Davao's Duterte is the biggest winner

By Harvey S. Keh

Posted at Mar 24 2015 11:34 PM | Updated as of Mar 26 2015 08:52 PM

The recent Pulse Asia 2016 National Elections survey showing Mayor Rody Duterte of Davao City in 3rd place with a 12% rating among possible Presidential candidates was both surprising and expected.

It was surprising because this was Duterte’s first entry into the 2016 Presidential derby considering that he has never ran for any national position in the last elections.

It was expected because the main issue at hand is the poor handling of the Mamasapano incident by the present administration thus, many Filipinos would naturally want a leader who is known to govern with an iron fist.

He is the biggest winner in this latest survey and if national security and public safety continues to be the main issue in the coming months leading to the elections, then you can expect his numbers to continue to go up.

Binay is another winner

Another important result worth noting in this survey is Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s numbers have apparently stopped going down despite the continued Senate investigation of the different alleged scams in Makati City. He continues to lead the latest survey with 29% of Filipinos saying that they would vote him for President.

For the meantime, it looks like he has weathered the political storm that threatened to end his dream of landing in Malacanang this coming 2016. This is perhaps due to the fact that the Mamasapano incident has taken the limelight away from the on-going investigation thus, not many people follow it anymore.

Also, many people have also said that it might be good to already wrap up the Senate investigation on this issue since it has already drawn out for more than 6 months. If Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes want Binay’s numbers to continue to go down, they might have to look for other corruption issues to throw at the Vice President.

An Erap-Poe team-up?

Two other possible possible Presidential bets are holding steady at second and third place.

Many people thought that Senator Grace Poe would eventually skyrocket and catch Binay at the top but her numbers have gone down from 18% last November to 14% in the latest survey. Despite this, Poe is still in 2nd place albeit a far second from Binay who leads her by 15%.

Former President and current Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada continues to figure well in the survey as his numbers have climbed from 10% to 12%. Given the close relationship that Estrada has with Poe’s late father, it wouldn’t be farfetched if they decide to join forces in the 2016 elections and give the current frontrunner a run for his money. Their combined rating of 26% would be enough to statistically tie Binay in the surveys.

Will it happen? Is Estrada still eligible to run for another term as President? Only time will tell.

How about Mar Roxas?

Given these scenarios, where does this leave the present administration and its candidate?

Right now, majority of the leaders of the ruling Liberal Party and its allies continue to believe that President Noynoy Aquino will eventually choose current DILG Sec. Mar Roxas as his candidate. Roxas is competent, has a proven track record of public service that is unblemished by any corruption scandal and has good leadership skills to become the next President of our country.

Unfortunately, majority of Filipinos do not see this as evidenced by his poor performance in the latest survey where he garnered only 4%. Does he still stand a chance? I believe so and here is why.

When Aquino won in 2010, he got 42% of the total votes cast. If we are to follow his latest satisfaction and performance rating survey, there are still 38% who continue to approve of the President’s performance.

Thus, for the sake of argument, we can say that he still has 38% of the 42% who voted for him. This would translate to 16% of Filipinos who will most likely support the candidate that Aquino will endorse. If we add this to Roxas’ current rating, then he would end up with 20% which would already be a good start when campaign season formally begins next year.

Whether Roxas can build on this and come from behind to win is another question altogether but he should definitely hope that Aquino's ratings stop declining as this would give him a better shot at winning in 2016.

As things stand, there is still so much that can happen in our country that can shift the current political configuration. Let us remember that at this time in the last 2010 Presidential elections, Aquino wasn’t even among those whom people considered to be a Presidential candidate, but as history unfolded before our eyes, he eventually overtook everyone to become our President.

Who knows? Maybe history will repeat itself and find another unassuming leader to lead our nation in 2016.

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Comments are welcome at [email protected]

Harvey S. Keh is the Executive Director of the Institute for Governance and Strategic Partnerships and the Executive Director of the Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.