A MAJORITY of voters nationwide either strongly or somewhat agree that presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe should be allowed to run despite the disqualification cases pending against her before the Supreme Court.
According to The Standard Poll conducted between Jan. 27 and Feb. 4 by this newspaper’s resident pollster, Junie Laylo, 22 percent of respondents strongly agree and 38 percent somewhat agree that Poe should be allowed to run notwithstanding the petitions questioning her natural-born citizenship and 10-year residency, both constitutional requirements for the presidency.
Sixteen percent somewhat disagree and 7 percent strongly disagree, with another 17 percent saying they do not know enough about the issue to have an opinion.
Support for Poe was even stronger in Metro Manila, with 67 percent of respondents agreeing to let her run, 21 percent disagreeing, and 12 percent not knowing enough to have an opinion.
Support was lowest in Visayas and Mindanao, with both areas having net 30 percent agreement to her running. Respondents from the Visayas also claimed to know the least about the issue, with 22 percent not being able to form an opinion.
Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents from urban areas either strongly or somewhat agree to letting Poe run while 22 percent do not agree. Fifty-seven percent of respondents from rural areas agreed while 24 percent disagreed, with 19 percent not knowing enough.
On Dec. 1, 2015, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections unanimously voted to cancel Poe’s Certificate of Candidacy. The petitioner, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, claimed the senator made material representations that are false in saying that, in 2013 when she was running for the Senate, she had been a resident of the Philippines for six years and six months.
Poe said she had committed an honest mistake.
On Dec. 11, the Comelec’s First Division, acting on the consolidate petitions of former Senator Francisco Tatad, professor Antonio Contreras and law Dean Amado Valdez, also said that Poe committed material misrepresentations in her documents.
The Comelec en banc later upheld these decisions, but Poe appealed the cases before the Supreme Court.
The Standard Poll was taken at around the time oral arguments were being heard on the issue. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, in their pronouncements, appeared inclined to reject the disqualification petitions.
Meanwhile, only 45 percent of respondents nationwide strongly or somewhat agree to allow Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to run for president, with 38 percent not agreeing and 18 percent not knowing about the issue to have an opinion. Net agreement stood at +8 percent.
Support for his running despite the disqualification case arising from his substitution to PDP Laban member Martin Diño was strongest in Mindanao at 62 percent and in Metro Manila at 54 percent.
Disagreement in Mindanao was at 25 percent, bringing the net figure to +37 percent.
Meanwhile, net agreement was lowest in (-12 percent) North/ Central Luzon with 34 percent agreeing and 46 percent disagreeing, and in South Luzon/ Bicol (-9 percent) with 36 percent agreeing and 45 percent disagreeing to let him run.
The survey was conducted just before the First Division of the Comelec dismissed the four disqualification cases against Duterte on Feb. 3, 2016 for lack of merit.
The Standard Poll posed questions to 3,000 respondents across the country, with 300 from the National Capital Region, 700 from Northern and Central Luzon, 600 from South Luzon and Bicol, 700 in the Visayas and 700 from Mindanao.
All respondents were biometrically registered voters who said they are certain to vote in the May 2016 elections.
The Standard Poll has a margin of error of +/-1.8 percent nationwide.