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NEWS ANALYSIS

Corruption controversies take toll on Binay’s 2016 election ratings

The fall was across the board: all geographic blocs, all demographic classes.
/ 12:50 PM September 29, 2014

The latest Pulse Asia survey shows a distinct drop in Vice President Jejomar Binay’s presidential voter preference rating, from 41 percent in June to 31 percent in September. In the absence of other plausible factors, the cause of the drop is likely related to the scandal over the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall parking building, plus other controversies that emerged out of the series of Senate blue ribbon sub-committee hearings called to investigate the alleged overpricing.

The new survey was conducted between Sept. 8 and Sept. 15, a few weeks after the hearings started. During the survey period itself, only one hearing was conducted, on Sept. 11, but that was the session where Binay’s erstwhile political ally, former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, testified that Binay as mayor of one of the country’s richest cities received a standard 13-percent kickback from all infrastructure projects and not just from the construction of the parking building.

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That was also the hearing where Mercado used duffel bags to dramatize his assertion that Binay funneled illegal commissions through three channels: one though his son, Junjun Binay, then a councilor and now his father’s successor in City Hall; a second one through Binay’s finance officer, Gerry Limlingan; and a third through the mayor’s trusted aide, Ebeng Baloloy.

In that same hearing, the supplier who was trapped in an elevator—-deliberately, according to former Makati City Hall executive Mario Hechanova—-to prevent him from entering a bid for a project that had already been allegedly reserved for one of Binay’s favored suppliers also gave testimony.

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The day the survey started was also the day Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, a respected local government official who had previously made no secret of his admiration for Sen. Grace Poe, proposed impeachment proceedings against Binay. The last days of the survey coincided with public anticipation, prompted by an announcement from Binay’s press office, that the Vice President would rebut the allegations from Mercado and other former Makati City government officials through a “presidential-style” address.

The drop in Binay’s presidential voter preference ratings was across the board: in each of the four major geographic blocs, and in each of the three major demographic categories. In the National Capital Region, which traditionally votes opposition, the Vice President’s rating fell from 44 in June to 33 in September. In the rest of Luzon, the bloc with the most number of voters, it declined from 41 to 32. In the Visayas, his rating dropped from 37 to 27, and in Mindanao, from 42 to 33. (Nationwide, the survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3, but is higher for geographic areas, at plus or minus 6.)

Measured by socio-economic status, Binay’s rating dropped dramatically. In Class ABC, it fell by 13 percentage points, from 36 to 23. The decline in Class D mirrored his national result: down 10, from 42 to 32. Relatively speaking, his support in Class E held up best, slipping only by 7, from 40 to 33.

The survey was conducted among 1,200 “representative adults 18 years old and above.” The question about presidential preferences was based on a list of potential presidential candidates; each survey respondent was asked the same question: “Sa mga taong nasa listahang ito, sino ang inyong iboboto bilang PRESIDENTE NG PILIPINAS kung ang eleksyon ng 2016 ay gaganapin ngayon at sila ay mga kandidato? Maaari kayong magbanggit ng iba pa na wala sa listahan.”

Pulse Asia, in its press statement, listed as it always does “key developments” that “dominated” the “news headlines” at the time the survey was conducted. The first two were Binay-related:

“The ongoing Senate investigation into the reported overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, with witnesses claiming, among other things, that the bidding for the said project was rigged to favor Hillmarc’s [sic] Construction Corporation and that Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay received kickbacks from various Makati City projects while serving as its local chief executive.”

And:

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“A suggestion made by Albay Governor Joey Salceda to impeach Vice-President Binay due to the charges of corruption raised against him in connection with the construction of the allegedly overpriced building in Makati City which began under his watch as Makati City mayor – a proposal rejected by politicians allied with and critical of the current national administration.”

All told, the Senate has conducted six hearings, with at least two more scheduled.

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