Grace Poe up, Cynthia Villar down in survey

(UPDATED) Grace Poe Llamanzares jumps from rank 20 to within the 10-11 range in the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations

BIG WINNER. Grace Poe-Llamanzares is the big winner in the January 2013 SWS survey, jumping from rank 20 to 10-11. File photo by Dennese Victoria.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The senatorial race is bound to get tighter, with changes in survey rankings right before the campaign period.

A January 17 to 19 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Grace Poe-Llamanzares jumping from rank 20 in December 2012 to rank 10-11.

The survey results were published on SWS’ media partner, Business World (BW), on its Monday, January 28 edition.

“The surprise in the survey was Grace [Poe-Llamanzares] who, after not ranking higher than 20th in the last two SWS-BW polls, barged into contention,” the article said. 

Poe-Llamanzares is a common candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). She is the daughter of the late actor and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. Watch this Rappler profile

The SWS survey was released before the start of the campaign period for national candidates on February 12.

While Poe was the big winner in the polls, former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia Villar was the biggest loser in the latest survey, dropping 5 percentage points. From 4th place in December, Villar dropped to 8th-9th in January.

Villar is a candidate of the Nacionalista Party (NP) of her husband Sen Manny Villar. She is running under the administration slate.

SWS-BW said, “Tied for 8th to 9th places were former Las Piñas representative Cynthia A. Villar (NP-LP) and Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile, Jr. (NPC-UNA) with 46% each. Both registered declines from the last poll: Ms. Villar was 4th in December while Mr. Enrile was 6th-7th.”

(Editor’s note: A closer look at the data shows Enrile’s voter preference remained steady at 46%.)

But Villar is unfazed. “If you were to consider the survey’s margin of error, plus or minus three, then those of us wo ranked from the 5th to the 11th place in the survey with 45% to 48% would seem like in a seven-way tie,” she said in a statement.

Watch this Rappler interview with Enrile and read his profile here:


“The ruling LP alliance and the opposition UNA all but evenly split the list of likely ‘Magic 12’ winners with their own and shared candidates, although the latter had the edge in terms of rankings,” SWS-BW said.

The survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents. The error margins are ±3% for national and ±6 for area percentages.

Table from

Reelectionists, political children still top

Sen Loren Legarda still dominated the survey, along with her fellow reelectionists. Legarda ranked number one while Sen Francis Escudero placed second.

Like Poe, the two are common candidates of LP and UNA.

In third place is Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano of the administration slate. He is secretary-general of Sen Villar’s NP. Cayetano last week figured in an ugly squabble with Senate President Enrile over the use of Senate funds. 

Coming after him in 4th place is San Juan Rep Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito Estrada, son of former President Joseph Estrada. He rose from rank 5 in December.

Sen Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan was at 5th-6th place with Sen Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. 

Rivals Pimentel and resigned Sen Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri both saw an increase in their survey rankings.

From 6th to 7th in December, Pimentel is now on 5th-6th place. Zubiri also climbed from 9th to 10th last month to 7th place.

Rounding up the top 12 are Villar, Enrile, Sen Antonio Trillanes IV (10th to 11th), Poe, and Nancy Binay (12th).

Yet SWS said the administration’s Aurora Rep Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara at rank 13th could still vie for the 12th slot. Angara’s ranking remained unchanged at 13.

Former senators, newbies outside magic 12

Outside of the so-called Magic 12 in the latest survey is UNA bet former Sen Richard “Dick” Gordon who slid to rank 14 from 12th place in December.

President Benigno Aquino III’s cousin, Bam Aquino, went up to rank 15 from 17th place. He is running under the LP ticket. 

In 16th place is former Sen Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr followed by another former senator, Jamby Madrigal at 17th place. The two are LP members.

The LP’s former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros is at rank 18th to 19th, tied with former Sen Ernesto “Ernie” Maceda of UNA.

At 20th place is Aquino’s aunt, former Tarlac Gov Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco of UNA.

Here are the rest of the results:

Table from

Getting to know sons, daughters?  

The survey comes as candidates gear up for the campaign period. Even ahead of the official start of campaigning, the senatorial bets have aired advertisements and launched sorties in various provinces.

UNA already aired its senatorial slate ad starting January 7 while the LP also shot its own ad. UNA is also regularly conducting sorties, starting off with Batangas, Cagayan, and Laguna.

During the sorties, candidates introduce themselves and their platforms to voters.

The SWS survey shows that while political children like Enrile and Binay initially placed high, they have registered a decline over time.

The poll also comes as the LP and the UNA intensify their word war. LP has questioned whether UNA is really for or against the administration. UNA calls itself the “constructive opposition.”

UNA also attacked LP for alleged “political persecution” of non-LP leaders like its member suspended Cebu Governor Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia.  

President Aquino also joined the fray. He criticized UNA in a Cebu LP event earlier this month, saying it aired ads early because it has “more to prove.” –


The Reelectionists:

Other profiles in our running series on senatorial candidates:

More from Rappler’s 2013 Philippine elections coverage: