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Binay pulls away; Bongbong neck-and-neck with Chiz

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay has widened his lead over main rival Sen. Grace Poe in the 2016 presidential race, a new survey by the Social Weather Stations and BusinessWorld revealed.

According to the Jan. 8-10 BW-SWS pre-election survey, Binay was the most preferred candidate for president of 31 percent of 1,200 validated voters nationwide.

Binay, standard bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), registered a five-point gain in his rating from 26 percent in December.

Tied for second place were Poe with 24 percent, down from 26 percent; Liberal Party (LP) bet Manuel Roxas II with 21 percent from 22 percent and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with a flat 20 percent.

Tailing in the presidential survey was Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago with three percent, from four percent previously.

In the vice presidential race, Poe’s teammate Sen. Francis Escudero was still the top pick of voters despite losing two points in the January poll – 28 percent from 30 percent.

Coming in second was Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with 25 percent, up six points from 19 percent. Marcos is Santiago’s running mate.

Taking third spot was Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo of the LP with 17 percent from 19 percent in December, followed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano with 14 percent from 17 percent previously. Cayetano is the running mate of Duterte.

UNA vice presidential candidate Gregorio Honasan’s rating stayed at eight percent, while voter preference for Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV dropped from five percent to three percent.

The survey has sampling error margins of plus or minus three percentage points for national percentages.

Humbled by people’s trust

The Vice President yesterday vowed to “work harder for the people” after gaining a five-point lead in the SWS survey.

“The Vice President is humbled by the people’s trust in his capability to lead our country. It will encourage him to work harder in order to demonstrate his actions to uplift our people’s lives, fight poverty and provide employment,” Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, said.

“He will continue to emphasize that our country needs an experienced and competent leader to work for inclusive growth that would ultimately benefit the poor who comprise a majority of our country,” Quicho said.

‘Face corruption allegations’

President Aquino yesterday said Binay will have to answer corruption allegations against him sooner than later, which could eventually affect his ratings.

The President in effect downplayed the results of the SWS survey showing the ratings of Binay and Marcos improving, noting they were only “a snapshot right now.”

Aquino, who witnessed the signing of contracts for a bulk water project in Malolos, Bulacan, said the campaign period has not yet started and the issues that Binay and Marcos have not yet answered would be prominent once again.

“They cannot get away. All issues must be faced,” he said.

Asked whether the administration would raise issues against Binay and Marcos, Aquino said a big part of their campaign would focus on the positive – the daang matuwid (straight path) and its benefits to the public.

He expressed confidence that all those who benefited from their programs would campaign for administration candidates.

He added that there is consistency in the ratings of the administration bets and that “there is nowhere to go but up.”

Corruption issues superseded 

The Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid, meanwhile, believes the corruption controversies hounding Binay were superseded by other issues.

“The corruption cases against Vice President Binay were somehow forgotten in discussions of national issues. Add to that the P700 million he spent on TV ads, the sources of which have not been explained until now,” coalition spokesman and Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez said.

“Perhaps we have to return to these issues,” he added.

Gutierrez said the results of the survey were not surprising.

“When Binay assumed his post as vice president, he was already campaigning to become president,” the lawmaker said.

An ally of Roxas at the House of Representatives said yesterday the LP was unfazed by the results of the latest SWS poll.

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, LP vice president for political affairs, admitted the poll figures were somehow a setback but vowed that the party would strengthen its electoral campaign for Roxas and Robredo.

He lamented that Filipino voters appear to be distracted by the citizenship issues of Poe, who is running second to Binay, instead of focusing on matters like good governance.

“It’s a wake-up call to all of us. The real issue here is good governance and a corrupt leader cannot provide good governance,” Erice said, referring to Binay, who is hounded by corruption allegations.

Guide for next strategy

Poe, on the other hand, vowed to work harder amid the two-point drop in her rating.

She told reporters in Pangasinan yesterday that surveys are used as guide by candidates in calibrating their next moves.

Poe urged her supporters to help spread the word that she remains a candidate for president in the upcoming elections and is ready to serve the people.

She attributed the drop in her survey ratings to the disqualification cases filed against her.

Most important survey

Escudero, for his part, stressed that surveys produce varying results.

“Up, down, up, down. What’s important are the votes on election day,” he said.

He, however, said he is proud about the results of the latest SWS survey because he has not spent for advertisements as much as his rivals have.

Marcos said the survey result was “encouraging” and will inspire him to work harder.

“I am deeply grateful to our countrymen for their support and confidence that I am presenting a viable platform to truly uplift their lives,” Marcos said.

He vowed to redouble his efforts to inform the people of his plans to help effect the change that Filipinos have been dreaming of.

“It is January and the election is still in May. In Philippine politics, four months is a very long time. We have a long way to go,” Marcos said. – With Aurea Calica, Christina Mendez, Eva Visperas, Alexis Romero, Paolo Romero, Perseus Echeminada

ACIRC

BINAY

BINAY AND MARCOS

ISSUES

MARCOS

PERCENT

PRESIDENT

STRONG

SURVEY

VICE

VICE PRESIDENT

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