Sotto, Drilon lead in Senate race – Pulse Asia

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Vicente Sotto III and Senate President Franklin Drilon are leading the senatorial race according to the latest Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey released on Tuesday, March 22.

The ABS-CBN-commissioned nationwide survey, conducted from March 8 to 13 among 4,000 registered voters, also showed that 13 of 50 candidates vying for a Senate seat have a statistical chance of winning, down from 14 candidates in the last survey conducted in the first week of March.

Sotto (51.4%) and Drilon (49.4%) have a statistical ranking of 1st to 2nd places, followed by former senators Francis Pangilinan (45.7%), who topped the previous survey, and Panfilo Lacson (44.9%) at 3rd to 4th places; and former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri with 37.4% at 5th to 7th places.

Senator Sergio Osmeña III and former Akbayan party list Representative Risa Hontiveros share 5th to 11th places with voter preferences of 35.3% and 34.9%, respectively. 

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto (34.2%) and former justice secretary Leila de Lima (33.3%) are at 6th to 11th places, while former senator Richard Gordon (32.7%) and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao (32.6%) are at 6th to 12th places.

The rest of the probable winners are Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian (29.8%, 10th to 13th places), and former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) chief Joel Villanueva (29.7%, 12th to 13th places).

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, who had been part of the probable winners' circle until the latest survey, obtained a preference rating of 25.3%, bumping him to 14th place.

Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said that as of March 13, 6.8% of registered voters said they were not voting for any of the 50 senatorial candidates running in the May polls.

The probable winners are dominated by members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) – Drilon, Pangilinan, Recto, De Lima, and Villanueva – while 4 are independent candidates mostly adopted as guest candidates of various parties. They are Lacson (Daang Matuwid coalition and the United Nationalist Alliance), Osmeña, and Zubiri and Gordon (UNA and the Poe-Escudero Galing at Puso team).

Gatchalian and Sotto are running under the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), and are also guest candidates under the Poe-Escudero team. 

Pacquiao is the only UNA exclusive candidate in the winners' circle. Hontiveros is running exclusively under the administration coalition.

1 in 3 Filipinos have complete Senate slate

Holmes said that based on the latest survey results, one in every 3 Filipino registered voters has a complete Senate slate.

"With less than two months to go before the next national elections, Filipinos are identifying a mean of 7 and a median of 8 of their preferred candidates for the Senate (i.e., out of a maximum of 12). Mean figures range from 7 to 8 while median figures vary from 6 to 10 across geographic areas and socio-economic classes," he said.

During the survey period, among the dominant issues were the Supreme Court decision to allow Senator Grace Poe to run for president, the Bangladesh Bank heist involving a Philippine bank and casinos, and the Commission on Audit finding that Binay is liable for graft and corruption in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

Other major news include the death of former Senate president Jovito Salonga, the appointment of Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras as foreign affairs secretary following the resignation of Albert del Rosario for health reasons, and the continued tension in the South China Sea.

Pulse Asia said its nationwide survey has a ± 1.5% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for the geographic areas have the following error margins at 95% confidence level: ±4.6% for Metro Manila, ±2.3% for the rest of Luzon, ±3.4% for Visayas, and ±3.3 for Mindanao. –