By ALFRED GABOT
MANILA (via PhilAmPress) – Given the alliances in provinces, cities and towns and the local machineries, it is still anybody’s race for president and vice president in the May 9 elections although latest surveys indicated Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. are widening their leads over their closest rivals, Sen. Grace Poe and Rep. Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
And only few days before over 50 million Filipinos go to the polls, all the candidates continue to press on their campaigns as they express optimism of their victory, claiming that the May 9 election itself will be the “final survey.”
Aside from the local and national machineries and alliances, experts and political analysts said the more than 5 million undecided voters and the over 1 million overseas absentee voters could also be the “game changers” in the elections.
In the senatorial race, reelectionist Sen. Vicente Sotto re-claimed the top spot in the survey dominated by administration candidates although another survey placed Sen. Franklin Drilon the leader even as world boxing icon and Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao soared to third place from sixth in the Senate Magic 12.
At press time, Senator Poe barnstormed in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Isabela, met the officials led by Governor Imee Marcos, Governor Ryan Luis Singson, Vice Gov. Deogracias Victor and first district Rep. Ronald Singson, former boyfriend of Poe’s sister actress Lovi Poe who has also joined Poe’s provincial sorties together with actor Coco Martin, and held rallies to woo the “Solid North” voters. The Singsons openly vowed support for the senator. Poe later went back to the thickly populated Tondo in Manila and held an evening motorcade and rally there.
Meanwhile, Binay, who claimed “Solid North” will support him, got a boost in vote-rich Pangasinan from Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) gubernatorial candidate Mark Cojuangco who reiterated his support for Binay during a rally in Sison, Pangasinan. Cojuangco, a former congressman of the fifth district of Pangasinan, is the son for former Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. who is reportedly supporting Sen. Poe. Binay thanked the younger Cojuangco for his unwavering support for his plans for the future of the country.
Former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who earlier said he will be the “flavor of the month” in May, on the other hand, expressed confidence of victory as he is allied now with outgoing Governor Amado Espino Jr., a candidate for congressman in the fifth district of Pangasinan and pitted against Cojuangco’s wife Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, and his son, Vice Gov. Amado Espino III who is the gubernatorial candidate of Aksyon Demokratiko, a member of the administration coalition. Also supporting Roxas are Rep. Gina de Venecia, Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, and Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez, among others.
Despite drawing flak for cracking a joke about the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary, Mayor Duterte posted a commanding lead over his rivals for president in the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey getting 33 percent as against former leader Sen. Grace Poe’s 24 percent.
This as erstwhile leader Vice President Jejomar Binay has dropped to fourth place with 14 percent in the same SWS survey while administration candidate Manuel Roxas II shot to 19 percent for third place. A Pulse Asia survey for almost the same period, however, placed Roxas and Binay statistically tied with 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Duterte had a higher rating of 35 percent in another survey conducted by Pulse Asia for the period April 16 to 20 even as Senator Marcos also padded his lead with 29 percent over Rep. Robredo with 24 percent in the vice presidential race.
Based on the SWS survey, Duterte, the only candidate from Mindanao, led in Metro Manila with 40 percent of the respondents and Mindanao with overwhelming 58 percent and all socio-economic classes, with his strongest support among the ABC, at 43 percent.
As Mayor Duterte continues his lead in the surveys, his camp called on his supporters to be calm and courteous, especially when engaging defenders or followers of other candidates.
The call was made Duterte’s spokesman Peter Lavina, actress Aiza Seguerra, and common-law wife, Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, among others.
“Alam niyo mga supporters, kalma na lang tayo. Mag-umpisa na tayong magdasal. Alam mo may divine intervention na ito. Huwag niyo na itry to fight, because I think the people have spoken. They want a leader who can decide, who’s going to do it,” Avancena said.
Lavina made the same call amid reports that supporters are harassing personalities who they think are against the Davao mayor.
“From Day 1, we have called on our followers to take the moral high ground and take caution in social media. In behalf of Mayor Duterte, we reiterate such call and appeal to our social media supporters to stop bashing and even threatening journalists as well as all who express views different from ours,” Lavina said.
Seguerra, a Duterte supporter, also called on the public to be “respectful” amid heated political discussions, especially on social media.
Senator Poe, slipped two percentage points from the previous survey for a 23 percent rating. Administration candidate Manuel Roxas II, who got 17 points, and Vice President Jejomar Binay, with 16, were tied behind her. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago got 2 percent.
The Pulse Asia survey also had Marcos, who is running with Santiago, improving his standing, taking 29 percent compared to 27 percent in the April 5-10 poll, with the administration’s candidate, Robredo, jumping three percentage points to take second place with 24 percent and Poe’s running mate, Senator Francis Escudero sliding to third place on a five percentage-point loss, from 23 to 18 percent.
In another survey, the cores in the Vice-Presidential race are: Robredo, 26%, Marcos 25%, Escudero 18%, Alan Peter Cayetano 16%, Antonio Trillanes IV 5%, Gringo Honasan 2%, and undecided/others 5%.
Leading the Magic 12 in the same survey are 1. Sen. Frank Drilon (LP) 45%, 2. Sen. Vicente Sotto (NPC) 42%, 3. Rep. Manny Pacquiao (UNA) 37%, and 4. Francis Kiko Pangilinan (LP) 36%.
Based on the survey, the last eight Senates seats are being contended by 5-6. Former senators Panfilo Lacson (IND) and Juan Miguel Migz Zubiri (IND), each with 34%, 7-9. Risa Hontiveros (AKBYN), former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima (LP) and Joel Villanueva (LP), each with 33%, 10. Sen. Sergio Osmeña III (IND) 32%, 11. Former senator Richard Dick Gordon (IND) 31%, 12-13. Sen. Ralph Recto (LP) and Rep. Win Gatchalian (NPC), each with 30%, and 14. Sen. Teofisto G Guingona (LP) 27%.
They are trailed by 15. Lawyer and former MMDA Chairman and mayor Francis Tolentino (IND) 22%, 16. Former tourism officer Mark Lapid (AKSYON) 20%), 17. Rep. Martin Romualdez (LAKAS) 17%, 18. Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso (PMP) 16%, 19. Actor Edu Manzano (IND) 14%, 20. Rep. Neri Colmenares (MKBYN) 12%, and 21. Former Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla (LP) 10%.
Obtaining single-digit scores are Rep. Roman Romulo (IND) 8%, Councilor Alma Moreno Lacsamana (UNA) 7%, Allan Montano (UNA) 7%, Susan Ople (NP) 6%, Mel Chavez (WPPPMM) 6%, Larry Gadon (KBL) 6%, Atty. Lorna Kapunan (AKSYON) 6%, Dionisio Santiago (IND) 6%, Rey Langit (UNA) 5%, Ina Ambolodto (LP) 4%, Romeo Maganto (LAKAS) 4%, Raffy Alunan (IND) 4%, Getulio Napeñas (UNA) 4%, Princess Jacel Kiram (UNA) 3%, Shariff Albani (IND) 3%, Rep. Samuel Pagdilao (IND) 3%, Aldin Ali (WPPPMM) 3%, Jovito Palparan Jr. (IND) 3%, Mon Montaño (IND) 3%, Greco Belgica (IND) 3%, Godofredo Arquiza (IND) 3%, former Rep. Walden Bello (IND) 2%, Ray Dorona (IND) 2%, former Rep. Dante Liban (IND) 2%, Levito Baligod (IND) 2%, Sandra Cam (PMP) 2%, Mr. Coop Paez (IND) 2%, Diosdado Valeroso (IND) 1%, and Eid Kabalu (IND) 1%. (via PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA)