Villar obtained a voter preference of 53 percent based on the SWS poll conducted on Sept. 15-23.
Joven Cagande
Cynthia Villar takes top spot in latest senatorial poll
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - October 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Cynthia Villar has taken the solo lead in the latest senatorial survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Villar obtained a voter preference of 53 percent based on the SWS poll conducted on Sept. 15-23.

The survey was released yesterday, the eve of the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2019 senatorial elections.

Tied at second to third places are Sen. Grace Poe and Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano with a voter preference of 43 percent each.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and former senator Lito Lapid shared the fourth to fifth slots with 33 percent each.

Coming in at sixth spot is former senator Jinggoy Estrada with 31 percent, followed by former senator Mar Roxas with 30 percent.

Sharing the eighth to ninth spots are Senators Nancy Binay and Sonny Angara with a voter preference of 26 percent each.

Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa ranked 10th, with a 25-percent voter preference.

Completing the winning circle are former senator Serge Osmeña and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, who are tied at 11th to 12th places after each obtaining a 24-percent voter preference.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV placed 13th, with 22 percent, followed by Sen. JV Ejercito (19 percent), presidential adviser on political affairs Francis Tolentino (16 percent) and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go (12 percent).

Other prospective senatorial bets who obtained single-digit voter preferences are actress/singer Agot Isidro (nine percent), presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. (eight percent), ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (seven percent), former broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad (six percent), former Quezon representative Erin Tañada (five percent), Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano (four percent), human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno (three percent) and lawyer Lorenzo Gadon (three percent).

Six percent of the 1,500 respondents were undecided, according to the SWS.

No legal impediment

For election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, there is no legal impediment if Pimentel will run for senator in next year’s polls because his first term of office is “not a completed term.”

“For me, his first term is not counted. In order to be counted, there should be no gap in the service,” Macalintal said yesterday during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum at Café Adriatico in Malate, Manila.

In August 2011, Miguel Zubiri resigned from the Senate amid the poll protest case filed against him by Pimentel in connection with the results of the senatorial race in some parts of Maguindanao in the 2010 elections.

Zubiri was replaced by Pimentel, who continued his unfinished term.

It is “clear in the Constitution” that the term of office of a senator shall be six years, according to Macalintal.

“If you don’t complete the six years not of your doing, you can run again,” he said.

Independent

Meanwhile, resigned assistant communication secretary Mocha Uson yesterday announced she would run as an independent candidate in next year’s polls but refused to say for which position.

She said she opted to run as such but admitted that presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has promised to back her candidacy.

“We talked and she said she (would) support me,” Uson said, referring to Carpio, during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum.

Uson refused to say which position she would run for but denied rumors that she would replace ACTS-OFW party-list Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III who recently earned public ire for bullying an airport personnel.

She noted she does not have funds for the campaign but she would be relying on social media to woo voters. Currently, she claimed to have some 5.7 million followers in her social media accounts.

STAR doctor-columnist to join Revilla

In a related development, Dr. Willie Ong will be joining the re-election bid of former senator Ramon Revilla Jr. in the slate provided for senatorial candidates in the once powerful Lakas-CMD party in next year’s polls.

“Dr. Ong, who took his oath last Tuesday as Lakas-CMD member, will be joining our party chairman, Sen. Bong Revilla Jr., in the (senatorial) race,” former Leyte congressman Martin Romualdez, who sits as president of Lakas-CMD, said in a statement.

Ong writes a regular column for The STAR.

“Our respected and beloved Doktor ng Bayan, Dr. Ong, will give voice to the underprivileged people of society who are in need of free medical assistance,” Romualdez, who also served as independent minority leader during the time of former president Benigno Aquino III, added.

Ong has devoted 25 years in public service conducting medical missions and giving free health tips and pieces of advice to those in need.

Romualdez, a lawyer and banker who lost in the May 2016 senatorial race, is an ally of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – who remains a Lakas stalwart – and is also the current president of the Philippine Constitution Association.

Being allied with the ruling party of President Duterte’s PDP-Laban party, Romualdez said Lakas-CMD will also support the senatorial candidates endorsed by Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Duterte-Carpio’s regional party.

Oath-taking

Elsewhere, Ejercito formally took his oath yesterday as a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) as part of his bid to seek reelection in next year’s polls.

Ejercito took his oath before Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who serves as the senior council leader of NPC, in his office at the Senate.

Also present during the oath-taking ceremony were Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, a council member of NPC, and former Batangas congressman Mark Mendoza, the party’s secretary-general.

“With open arms, we are honored and very glad to have him because he is one of the more productive members of the Senate, especially here in the 17th Congress. So, it is an added feather in the cap of the (NPC) to have JV Ejercito in our party,” Sotto said.

Ejercito now joins Lapid as NPC’s official candidates for next year’s polls.

Sotto said more names would be announced after the NPC council finalizes its lineup today with the party’s chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Delon Porcalla, Marvin Sy

CYNTHIA VILLAR SOCIAL WEATHER STATIONS
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