VICE President Jejomar Binay retained his lead in two separate surveys released Monday, maintaining his position as the strongest presidential contender in the 2016 polls despite losing some ground amid corruption charges filed against him and his son.
A Pulse Asia survey for the third quarter showed Binay ahead with 31 percent of respondents picking him for president, a 10 percentage point drop from his 41 percent showing in June.
He was followed by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumptive standard bearer for the ruling Liberal Party, with 13 percent; followed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago at 11 percent; and Senator Grace Poe and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada at 10 percent.
Senator Francis Escudero had 5 percent; Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., 4 percent; former vice president Noli De Castro, 3 percent; and former senator Richard Gordon, 2 percent.
In a separate survey by Pedro Laylo Jr. commissioned by Binay’s private sector supporters, the vice president polled 36 percent, followed by Poe at 19 percent; Estrada at 13 percent; Santiago and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte tied at 8 percent; and Roxas and Marcos tied at 7 percent.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who has led the attack on Binay in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee corruption hearings, polled 3 percent in the Laylo survey and only 1 percent in the Pulse Asia poll.
As in the Pulse Asia survey, Binay also lost some ground, shedding eight percentage points from his 44 percent showing in August, but Laylo said this could be attributed to a longer list of contenders in the latest survey. Santiago, Duterte and Marcos were not included in the previous survey.
The Laylo survey, a copy of which was furnished the Manila Standard, showed that Roxas also suffered a five percentage point drop from 12 percent in August.
The survey of 1,200 respondents nationwide was undertaken from Sept. 7-11, covering the dates during which the Senate was investigating allegations of corruption against Binay and his son for a Makati City Hall building that was said to be overpriced.
But the Laylo survey said only 33 percent of the respondents believed that there was a basis for the accusations.
Respondents were split over whether Binay should attend the Blue Ribbon hearings, with 52 percent saying it was a good idea to stay away because this would be a distraction from his work as vice president, and 48 percent saying he should face up to the allegations and tell the truth.
In Metro Manila, 49 percent said Binay should stay away from the hearings, while 51 percent believed he was deliberately avoiding them.
The Laylo survey also showed that in Northern and Central Luzon, Binay was perceived by 39 percent as the “most likely to continue” President Benigno Aquino III’s policies.
Only 13 percent in the same regions said they believed Aquino’s party mate Roxas would continue his policies.
Poe had a stronger showing with 19 percent saying she was likely to continue the President’s policies.
Some 29 percent believed that Binay would fight for them, as against 16 percent for Estrada, 15 percent for Poe, 10 percent for Roxas, 6 percent for Duterte and 5 percent for Cayetano.
Binay was perceived to be hardworking by 36 percent, compared to 18 percent for Poe and 9 percent for Roxas.
Some 36 percent also believed Binay had pro-poor polices, compared to Poe with 19 percent and Roxas at 7 percent.
But Santiago was perceived to be the toughest among all the candidates, a train that respondents considered positive.
Some 32 percent of the respondents believed Santiago tough, followed by Duterte with 21 percent, Binay with 19 percent, Estrada with 13 percent, Roxas with 5 percent, Poe and Cayetano with 4 percent each and Marcos, 3 percent.
The Laylo survey also showed that if Estrada pulls out of the race, it would be his political ally, Binay, who would benefit from the withdrawal, with Binay still winning the race with 40 percent; followed by Poe at 22 percent; Santiago at 10 percent; Duterte, Roxas and Marcos at 8 percent each and Cayetano at 4 percent.
If Poe pulls out of the race, the votes would still go to Binay at 41 percent, Estrada with 16 percent, Santiago with 11 percent, Roxas with 10 percent, Duterte with 9 percent, Marcos with 8 percent and Cayetano, 4 percent.
The survey has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percent.
In the Pulse Asia survey, presidential aspirants who got 1 percent were rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, Cayetano and Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Senate President Franklin Drilon got 0.4 percent while former senator Francis Pangilinan received 0.2 percent.
Malacañang remained unfazed with the latest survey results, saying Binay’s ratings may continue to drop if he is unsuccessful in defending himself against the allegations of corruption.
“Our political landscape remains very fluid. A lot of things can still happen between now and 2016,” presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas said.
Binay has been accused of receiving kickbacks from the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall car park building.
“But the results are very significant in relation to the Vice President. It is definitely a result of the Senate investigation on alleged corruption of the Vice President and his family,” Llamas said.
“Corruption will still be a dominant issue going into 2016. If the Vice President will be unable to confront these issues head on and convincingly, his ratings may continue to unravel,” he added.
Binay lost supporters across all locations and classes, with preference from those belonging to the upper classes A, B, and C showing the biggest dip at 13 percentage points.
The Pulse Asia survey covered 1,200 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent.
Heading the vice presidential bets was Poe, who received a five-point increase in preference to 31 percent.
Poe was followed by Escudero (19 percent), Cayetano (9 percent), Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (7 percent), Marcos (6 percent), Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos (5 percent), Drilon (5 percent) and Senator Jinggoy Estrada (3 percent).
Businessman Manuel Pangilinan, whom Binay wants to be his running mate, got only 2 percent.
In the senatorial race, Senator Vicente Sotto III and Francis Pangilinan, incumbent presidential assistant for food security, were in a statistical tie, with Sotto getting the nod from 51.6 percent and Pangilinan getting 51.5 percent.
Other candidates who will likely make it to the Magic 12 in 2016 are Roxas (47.6 percent); Marcos (47.2 percent); Lacson (47.1 percent); Gordon (45.9 percent); Santos (44.5 percent); Senator Ralph
Recto (44.1 percent); Drilon (42.6 percent); former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (41.5 percent); former Senator Jamby Madrigal (35.9 percent) and Senator Sergio Osmeña III (35.4 percent).
Other aspirants who have a fighting chance to make it to the top 12 are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (35.3 percent), boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao (31.3 percent), and former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros (30.7 percent).
Binay’s camp on Monday shrugged off the decline in his poll results, saying they expected a bigger hit as a result of the allegations being hurled against him and his family.
“Given the very challenging and rough times that the Vice President faced in the past weeks, we expected a bigger decline--but the latest survey results are a surprise for us,” said the interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco.
“The public is aware that the allegations against the Vice President are part of the modus operandi of the administration allies to discredit him and his family,” he added.
But Trillanes, who along with Cayetano has pressed the investigation against Binay, said the 10 percentage point drop in the vice president’s standing in the Pulse Asia survey showed that people were aware of what was happening. With Maricel V. Cruz and Macon Ramos-Araneta
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