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- Duterte pulls ahead in SWS poll
With only 2 weeks left before the May 9 elections, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte pulls ahead of his rivals for the presidency in the latest SWS presidential survey released Monday, April 25. The survey was conducted April 18 to 20 among 1,800 registered voters nationwide. It was on April 17 when Duterte’s controversial rape remark went viral. The survey showed that Duterte jumped 6 percentage points from the previous SWS survey, and now has a voter preference rating of 33%, the survey firm said. The survey results, however, are not yet conclusive, political science professor Edmund Tayao told BusinessWorld, because the field work for the survey ended April 20, and the presidential poll frontrunner made other controversial remarks in the days since.
- Robredo jumps 7 points, tops SWS survey
Liberal Party bet Leni Robredo has caught up with Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in the vice presidential race, an SWS survey revealed Monday, April 25. Robredo leapt 7 percentage points from the previous SWS survey to 26%, placing her in a tie with Marcos, who has a preference rating of 25%. In third place was Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, whose preference rating fell to 18%, followed by Senators Alan Peter Cayetano (16%), Antonio Trillanes IV (5%), and Gregorio Honasan II (2%). The survey, conducted April 18 to 20 among 1,800 registered voters nationwide, had an error margin of +/-2%, SWS said. It was held after the two vice presidential debates: the Commission on Elections-sanctioned PiliPinas Debate hosted by CNN Philippines and BusinessMirror on April 10, and the ABS-CBN Harapan ng Bise debate on April 17. The results were first released in BusinessWorld newspaper.
Read more: Robredo tops SWS survey, jumps 7 points
- Virtual battlefield: How presidential bets fared in final debate
Even before the final PiliPinas debate took off, the war was already in full swing in the social media. Duterte led the race on Facebook by owning 68% of conversations on presidentiables, followed by former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II at 46% and Senator Grace Poe at 42%. Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, meanwhile, were in the bottom two with 27% and 19% respectively, according to the data covering conversations from November 20, 2015 to April 20, 2016. Since people may discuss more than one presidential candidate, note that the percentages will add up to more than 100%. The numbers are, however, still useful for comparing the overall size of discussion for one candidate against another. Duterte also swept Rappler’s online polls for the 3rd presidential debate. For the poll that asked readers who the debate’s overall winner was, Duterte got 65.74% of the total votes, followed by Roxas with 18.03%.
- Santiago dismisses ‘black propaganda,’ will stay in the race
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago took the chance to talk about her health during the face-off round of the 3rd presidential debate in Pangasinan on Sunday, April 24, after Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte chose not to ask her a question. Speculations have hounded Santiago’s presidential bid because of her illness, even after she claimed that she already “won the battle.” She has not been that visible on the campaign trail compared to the 4 other presidential candidates, only campaigning to the youth by delivering speeches in universities. Last month, Santiago skipped the presidential debate in Cebu because she had to participate in a clinical trial for a new anti-cancer drug, which she calls a “secret pill.” Santiago stressed that she has been transparent about her battle with stage 4 lung cancer.
- Duterte-Roxas word war over Davao Philhealth beneficiaries
First, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte promised to establish a trust fund for the payment of medical expenses of Filipinos confined in hospitals. Then administration presidential bet Manuel Roxas II said the trust fund already exists, referring to the National Health Insurance Corporation or Philhealth. Then it generated into a word war. Davao mayor claimed Roxas was lying about health insurance under the Aquino administration because he had not heard of any Davaoeños who were able to avail themselves of it. Roxas dared Duterte to back out of the presidential race if he could show the city mayor that PhilHealth has helped “thousands” of Davaoeños. Duterte’s final shot at Roxas, “If you’re telling the truth and Filipinos believe you, and that you should be the president, why are you lagging behind in ratings?”
- DOE promises no power interruptions in Cebu on May 9
The Department of Energy in the Visayas assured the public that there will be sufficient power in Cebu City on election day. Engineer William Carido, DOE senior science specialist in the Visayas said that the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had assured them that there won’t be power interruptions before and on election day. Based on the NGCP’s power outlook that the DOE is reviewing, as well as the Power Task Force Election (PTFE) 2016, Visayas has about 200 megawatts of reserved power to be used between May 8 and 10. While the NGCP issued a yellow alert due to tight energy supply in April, the DOE said it doesn’t mean that there is a threat of rotational blackouts.
- Sanders pressured to quit race, Clinton weighs VP picks
Bernie Sanders fended off pressure Sunday, April 24, to bow out of the race for the White House, as his rival, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, weighs potential running mates. Clinton herself has refrained from personally calling on Sanders to quit the race, but her supporters have become increasingly vocal in insisting the Vermont senator has no chance of winning. The New York Times reported that Clinton’s advisers and allies have begun extensive discussions on a potential vice presidential candidate, and are putting together a list of 15 to 20 prospects. Clinton has described what sort of person would fit the bill, and has set objectives for the search, the Times said. And although her options vary depending on who her Republican opponent is and other factors in a still fluid race, she is open to an all-female ticket, advisers told the Times.
- Pope Francis to teens: ‘happiness not an app’
Happiness is not an app you can download on your mobile phone, Pope Francis told thousands of teenagers on Sunday, April 24, at a mass to mark a weekend dedicated to youth. “Freedom is not always about doing what you want. In fact it is the gift of being able to choose the right way,” he said in a homily punctuated by regular bursts of applause from the crowd on a packed St Peter’s Square. An estimated 70,000 teenagers were in Rome for a weekend of events to celebrate Francis’s Jubilee year dedicated to the theme of mercy. In a surprise move on Saturday, the 79-year-old pontiff heard confessions from 16 of them and a video message from him was broadcast at a rock and rap concert in the Stadio Olimpico.
Read more: Pope tells teens ‘happiness not an app’
- Solar-powered plane completes Pacific crossing, lands in California
Solar Impulse 2, an experimental plane which aims to fly around the world without consuming a drop of fuel completed yet another milestone in its trailblazing trip. On Sunday, April 24, the plane landed in California, after completing the Pacific crossing. The arrival at Moffett Airfield marked the completion of the ninth of 13 legs in a journey that began last year in the United Arab Emirates. The goal of the flight is to promote the use of renewable energy with an aircraft powered by 17,000 solar cells.
- Pia Wurtzbach defends, applauds first plus-sized Miss Peru candidate
Prior to the coronation night of Miss Peru, Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach was asked by members of the media about the participation of a candidate who, according to reports, was the first plus sized candidate who progressed in the Miss Peru pageant. Mirella Paz made it to the top 10. Pia responded, “She may not be what society’s standards are of a beauty queen should be. But that’s what the people think. And that’s not reality.” She then shared about how she was also criticized for being overweight when she joined Binibining Pilipinas 2015. Pia won on her 3rd try for the Miss Philippines title. She was eventually proclaimed Miss Universe in December 2015.