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Reelectionists, pro-admin candidates in top 15 – survey

/ 07:19 AM February 16, 2019

BROTHERS’ BID Sen. JV Ejercito and his half-brother, former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, campaign together during a recent rally of Hugpong ng Pagbabago in San Fernando, Pampanga province. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Reelectionist senators and those seeking to regain their Senate seats, many of them supporters of President Duterte, dominated the list of candidates likely to win in the midterm elections in May, according to results of the latest Pulse Asia survey released on Friday.

An independent, Sen. Grace Poe, remained on top of the list of 15 candidates with a “statistical chance of winning” if the elections had been held during the Jan. 26-31 survey period, Pulse Asia said.

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Administration bet and former presidential aide Bong Go showed the biggest gain, landing in eighth spot.

In addition to Poe, the top six candidates were Sen. Cynthia Villar followed by former senator and Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, former Sen. Lito Lapid, Sen. Nancy Binay and Sen. Sonny Angara.

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Go was behind seventh placer Sen. Koko Pimentel. Ninth place went to former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada followed by former Sen. Mar Roxas of the opposition Liberal Party, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and former Sen. Bong Revilla.

The next three were opposition Sen. Bam Aquino, former Sen. Serge Osmeña and former Bureau of Corrections Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

Go, the former special assistant to the President, jumped from No. 16 in the Pulse Asia poll in December.

Sen. JV Ejercito fell from 14th place in December to No. 17.

Pulse Asia polled 1,800 adults nationwide. The respondents were asked to choose 12 from a list of 66 candidates that they would vote for. The survey was conducted before the Commission on Elections released its official list of 62 candidates.

Complete list

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

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Only 46 percent of the respondents said they already had a complete list of 12 candidates.

The voter preference ranged from 36.9 percent for those who voted for No. 15, Dela Rosa, to 74.5 percent who chose topnotcher Poe.

Pimentel, Go and Dela Rosa are three of the five candidates of the administration Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan party, of which Mr. Duterte is the national chair.

Villar, Angara, Marcos and Cayetano are among the party’s six guest candidates.

The seven “statistical” winners are among the 11 candidates endorsed by the President and the 13 supported by Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional party established by his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

HNP also endorsed Estrada and Revilla, who are not among the candidates officially backed by Mr. Duterte.

PMA homecoming

The party on Friday brought its campaign caravan to Baguio City a day before the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) homecoming. About 6,000 alumni were expected to attend.

Duterte, however, said they would not stay for the gathering. She and the six candidates with her headed later in the day to La Union province.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has disallowed political campaigning during PMA homecomings.

The HNP rally at the President Fidel V. Ramos Gymnasium drew only about 1,000 people and many of the seats that had been prepared for the crowd were empty.

“Thank you, Baguio City, for the warm welcome. This city supported our family during the 2016 elections,” Duterte told supporters.

Apart from Dela Rosa, those who joined the HNP campaign rally were former TV journalist Jiggy Manicad, Angara, Ejercito, his half-brother Estrada and Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu.

This city was the fifth stop of the party’s campaign caravan since the official campaign period started on Tuesday. The HNP candidates have been to Pampanga, Bataan, Olongapo and Pangasinan.

De Lima’s appeal

In Manila, detained Sen. Leila de Lima appealed for support for the opposition coalition, “Otso Diretso,” which includes Roxas, Aquino, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Mindanao civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal and former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada.

In a statement from her cell at Camp Crame, she said they embodied “the abilities and readiness of the opposition to stand up and fight for the true issues affecting the country: poverty, injustice, the mockery of democracy and sovereignty, and social justice.”

De Lima said the coming elections “should neither be a popularity contest, a show biz bonanza, nor a public auction.”

“I pray for an outbreak of will and determination among us to drive away the politics of hate and the culture of fear and impunity that have engulfed our country for almost three years now,” she said. —WITH REPORTS FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH, JULIE M. AURELIO AND VALERIE DAMIAN

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TAGS: “Otso Diretso”, Binay, De Lima, PMA, Poe, Pulse Asia survey, reelectionist, Senator, Villar
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