ON Jan. 8 to 10, this year, the pollster Social Weather Stations asked 1,200 respondents whom they would vote for president if elections were held then.
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay was the choice of 31 of every 100 respondents. Senator Grace Poe was picked by 24 of every 100, former Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Araneta “Mar” Roxas by 21, and Davao Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte by 20.
Bringing up the rear were Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, the choice of three of every 100; and lawyer Roy Señeres picked by one of every 100. The survey results were first published, Jan. 15, by BusinessWorld.
The sampling error for national percentages is 3 percent, plus or minus. For regionals, the margin of error is 6 percent, each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. With such error margins, you can say Grace Poe (24 percent), Mar Roxas (21 percent), and Duterte (20 percent) are virtually tied for second place.
Please note that each percentage is equivalent to 440,000 votes, assuming 44 million cast their vote on election day, this coming May 9.
Thus, Binay’s 7-point lead over Poe is equivalent to 3.08 million votes, 13.64 million vs. 10.56 million. The veep’s advantage over Mar Roxas is 4.4 million (10.64 million vs. 9.24 million), and over Duterte, 4.84 million votes (13.64 million vs. 8.8 million).
Our call: Binay is definitely a frontrunner and if he keeps his pace, is the next President of the Philippines.
However, Jojo’s three-million-vote lead over Poe is not that insurmountable, especially given the possibility that the Supreme Court might just allow the senator to run and ignore the obvious deficiencies in her qualifications—questionable natural-born status and even more questionable residency of 10 years.
The main issue against Grace is that she is an alien and has no business being president of the 12th largest nation on earth in population.
If you ask me, many of our presidents were aliens, including the incumbent one. They were out of touch with reality, completely lacked rapport with the people and systematically failed them. That is why the Philippines is in a rut and is one of the least progressive among the major countries of Asean. It has the highest poverty incidence, the highest unemployment rate, and the highest inflation rate. The Philippines is unique in Asia for having failed to cut its poverty by half between 1990 and 2015. The higher the economic growth rate the higher the number of poor people swelled.
As for Mar Roxas and Duterte, Binay’s lead of more than four million votes is very difficult—and expensive—to overcome.
Binay has bottomed out with 21-percent share of the vote in the November 2015 survey. He has regained momentum and looks set to recapture his high 37 percent voter ratio in November 2014.
Roxas hit his peak, at 22 percent in December 2015, after falling to a low of 15 percent in the March 2015 and November 2015 SWS surveys. He seems to have difficulty climbing above 22 percent, especially now that the public is incensed with the incompetence, insensitivity, and the corruption of the men around BS Aquino III, his master and principal benefactor.
Aquino’s Matuwid na Daan mantra has become an astonishingly hollow slogan given the corruption, shenanigans and incompetence at the Department of Transportation and Communications, the incompetence and corruption at the Department of Agriculture, and the continuing and systematic pillage of the public treasury despite the Supreme Court rulings declaring illegal and unconstitutional two major sources of pork barrel money—the Priority Development Assistance Fund, and the Disbursement Acceleration Program.
Duterte, meanwhile, could by now be a spent force. He hit his stride when he topped the flawed SWS survey in November 2015 with a marvelous voter preference of 38 percent, 17 percentage points or 7.48 million more votes than the two frontrunners previously, Binay and Poe who had an identical 21 percent. Then the Davao mayor started mouthing expletives against Pope Francis after recalling how he was held up by traffic during the January 2015 papal visit.
In the vice presidential race, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is about to upset long-time frontrunner Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero. In the SWS January 2016 survey, the only son and namesake of the Philippines’ longest-serving president is behind Escudero by only 3 percentage points, 25 vs 28 percent. That’s a very thin lead of 1.32 million votes.
The VP race had for a year been a tussle between frontrunner Escudero and come-from-behind aspirant Marcos. Escudero began in March 2015 SWS survey with a two-to-one advantage over Marcos, 6 percent vs. 3 percent. But then the young Marcos increased his share of the vote eight-fold in just eight months to 24 percent by Nov. 26 to 28, 2015, while Escudero’s rose only five-fold to 30 percent during the same period.
By January 2016, with an error margin of 3 percent, plus or minus, both Escudero’s 28 percent and Marcos’s 25 percent are considered a tie. The senator from Sorsogon is losing momentum even while the senator from Ilocos Norte is consolidating his. The result by May 9, 2016 could be: A sweet victory for Marcos, a huge disappointment for Chiz.
Happy birthday to Manuel “Lolong” Lazaro
May I pause to greet my good friend Jesuit-trained lawyer Manuel “Lolong” Lazaro, the chairman of the Philippine Constitution Association and who as President Marcos’s key legal adviser drafted many of the decrees the chief executive issued during 14 years of Martial Law. Many of those decrees have not been amended, proof of the vitality and value of those landmark pieces of legislation.
Lolong has used his vast experience, expertise and network as a corporate executive and legal luminary to protect and defend the Constitution and seek justice for his clients.
He is the lawyer’s lawyer, steeped in the practice and principles of law, honed by the crucible of experience both in government and outside it, and steeled by the wisdom of one who has seen it all.
Under Lolong’s watch, Philconsa has become prominent as the defender and protector of the basic law of the land, a voice of influence and wisdom, on matters of law, freedom and democracy.