rise to the Senate, Pacquiao's dream of making it to the Malacañan as the country's next president is one step closer to fruition.
But for now, his critics maintain that the Pambansang Kamao, a high school dropout who's seemingly focused on sports instead of his duties as a legislator as reflected in his dismal attendance, is not fit to be a senator.
Pacquiao has insisted that the challenges he went through as a street kid with nothing to lose on his way to becoming an internationally famous athlete makes him qualified for the job, the Inquirer reported.
His presumptive win in the Senate comes at a time when the nation is clamoring for change, with the voting public apparently shunning traditional politicians and selecting Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the next president despite his controversial antics.