Binay runaway winner in presidential poll

Chay F. Hofileña

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Binay runaway winner in presidential poll
Pulse Asia's Ulat ng Bayan Survey for March 19-26, 2014 shows 40% will choose Binay as their first choice for president in 2016

MANILA, Philippines – If presidential elections were held today and they were among the candidates, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay would clobber Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, who is being eyed as standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party for the 2016 presidential elections.

According to the Pulse Asia Ulat ng Bayan Survey for the period March 19-26, 2014, Binay would be the runaway winner with 40% selecting him as their first choice. In comparison, Roxas rated 6%, just a notch ahead of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr who got 5%.

A distant second to Binay was Senator Grace Poe with 15%, followed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago with 10%, and Senator Chiz Escudero with 9%. Roxas ranked No. 5 with his 6% rating, followed by Marcos. Poe topped the senatorial race in 2013, an unexpected feat at the time.

Roxas has been plagued by criticism for his handling of the recent disasters that have hit the country – among them, the Zamboanga siege of September 2013 and the devastating Super Typhoon Yolanda that hit parts of the Visayas in November 2013.

Ranking No. 7 in the list of preferred presidential candidates were Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and celebrity and presidential sister Kris Aquino with 4% each. Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, who faces a plunder charge before the Office of the Ombudsman, obtained a 3% rating and ranked No. 8, followed by Rehabilitation Czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson with 2%.

Cayetano, also Senate Majority Leader, is said to harbor presidential ambitions. He has taken a vocal stance against colleagues in the Senate implicated in the pork barrel scam that has put to waste millions of pesos in lawmakers’ funds.

The survey, a copy of which was obtained by Rappler, polled 1,200 and carried an error margin of ±3% for respondents nationwide. For respondents in the National Capital Region, the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, Pulse Asia reported an error margin of ±6%.

Across the regions, Binay consistently rated high. He was highest in the balance of Luzon with 44%, followed by the National Capital Region (NCR) with 38%, Mindanao with 37%, and the Visayas with 35%.

Across economic classes, he was also the preferred presidential candidate, getting the approval of 47% of classes ABC, 42% of class D, and 34% of class E. The majority of Filipino voters come from classes D and E.

Vice presidential choices

Nationwide, Poe emerged as the preferred choice for vice president, obtaining an approval rating of 24%, followed by Escudero with 20%. Roxas was a distant 3rd with 8%, followed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV with 7%, and Cayetano with 6%.

The 6th spot was a tie among 4 who included Marcos Jr, Kris Aquino, Lacson, and Batangas Governor and actress Vilma Santos Recto, who each got 5%. Senator Jinggoy Estrada, the second senator embroiled in the pork barrel scam, obtained a 4% rating.

In the lower bracket were 4 other legislators – Senators Benigno “Bam” Aquino and Revilla who each got 3%, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito who got 2%, and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo who obtained 1%.

In the National Capital Region, perceived to be home to the most critical and politically aware voters, Poe (25%) and Escudero (24%) were favorite vice presidential bets. Poe rated better than Escudero in the balance of Luzon, getting a 27% approval rating compared to Escudero’s 21%. The difference between the two top contenders was also more pronounced in Mindanao, with Poe getting 21% compared to Escudero’s 16%. Visayas respondents were almost evenly split, with 22% going for Poe and 20% going for Escudero.

In terms of economic classes, Escudero was slightly more popular among the ABC classes, getting 24% compared to Poe’s 22%. Roxas had a single digit approval rating of 9% among the ABC classes.

Among the D classes, Poe dominated Escudero, as she did among class E. 

Senatorial candidates

For preferred senatorial candidates, respondents were asked to choose 12 names from among a list shown to them. Among the possible 12 who emerged were the following, with their respective ranks:

Vicente “Tito” Sotto III  1-3
Franklin Drilon 1-3
Manuel “Mar” Roxas 1-6
Ralph Recto 3-7
Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan 3-7
Panfilo Lacson 3-8
Juan Miguel Zubiri 4-10
Dick Gordon  6-11
Ferdinand Marcos Jr 7-11
Sergio Osmeña III 7-11
Jamby Madrigal 8-14
Manny Pacquiao 11-18
Risa Hontiveros 11-19
Leila de Lima 11-19
Kris Aquino 12-19
Lino Cayetano 12-19
Herbert Bautista 12-19
Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr 12-19

Sotto previously figured in a plagiarism controversy in the Senate but has appeared to survive it. Similarly, Drilon has been linked to Janet Lim Napoles, the woman who allegedly engineered the pork barrel scam. Drilon had appeared in pictures with her in social events, but does not seem to have been adversely affected, if survey results are any indication. (READ: Drilon regains approval after pork probe debacle)

New names in the possible senatorial list include boxing champ and Sarangani Representative Pacquiao, Hontiveros who ran but lost in 2013, and De Lima who has been high profile as justice secretary owing to the pork barrel controversy.

Senator TG Guingona, also in the media as a result of his chairmanship of the blue ribbon committee which investigated the pork barrel scandal, is outside the Magic 12. Jack Enrile, son of the former Senate president who has also been implicated in the scam, is among the cellar-dwellers. Like Hontiveros, he ran and lost in the 2013 senatorial elections.

Kris Aquino and Herbert Bautista, romantically linked to each other for a short period of time, and Lino Cayetano – younger brother of the Cayetano siblings who are already in the Senate – join the younger Enrile.

Among the possible senatorial winners, Roxas registered a 100% awareness level. Among those who recorded a 99% awareness rating were: Sotto, Drilon, Pangilinan, Lacson, Marcos Jr, and Pacquiao.

The polling firm listed other names in its roster of possible candidates for 2016 and this is how they fared:

THE REST. Pulse Asia includes other names in its senatorial list

with reports from Aries Rufo/

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Chay F. Hofileña

Chay Hofileña is editor of Rappler's investigative and in-depth section, Newsbreak. Among Rappler’s senior founders and editors, she is also in charge of training. She obtained her graduate degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism in New York.