MANILA, Philippines - The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is elated but not confident over the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on the rankings of senatorial candidates for the May 2013 midterm elections.
UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco and senatorial candidate Ernesto Maceda believe it is the popularity of Vice President Jejomar Binay that is the major factor in the increasing number of their candidates getting into the "Magic 12" in pre-election surveys.
"It is really the pulling power of the Vice President," Tiangco said.
The administration coalition, which now goes by the name Team Pinoy, is anchoring their bets’ winning stance on President Benigno Aquino III.
Tiangco said that although the survey shows eight of their candidates landing in the top 12, it's too early to tell who will win in the May elections.
"We shouldn't look at it as a PR tool. Dapat as an analytical tool," he said.
He said the survey serves as a guide to assess candidates' strengths and weaknesses and not a determining factor on who is winning or losing.
The survey was also conducted at the time that the UNA advertisements were aired during primetime programs on television.
Three of their senatorial candidates - Jack Enrile, Nancy Binay and Richard Gordon - saw their ratings drop in the latest survey compared to the previous SWS survey in November 2012.
Gordon, in particular, has dropped out of the top 12 in the new SWS survey.
Migs Zubiri, JV Ejercito and Gringo Honasan, are still part of the top 12 but the increase in their ratings were not significant as well.
Tiangco said they couldn't say whether the TV ads were effective or not.
"May mga margin of errors naman yan eh, di pa natin masasabi kung nakasama o nakabuti. We hope na nakabuti," he said.
He said 4 of the administration candidates who made it to the Magic 12 were not actually real members of the ruling Liberal Party. "It is not LP members who are part of the 12, it's LP Coalition, but LP members [per se], there is none," he said.
He is referring to Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Koko Pimentel, and Antonio Trillanes, and Rep. Cynthia Villar who made it to the top 12. They are from other political parties who made an alliance with the administration.
Maceda, for his part, said the real test of the reliability of the surveys will come in the three weeks before the actual elections.
'Not daang matuwid'
Tiangco reiterated that reelectionist senators and UNA and Team Pinoy common candidates Chiz Escudero and Loren Legarda are always welcome to campaign with them whenever they are free.
Legarda and Escudero occupy the top two spots in the latest SWS survey.
Tiangco said they are not imposing any rules on their common candidates with regard to campaigning for the other coalition.
"Malinaw ang [agenda] namin. Hindi namin sinabi na kami ay daang matuwid. Sabi namin kami ay daang maganda," he said.