Independent senate bet accuses SWS, Pulse Asia of harassment

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MANILA, Philippines–A senatorial candidate on Wednesday accused the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia Inc. of harassment after the two survey firms filed a P1.4-million damage suit against him.

Social Justice Society candidate Samson Alcantara sued SWS and Pulse Asia at the Quezon City regional trial court last November to question the mechanics and veracity of the senatorial surveys that the two polling bodies have been undertaking.

Alcantara had called on the court to issue a temporary restraining order against the surveys and asked the SWS and Pulse Asia to first inform him of the questions that would be propounded to the survey respondents.

“I’m not questioning their right to conduct surveys. I’m merely asking what are the questions being asked in the surveys and that I be informed about it so I can protect my interests. This is also what people are asking. The activities of the polling bodies are not purely private undertakings but are impressed with public interest,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In their separate replies to Alcantara’s suit filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 77, Pulse Asia counsel Jose Manuel Diokno and SWS lawyer F. Albert Bacungan said granting the senatorial candidate’s demand would be tantamount to a prior restraint on free speech.

“Pulse Asia has no legal obligations to notify plaintiff Alcantara, give him copies of survey questions to be propounded to the respondents, and data regarding respondents. [His] demand for such notice and information has no legal basis,” Diokno said.

Diokno also said that Pulse Asia’s right to conduct public opinion surveys, evaluate the results and release them to the public involve matters of public concern. He said such acts cannot be lawfully restrained or enjoined unless they pose a clear and present danger that requires the intervention of the state.

Being a senatorial candidate, Alcantara is a public figure and has “impliedly consented” to be included in surveys of legitimate public opinion polling bodies such as SWS, Diokno added.

Bacungan, for his part, said the Commission on Elections and not the RTC has jurisdiction over the political surveys.

“It is nothing more than an attempt on the part of [Alcantara] to inquire into the lawful conduct of SWS’s legitimate right and business to conduct surveys in any and all fields, and is a prior restraint or abridgement of the freedoms of speech, expression and press, without any basis in the Constitution, in law and in the rules and regulations of the Comelec,” added Bacungan.

The two survey outfits called Alcantara’s suit “unfounded and malicious” and demanded damages. SWS claimed moral damages amounting to P1 million and another P200,000 in attorney’s fees. Pulse Asia demanded P50,000 in exemplary damages and compensation for having to retain the services of a counsel worth P100,000 plus P10,000 per court appearance and P25,000 in litigation expenses.

Alcantara branded the counterclaims as harassment, adding, “Just because they are giant polling bodies does not mean they can do this to a cash-strapped candidate like me. I don’t even have money to campaign, how much more pay for the damages they are seeking? This is what a poor candidate is being put through just because he’s trying to protect himself,” the lawyer added.

He cited Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution which states, “Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination.”

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3UAABFPUE5ZKBXOAGLWL6POGWU joel genese

    Defensive naman itong mga surveyors. Ano namang restraint on free speech. Ano lang ba naman kung ilathala nyo rin ang mga katanungan nyo sa mga respondents at hindi basta result lang na number figures. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NPV7TOHIJPG3UMTLQDTHLQJR7Y Jack

      mabubuking na sila-sila na lang ang gumagawa ng resulta kuno ng survey ayon sa gusto ng nagpasurvey

    • gisingpinas

      sa facebook na lang magsurvey kung sino pinakamarami na LIKE na candidato yun ang pipiliin ko. Puede rin e UNLIKE mo ang isang candidato. simulan na natin. yeheey.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    These survey firms should stop all kinds of surveys for they are practically poisoning the minds of the people. They can conduct surveys after the election, if they want. Nobody knows how they conduct the survey, and if they just invent the results. To avoid suspicion, they should not make any survey during the election campaign period.

    • Atagalong

      You are right Vir!  The surveys influence the minds of the voters. What’s wrong for Alcantara asking what are the questions asked? In my opinion, the surveys will more than likely reflect to a name recall or probably regional bias. I can see clearly that all the senatorial candidates are from the Luzon region, except for a token two!

  • rjimenez1226

    These survey firms are imbued with public interest and  should be highly regulated, taxed and   vetted. They should be required to dsiclose  the names of their subscribers and those who pay for those  surveys to be made as they would obviously want to twist questonsbeing asked  to favour them. Stop corruption! Stop the deception!

  • neoxyrel

    nanduro kasi si Alcantara at nung pinatulan he is crying harrasment :)

  • Horst Manure

    Do you still beat your wife? Any one can suggest some thing by asking a question/s in certain ways.

  • oh_noh

    STOP THESE PAID SURVEYS!!!

    vp binay will surely oppose that :P

  • oh_noh

    the truth is, secret lang natin ito, WALANG QUESTIONNAIRES !!!!

    … the higher you pay them, the higher your results will be !!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AS7ZS3RG454EKLDPVX3UR3MLGE rick

    stop this survey for this is one form of electioneering….it is freedom of expression if it doesn’t affect the outcome of the election, but if it can affect the outcome of the election then there is what we call a malignant, dreaded effect on the general welfare of the people which will now give the right to the state to limit this freedom of expression by virtue of its police power…..salus populi est suprema lex…..

  • Ganymede

    These surveys condition the minds of the electorate. The candidates knows this and would pay handsomely just to be on top of the surveys. This is a form of propaganda. SWS and Pulse Asia should be compelled to show or made available their raw data (i.e. answered survey questionnaire) for public scrutiny for the sake of transparency.

  • Bansot

    Mr Alcantara, once you entered “POLITICS” be preapred for the “unexpected”, that includes “hitting below the belt”.

  • $14334231

    these surveys ARE a joke…..they make money on this( without the people’s knowledge) because they are paid by candidates with the most bribed money….how can you explain a nancy binay coming out as #4 in the survey when nobody knows anything about this woman, or a jack enrile?….please….if you are going to do a survey, don’t let these families intimidate you (money talks, right)…binay and enrile must have threaten you too to come to this conclusion that they’re in the magic 12….don’t make it look too OBVIOUS!!!…..

    • 1GeorgeTolentino2

      Identify yourself properly and don’t hide in an alias, tell this straight to the faces of the Pulse Asia and SWS, then you will be more credible.

      • $14334231

        tinamaan ka, ano???…masakit ba ang katotohanan?…

  • Taiko_Kauna

    don’t tell me the “surveyors’ are not paid by the leading candidates. We have antidote for that: DON’T VOTE FOR THE LEADING CANDIDATES, THEY’RE ALREADY WINNING. Ibalato niyo na lang ang mga boto ninyo  sa mga kulelat!

  • lolo_Jose

    KUNG talagang PULSO ng mamamayan ang inilalabas na resulta ng 2 survey firms
    BAKIT NAKAPASOK SI NANCY BINAY SA NO 4 EH WALANG ME KILALA SA 
    KANYA SA MGA PROBINSIYA AT ORDINARYONG TAO? BAKA SA MAKATI PA
    OO, PERO SA IBANG LUGAR NAKAKADUDA!!! BAKA NAMAN TUTUO ANG
    SABI NA 500 MILLION PESOS ANG BAYAD AT SIGURADO NASA MAGIC 12
    KA? HIGHEST BIDDER BA MGA APO?

  • maypakialamtayo

    hindi ba pwedeng alisin na lang ang survey-survey na yan, ang tagal ko nang tao pero ni minsan di pa ako natanong dyan o nakakita man lang ng sina-survey, mas maganda siguro kung patuloy pa rin ito ay wag na tayong mag-eleksyon pa-survey na lang para makatipid tayo.

  • http://inquirer.net unokritiko

    When will the filipino indiots ever learned!!!! you are one of them if you believe in the survey!!
    Pulse Asia and SWS, survey is not in their job. THEY ARE MONEY MAKING COMAPANY!!!
    Compare it to leeches in the society. Sure they sucked it if you agree with this two!!

  • Sandy Bulet

    Kahit kailan walang silbi ang mga survey, maniwala kayo, namemera lang mga yan. Bigla na lang silang maglalabas ng mga sagot DAW sa mga tanong nila na sinagot naman DAW ng mga taong natanong nila? Kahit kailan at kahit ano pang klaseng aritmitik ang gamitin nila para macompute ang resulta, hindi ako naniniwalang ang isang libong taong sumasagot sa survey ay kumakatawan sa halos isandaang milyong Pilipino. For God sake, wag nyong gawing tanga ang mga Pilipino!

  • rouelcalzita

    SWS and Pulse Asia are paying to print and TV media reporters to publish the survey results.
    How crook media practitioners?

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