Candidates for the national positions are scrambling to convince voters that they are the best choice through various surveys. All kinds of surveys are now also coming out with questionable results showing an unexplained surge for certain candidates.
Voters are dumbfounded because of an online news report reportedly showing a presidential candidate who has been consistently at the tail-end of previous surveys suddenly overtaking the frontrunner, leaving suspicions these could be part of efforts to condition the minds of voters.
The survey firm (with a funny sounding name) that has also been coming out with questioned survey results was reportedly established only last April 11. The credibility of another survey commissioned by a major network is also being doubted because of the discovery that the questions were leading and suspiciously skewed to favor a particular presidential candidate.
In the latest Pulse Asia survey conducted from April 26-29, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is shown maintaining his lead at 33 percent but now followed by Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas with 22 percent, overtaking Senator Grace Poe at 21 percent. In the vice presidential race, LP bet Leni Robredo has surged four points to take the lead at 30 percent, while erstwhile frontrunner Senator Bongbong Marcos dropped to second place with 28 percent, losing three points from the previous Pulse Asia survey conducted from April 19 to 24.
Social media and cyberspace, however, are abuzz with reports the release of a Social Weather Stations survey covering the period of April 29 to May 2 is being reportedly put on hold — allegedly on orders from the top because it showed Duterte breaking away with a 20 percent lead at 42 percent over Senator Poe with 22 percent. Liberal Party bet and PNoy’s anointed Mar Roxas remained firmly at fourth place with 16 percent, while Binay is at third place with 18 percent.
In the vice presidential race, the “curtailed” SWS report shows Marcos still on top at 28 percent followed by Robredo tied in second place with Alan Peter Cayetano at 23 percent.
The final survey by Pedro “Junie” Laylo Jr. (of the Laylo Research Strategies) on the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial race is out, and many are waiting for “The Laylo Report” because they believe this will be the best gauge of the chances (or political fortunes) of candidates vying for the top positions because it is credible, accurate, comprehensive and unbiased.
The vice presidential contest remains interesting. The last Pulse Asia survey shows a statistical tie between Marcos and Robredo.
Robredo is likely to benefit from the consolidation of the Bicol vote, at the expense of Escudero. She has attracted the women’s vote. She is strong in the Visayas, where Marcos is weakest.
However, Marcos enjoys hegemony over the larger Northern Luzon vote and dominates in the populous NCR. He could get more anti-administration votes from the dissipating campaigns of Escudero, Cayetano, Trillanes and Honasan.
Most significant, he is the beneficiary of the endorsement of two large religious groups: the Iglesia ni Cristo and the El Shaddai. That could bring about a million new votes to his column.
Marcos was reported on Friday as saying he learned last Tuesday that INC would endorse him. But the sect did not confirm Marcos’ statement and the next day his camp said the senator had been misquoted.
INC’s announcement showed Marcos’ advance information had been right after all.
The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino also announced it was supporting Marcos in the coming elections.
LDP secretary-general Demaree Raval said the party decided to support Marcos in an effort to start a genuine healing process that continues to elude the country despite its newfound democracy.”
“There has been too much division and corrosion of the political community wrought by politics. It’s time to move and look forward,” he said.
The vice presidential contest is clearly where the real last-round fight is happening.
A few days ago, President Aquino broke protocol and usual practice, turning up at the Iglesia ni Cristo headquarters. According to sources, he did not plead for a Mar Roxas endorsement. He asked the sect to support Leni Robredo, who has better chances than her standard-bearer.
The President’s mission was, of course, futile. But it does underscore the ruling faction’s frantic efforts to at least get Leni through.
There were wild rumors the other day that powerbrokers have approached Escudero, pleading with him to withdraw in favor of Robredo. Neither confirmed that effort.
The ruling oligarchy is trying so hard to pull Robredo up and push Marcos down that people who fancy conspiracies are now peddling a “Plan C” scenario.
According to this conspiracy theory, the oligarchs, unable to stop Duterte at the polls, are now planning to depose him soon after taking office. It will help this plan if Robredo, instead of Marcos, wins the vice presidency.
Between the two contenders, Bongbong is more likely to defend a Duterte presidency than Leni.
Escudero said only the administration was capable of cheating in the May 9 polls. “Only the administration has the capability to cheat, no one else.”
Escudero also expressed doubts over preference surveys, which he said can be a tool for “mind conditioning.”
“How are we going to guard cheating [in the elections] and make sure nothing wrong will take place? That’s what we fear the most and it’s alarming how these surveys coming out from various groups left and right,” Escudero said.
“They could be conditioning the minds in relation to the kind of results they want for the elections.”
Marcos wondered what could have transpired in the two days between two Pulse Asia surveys that changed the results.
In a statement, Marcos said: “Surveys are surveys. They give a glimpse of the public sentiment at a certain period.”
“We want to know, however, what happened in the two days between the two surveys that made a 7-point difference,” he pointed out.
“We have our internal survey and other independent surveys, which show that we have widened our lead to double-digit points from the closest rival,” Marcos said.
VICE presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said President Benigno Aquino III should be credited for launching an anti-corruption drive, even though it lost its luster when politics came into the picture.
“In my view, the President had the honest intention of reducing corruption, but the people around him failed to help him,” Marcos said in Filipino.
He said that as a result of politics, there was a widespread perception that Mr. Aquino’s opponents were prosecuted to the hilt, while Palace allies were largely allowed to go scot-free.
During his campaign sorties, Marcos has called for national unity, saying politics should not influence governance and public service.
He said the next chief executive of the country should have a good working relationship with the vice president to be able to move the country towards progress.
“There should be partnership between the next president and the vice president even if they don’t come from the same party. There should be a good working relationship between them to implement programs that will be felt by everyone,” Marcos said.
Marcos said he could work with any of the presidential candidates and would give his all-out support to the next administration.
Marcos also said the surge in his survey standings despite criticisms from his opponents and the Palace was due to his clear and relevant program of government and his call for national unity.
Under a new administration, Marcos is suited to play the role of Chief Unification Officer. He could be the top-level emissary to the various rebel groups. He could listen to the complaints of the marginalized groups, the farmers and trade unions.
His role in crafting an alternative Bangsa Moro framework gives us an indication of his skills in playing this role. He could also function as the president’s representative to foreign governments, given the gravitas of his name.
E-day is finally upon us after the 90-day campaign season drew to a close last Saturday, with each of the five presidential candidates holding a traditional miting de avance.
President Benigno S. C. Aquino III made a last-ditch effort to unite pro-democracy forces against a looming dictatorship, as he portrayed the imminent ascendance of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte to the presidency.
But this proved futile as Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago rejected it outright while Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel A. Roxas II’s call for unity talks with Senator Grace S. Poe came too late.
Surveys have become a dime a dozen in the run-up to the most hotly contested polls since the snap election of 1986. New polling firms with obscure names have suddenly surfaced, and some have published surveys with unexplained surges in voter preference for certain candidates. Even the major ones, Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia, have lately been criticized for allegedly questionable results.
The only one that has not drawn flak so far is Laylo Research Service, which conducts a regular poll for a national broadsheet. It has been around since 2001 when Pedro “Junie” R. Laylo, Jr. retired from SWS to go on his own. He has gained credibility over the years and his credentials include a master’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut, USA, with concentration in public opinion research.
Results the final “Laylo Report” covering the period between April 27 and May 1 reveal that Mr. Duterte garnered 32.4% among 3,000 likely voters nationwide. Next in rankings were Ms. Poe at 24.6%, and Mr. Roxas at 21.7%.
This despite Mr. Duterte’s rape joke and Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV’s accusations of corrupt practices against the front-running candidate from the south. Mr. Trillanes also produced an anti-Duterte political ad aired during primetime on May 5 by leading broadcast network ABS-CBN.
Regarding the vice-presidential sweepstakes, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. and Congresswoman Ma. Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo are statistically tied at 30% and 29%, respectively. According to Mr. Laylo, Ms. Robredo is likely to benefit from the consolidation of the Bicolano and Southern Tagalog votes. Over the last few weeks, she has also been endorsed by the Aksyon Demokratiko party and several cause-oriented groups.
On the other hand, Mr. Marcos dominates Metro Manila and the Ilocano regions of northern Luzon. He has obtained the eleventh-hour endorsements of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party, the Catholic evangelical group El Shaddai, and the homegrown Christian sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). The latter two are known for their bloc-voting practices. Mr. Aquino himself recently broke protocol and showed up at the INC headquarters in Quezon City seeking the nod of the religious leaders for the LP’s candidates, to no avail.
Apparently the administration is in a state of panic due to the rising numbers of Mr. Duterte. A plan has reportedly been hatched pushing for a Robredo vice-presidency as an alternative. The growing popularity of Ms. Robredo toward the tailend of the campaign may provide the foil to a Duterte regime, since Mr. Marcos is perceived to be the Davao Mayor’s secret candidate.
Senator Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero, who is trailing behind at third place in the veep race, expressed doubts about mind conditioning being employed in the last two minutes of this political circus. “That’s what we fear the most and it’s alarming how these surveys are coming out from various groups left and right. They could be conditioning the minds in relation to the kind of results they want for the elections.”
All we can do at this stage is to pray for clean and peaceful voting today. At the end of the day, as Mr. Aquino is wont to say, we are first and foremost Filipinos who are competing with other natrions in a drastically different 21st century.