News Commentary

Perlas claims 80% public awareness

- Katherine Adraneda -

MANILA, Philippines - A consistent cellar dweller in presidential surveys, environmentalist Nicanor Jesus “Nick” Perlas III lambasted yesterday the conduct of surveys and questioned the truthfulness and accuracy of the results.

Perlas asserted that surveys do not reflect the warm welcome which he said he has been consistently receiving at the grassroots level since launching his campaign on Feb. 9.

In a one-on-one interview with broadcaster Mike Enriquez over dzBB, Perlas claimed an 80 percent “awareness rate” about him and his bid for the presidency in many barangays he had visited in the last three weeks, including areas in Iloilo, Cebu, and Metro Manila.

He also claimed having strong support from “inside government” as well as the military. 

“Because of this, we will be working with principled people in government. Many accept me on the ground. That’s why I tell our supporters not to believe the surveys,” he said.

Perlas also scored reports he had been receiving that only the names of the so-called top five presidential aspirants are being indicated in the questionnaires of pollsters, automatically eliminating the names of candidates who are at the bottom of the scale, including himself, Sen. Jamby Madrigal, evangelist Eddie Villanueva, and Olongapo City Councilor John Carlos de los Reyes.

He cited an incident involving a driver of his brother who was virtually dictated upon by a researcher of a big survey organization to just choose between the “winnable” presidential candidates - Senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Manuel Villar Jr. and Richard Gordon, former defense chief Gilbert Teodoro, and former president Joseph Estrada.

“They (pollsters) do not include the names of independent candidates who are pushing for a new kind of politics, who are doing away with traditional politics,” Perlas said.

He also revealed that two of his leading rivals in the presidential race have tried to buy him out, offering him a spot in their senatorial slate and even including an all-expense paid campaign.

Although he declined to name the two presidential aspirants, Perlas said he met one of them personally while the other sent an emissary. 

All these, he said, took place before he filed his certificate of candidacy to run for president in November 2009.

“The first minute the conversation was shot down already because they know that I am not stepping down (from president to senator),” Perlas said.

He also disclosed that he was offered the post of secretary of environment under the Arroyo administration, replacing then secretary Heherson Alvarez, but he declined immediately because “I already know that the Arroyo administration and I will not agree on so many things.”

Running without a vice president or a senatorial line up, Perlas reported that he was campaigning on a budget of around P6 million.

Broken down, his campaign budget is sourced as follows: P2 million of his personal funds, P3 million from his two Filipina friends in the real estate business, and around P1 million from donations from private individuals, including foreign friends from Germany, Sweden, and the US, whom he said strongly believe in his competence and integrity to run the government.

Perlas confidently declared that despite his ostensibly poor showing in the presidential race, as compared to his so-called more popular and more moneyed rivals, he will not back down.

“Ultimately, the voting public will think, because many are aspiring for change in this country,” he said. 

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