Still lagging behind, Alejano seeks ban on release of preelection surveys

Mara Cepeda

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Still lagging behind, Alejano seeks ban on release of preelection surveys
'Given a chance, we'll pass a bill that will prohibit such [a] mind-conditioning tool,' says Otso Diretso senatorial bet Gary Alejano

CAVITE, Philippines – Two Otso Diretso candidates falling behind in the latest Pulse Asia survey cast doubt on its results, questioning the survey methods and calling out its “mind-conditioning” effect on voters.

Otso Diretso senatorial bet and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano even went as far as saying on Tuesday, March 19, he would file a bill prohibiting the release of preelection survey results if he is elected as senator.  

“Sa aking pananaw, dapat binabawal nang nilalabas ‘yung survey kasi basis ‘yan ng mga kandidato kung paano na ang kanilang kampanya at hindi para impluwensiyahan ‘yung isip ng mga Pilipino,” Alejano said.

(In my view, we should prohibit the release of survey results because these are meant to be a basis for the conduct of candidates’ campaigns, not to influence the minds of Filipinos.)

Alejano was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a senatorial forum held at the De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute on Tuesday.

“So I think we should do away with the releasing [of the results of the] public survey and given a chance, we’ll pass a bill that will prohibit such [a] mind-conditioning tool,” he added.

In Pulse Asia’s latest senatorial survey conducted in February, Alejano was ranked 28th to 37th with an awareness rating of 29%. This is lower than his figures in January, when the former mutineer-turned-congressman was ranked 27th to 34th, also with a 29% awareness rating.

Another Otso Diretso candidate, veteran election lawyer Romy Macalintal, is also skeptical of how these surveys are being conducted. He said he wants the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to check if the polling firms are complying with the poll body’s rules.

“Siguro mayroon tayong dapat na itanong sa Comelec, kasi sa mga panahong ito, maraming nagsasabi na ‘yung mga survey na ginagawa ng mga survey companies hindi sila mismo ang kumukuha ng raw data. At ‘yan ay naka-subcontract sa iba’t ibang mga research companies,” said Macalintal.

(Perhaps we have something to ask the Comelec, because in these times, many people are saying surveys are not being done by survey companies and they are not the ones getting the raw data. They subcontract different research companies.)

“So dapat siguro makita natin sino ba ‘yung mga subcontractor ng mga survey companies na ito para at least malaman natin kung talagang tama or within the rules and regulations of the Comelec ang ginagawa nilang mga survey,” he added. 

(So we have to determine who are the subcontractors of the survey companies so at least we know if their methods are correct or are within the rules and regulations of the Comelec.)

In February, Macalintal got a voter’s awareness rating of 32% and was ranked 23rd to 28th. This is a 10-point increase in his awareness rating from January, when he got 22% and was ranked 24th to 32nd.

Out of the 8 candidates of the Otso Diretso slate, only former interior secretary Mar Roxas was part of the so-called winners’ circle or “Magic 12” in Pulse Asia’s February survey. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.