No talk of politics for Roxas in Bulacan relief operations

BULACAN, Philippines – “Merry Christmas!” was all Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II said when asked by reporters on Wednesday, December 23, his reaction to a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

The SWS survey, conducted from December 12-14, put Roxas at 3rd place with 22% of respondents picking him as their presidential bet. Leading the poll was opposition leader Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe.

Roxas dodged questions about politics during a chance interview in Calumpit, Bulacan, where he joined local politicians in handing out relief goods to those displaced by flooding.

Natutuwa naman ako na nakikita natin na organized ang ating relief efforts dito at ang lahat ng mga kababayan natin ay nakakatanggap ng tulong. Ang Pilipino naman ay matibay, hindi sumusuko, at sa kahit anong hamon ay tumatayo, lumalaban,” Roxas said, flanked by Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and other local officials.

(I’m happy to see that relief efforts here are organized and our countrymen here are getting help. The Filipino is resilient, he doesn’t give up and with every challenge, he rises and fights.)

But politics and Roxas’ performance leading up to the 2016 presidential elections, is what makes news headlines now.

This week, 3 polling firms released the results of their presidential preference surveys, the last before the campaign season officially begins in February 2016.

Roxas’ numbers in the different polling bodies vary from a dip to incremental increases. According to Pulse Asia’s December 2015 survey, Roxas lost 3 percentage points from his September standing, putting him at fourth behind Binay, Poe, and race newcomer Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Aside from the SWS survey, the Laylo survey also put Roxas at 3rd behind Binay and Poe, with 22%.  

If survey numbers were on his mind, it didn’t quite show on Wednesday. Before visiting Bulacan, Roxas joined President Benigno Aquino III in Catarman, Northern Samar, which also bore the brunt of two recent typhoons that affected the country.

Roxas’ allies in the LP have downplayed the survey results, emphasizing that the erratic numbers are proof voters have yet to decide on who to vote for in 2016. The most important survey, Roxas and his allies say, is the elections themselves.

Will it be a restful or work-filled Christmas break for the LP standard-bearer?

Malalaman na lang ninyo (You’ll find out), but I intend to be with our people on Christmas,” he told reporters. –