Senator Grace Poe has widened her lead over Vice President Jejomar Binay based on the latest presidential survey conducted by Pulse Asia.
According to the poll, which was conducted from October 18 to 29, 39% of respondents said they will vote for Poe while 24% preferred Binay, who used to be the front runner prior to mid-2014. Binay is running under the United Nationalist Alliance while Poe is running as an independent, though she is the adopted candidate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Former Interior Secretary and administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II came in third with 21% support. Veteran Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago for her part is the preferred candidate of 11% of respondents.
This is the first survey released to the public since the filing of candidacies passed. It was originally published in The Manila Times and had 3,400 respondents nationwide.
Poe’s running mate, Senator Francis Escudero continues to lead over his opponents in the vice presidential race. He received the support of 43% of respondents while his closest rival, fellow Senator Bongbong Marcos, only got 21%.
Trailing Escudero and Marcos are Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (11 percent), Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo (7 percent), Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (6 percent). Robredo is the running mate of Roxas while Marcos, Cayetano, and Trillanes are all running as independents. Binay’s partner, Senator Gregorio Honasan, was not mentioned at all in the news release.
With still six months to go before the May 2016 polls, polls taken this far out is rarely predictive of the final election results. What makes the situation all the more fluid are the following wildcards:
1) The decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to dismiss the disqualification case against Poe on the basis of her not being a natural born citizen should give the Senator little solace. The three Supreme Court justices sitting on the SET all voted against her. Since the case will surely be elevated to the SC, there are already three sure votes against her there.
Also, it must be remembered that apart from her citizenship, Poe’s opponents also claim that she lacks the ten-year residency required for all presidential candidates by the 1987 Constitution. That, in many respects, is a bigger problem for her especially because she once took the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag. In case Poe gets disqualified with finality, who will benefit the most from her forced removal from the presidential race?
2) While Poe is bogged down by disqualification cases, Binay is facing allegations of corruption dating back to his two-decade reign as mayor of Makati City. The office of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales last month went as far as dismissing his son Junjun, who succeeded him as Mayor, from office. Everything can turn for the worse for Binay if another bombshell revelation comes out and if the Ombudsman decides to reverse course and file plunder charges against him.
3) Amidst all this, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is teasing his supporters again that he may still reconsider his earlier decision not to run for president, citing COMELEC’s December 10 deadline for candidate substitution by political parties. Ano ba talaga, Digong?