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DQ cases affected my rating, says Poe

DISQUALIFICATION cases filed against her might have affected her ratings in the recent survey of voters’ choice for the next President, Sen. Grace Poe Monday said.

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“I think that’s a major reason,” Poe told reporters when asked if the disqualification cases had affected her standing in the surveys.

She said that during the past few months, the interest of the people was focused on her cases.

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“(Because of that) my plans for our countrymen were not given proper attention,” the senator said after addressing the national convention of government workers at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Poe surmised that some of the voters were not sure if she would still run because of legal questions raised regarding her residency and citizenship.

“But I will go on with my fight. We respect the (rule of) law which must be upheld. This comes with the process of appeal and we believe that we have a strong legal basis to stand on,” she said.

Poe, the perennial leader in previous surveys, acknowledged that the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, which showed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte dislodging her from the top spot, was a signal for her to work hard in explaining her predicament to the voters.

The SWS poll, conducted nationwide on Nov. 26-28 and commissioned by a Davao businessman, showed that the mayor was the choice of 38 percent of the voters while Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay were tied in second place with 21 percent each.

Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas got 15 percent and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, 4 percent.

Most important survey

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Roxas, who is lagging behind his opponents in the race for Malacañang in all surveys, said the most important survey would be on Election Day.

“For me, the only credible survey is in May 2016,” Roxas said when asked for comment on the latest SWS survey.

Unperturbed by his ratings in the surveys, the former interior secretary said he believed the standing of presidential contenders would still change in the next few weeks.

“I think the people would start to seriously vet (the candidates). This (survey rating) would stabilize next year,” he said.

“But as what I have been saying, the most important survey would be the survey on May 9, 2016. And that’s the real one,” Roxas added.

Senator Grace Poe answers questions from reporters during the National Convention of Government Employees Association of the Philippines at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday, December 7, 2015. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Senator Grace Poe answers questions from reporters during the National Convention of Government Employees Association of the Philippines at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday, December 7, 2015.
INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Asked when his survey rating would pick up, he said with a smile: “in May 2016.”

Privately commissioned

Malacañang shrugged off the results of the latest SWS survey.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said he was not surprised by the results, saying it was “privately commissioned” and one where Duterte’s name was mentioned.

“The question itself already mentioned Duterte as what was reported in the newspapers. ‘Rodrigo Duterte is on this list as a substitute candidate for President. Among the names found on this list, who would you most likely vote for President if elections were held today?’”

The question was “not agnostic,” he pointed out. “There’s a difference … The usual survey of SWS would be an agnostic question. There will be no mention of names.”

Noting “we are in a marathon, not in a sprint and this is not a 100-meter dash,” Lacierda said presidential candidates would have “six months to present their platforms (of government) to the people.”

Instead of questioning the survey’s credibility, Poe said it would guide her and her campaign team on how to reach out to some

50 million voters nationwide.

She said it was vital for candidates like her to “listen and respect” the sentiments of the people, as reflected in the surveys.

“It’s really important for us to use this as our guide in our messaging,” the senator said.

Asked if she was surprised at Duterte’s big lead over her, Poe said: “If you are too antsy, you cannot stand this kind of battle. For us, you really have to focus on the job.”

Poe urged the people trying to block her presidential bid and her opponents to just let the voters decide who should occupy the country’s highest elective post in the next six years.

She expressed her willingness to talk with President Aquino to explain why the disqualification cases against her in the Commission on Elections should be junked.

The senator told reporters that the issues pertaining to her citizenship and residency were “openly discussed” when Mr. Aquino and the leaders of the ruling Liberal Party tried to convince her to be the running mate of Roxas, the administration’s presidential candidate.

“Those who want to get elected should be given a chance because at the end of the day, it’s the people who would decide (who should be our leaders),” Poe said.

As to Mr. Aquino’s statement that he believed there was “confusion” as to Poe’s claim that she was a natural-born citizen, Poe said, “Maybe I could talk again with our President (so I could answer him) if he has questions regarding this.”

Asked if the President and Roxas raised the issues about her residency and citizenship when they were still courting her, she said, “They knew that there would be hurdles about my natural-born status because as early as June, we saw the other camp come out questioning my residency.”

Poe was referring to Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, then the interim president of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, who claimed she had failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement for those seeking the presidency.

“That’s why when we were still talking, that was (brought up) in open discussion,” she said. With a report from Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Elections 2016, Grace Poe, Nation, News
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