By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE
QUEZON CITY (PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUS) – With only two weeks before the May 9 elections, Sen. Grace Poe bounced back as the leading presidential candidate in a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey, snatching the honor from Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, even as Vice President Jejomar Binay and administration candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II remained in the bottom.
The same SWS survey also indicated that Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Congresswoman Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has surged to number one, outclassing erstwhile leader Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
But a day after the SWS survey made public its survey results, the Pulse Asia announced its own findings – Mayor Duterte is the leading presidentiables with Senator Poe dropping to second.
The Pulse Asia survey was held from April 5 to 10 or days before Duterte’s bad joke on the rape-slay of Australian lay missionary Jacqueline Hamil in 1989.
The controversial statement of Duterte drew the ire of the women’s group and the netizens and the mayor has since apologized for the statement which he insisted was misinterpreted.
The latest SWS survey also showed that Senator Marcos has surged to number one in the vice presidential race while Congresswoman Robredo dropped to second and ahead of Senator Escudero.
The latest SWS mobile survey commissioned by TV5 had Senator Poe leading her closest rival, Mayor Duterte.
The Poe camp said it was happy with the latest SWS survey and thanked all supporters and campaigners even as they vowed to campaign harder to ensure the victory of Senator Poe in the May 9 elections.
In expressing satisfaction with the TV5-SWS mobile survey, the Poe team said she had clearly regained ground in the race for presidency following the separate results of Pulse Asia-ABS-CBN and first quarter SWS-BusinessWorld polls released a week earlier, which had Duterte leading the presidential race (33 percent and 27 percent, respectively).
The SWS and Pulse Asia surveys indicate that the presidential race has become a seesaw battle between Senator Poe and Mayor Duterte and the vice presidential race between Sen. Marcos and Rep. Robredo, according to experts and political analysts.
Other experts, however, claim that it is still anybody’s race for president and vice president, considering the many issues that may still crop up and the big number of voters who are still undecided.
Binay and Roxas remained unfazed with the survey results as they expressed optimism of a victory on election day even as Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago pressed her campaign as she won mock elections in many universities and colleges.
Binay said he will win by 4 million votes over his closest rival while Roxas said that he will be the “flavour of the month” of the voters by May.
In the race for 12 senators, the surveys indicated that former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima dropped to the 9th-13th places with 32.3 percent, down from the 5th-9th places in the last survey with 36.5 percent.
They surveys showed that De Lima was tied with Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City, who was now among 13 candidates with a statistical chance of landing in the Magic 12.
Leading the surveys in the senatorial race are Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sen. Vicente Sotto III followed by former Senators Francis Pangilinan, Panfilo Lacson, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
WorLd boxing icon and Sarangani Congressman Manny Pacquiao, who skipped most of the campaign while training for his third fight against American Timothy Bradley last April 10, improved to the 5th-11th places which when it continues would assure his victory in the election.
Tied in the 6th-11th places were administration candidates Joel Villanueva and Sen. Ralph Recto, followed by Sen. Serge Osmeña III, former Sen. Richard Gordon, and Risa Hontiveros in the 6th-12th places.
Mayor Duterte topped anew the Pulse Asia’s latest voters’ preference survey, leading Sen. Poe by seven percentage points. The survey, which was commissioned by ABS-CBN and was conducted from April 5-10, covered 4,000 registered voters nationwide, with an error margin of plus minus 1.5 percent.
In that survey, Duterte gathered 32 percent of the respondents, which is two-points higher than his previous ratings in the March 29-April 3 survey.
Poe, meanwhile, trailed behind with 25 percent. She was followed byBinay, the UNA presidential bet, with 20 percent and Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas, who got 18 percent.
Duterte was the top choice among all voting classes and remains to be the number one candidate in Mindanao, where he got 58 percent or more than half of the respondents’ total votes.
Duterte’s campaign team said while it is humbled by the latest survey results, it will continue to reach out to more voters.
“We need to convert and convince others that the path to real change is through the unparalleled and decisive leadership that Mayor Duterte has been providing us,” said Duterte’s national campaign manager Leoncio Evasco, Jr.
Senator Poe, on the other hand, said she believes that the voters will choose in the May 9 polls the right candidate who will lead the country in the next six years.
”Naniniwala ako na sa araw ng halalan, pipili ang mga botante ng isang lider na makatao at may galing, para sa kabutihan ng buong bansa,” Poe said.
Senator Poe vowed that she is all for tough measures to fight criminality and illegal drugs but never at the expense of the country’s hard-fought democracy.
Poe made the statement when she was asked about Mayor Duterte’s notorious crime-busting tactics. The mayor has openly remarked about killing suspected criminals without due process.
Poe said such tactics are a clear threat to democracy.
“Ito po ay banta sa ating kalayaan at demokrasya. Para bang sinasabi natin ipagpapalit natin ang lahat para lamang mabilisan ang paggawa ng solusyon pero at what cost? Ano ba ito?” said Poe as she stressed the need for judicial reforms.
“Para sa akin, banta na rin ang mga ito sa mga nagawa natin. Ayusin natin ang sistema para mapanagot ang mga may pagkakasala. Pero hindi natin pwedeng sabihin na uubusin natin o extrajudicial ang gagawin natin kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan natin ay mawawala,” the senator said. (Claire Morales True/PhilAmPressfirstname.lastname@example.org)