MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III has regained the lead over Sen. Manuel Villar in the latest presidential survey conducted January 28-February 3 by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).
According to the TNS survey obtained by ABS-CBN News' Ces Oreña Drilon, Aquino was chosen by 41.54% of 3,000 respondents while Villar was picked by 30.63%.
TNS is a global market research firm with an office in the Philippines.
Aquino and Villar were statistically tied in a Pulse Asia survey conducted from January 22 -26, or around a week before the TNS survey, with the Liberal Party bet garnering 37% and the Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer getting 35%. (Read: Aquino, Villar tied in Pulse Asia survey)
Third in the Jan. 28-Feb. 3 TNS survey was former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) with 11.66%, statistically the same as in the last Pulse Asia survey where he got 12%.
Administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD was fourth with 5.21%, the same as in the last Pulse Asia survey.
Bro. Eddie Villaneuva got 2%, Senator Richard Gordon got 1.7%, Senator Jamby Madrigal got 0.22%, also statistically the same as what they received in the January 22 to 26 Pulse Asia survey.
Villar ethics case as factor
The TNS survey was done around a week after a heated controversy over Villar's ethics case erupted in the Senate, which could be one reason for the changes in the ratings of the two leading presidential candidates.
The Senate committee of the whole's report accusing Villar of unethical conduct in connection with the C-5 road extension project was taken up during the plenary on January 25. The committee had ordered him to return over P6 billion in government funds that were allegedly wasted for the project. (Read: Senators clash in plenary over Villar ethics case)
On January 26, Senate President Enrile also accused Villar of trying to bribe him to change his stand on the issue. (Read: Enrile claims Villar tried to buy him off)
The Senate, however, failed to act on the report after Villar's supporters failed to show up on the last session day of the 14th Congress.
NP downplays survey results
The TNS survey was apparently commissioned by the Aquino camp.
Asked for his comment, NP spokesman and senatorial bet Gilbert Remulla said the report does not disclose how the questions were phrased and whether they were slanted for or against any candidate
"Alam namin na ito ay galing sa Liberal Party. Ayaw nilang banggitin 'yung pangalan eh. Dahil doon, hindi rin namin alam kung ano 'yung mga tanong, kung ano ang slant n'yan, kaya sa ganon ay hihintayin na lang namin ang magiging resulta ng survey ng SWS at Pulse Asia," Remulla said.
("We know this was commissioned by the Liberal Party. They don't want to disclose the name. We also do not know the questions, whether these were slanted...So, we'll just wait for the results of SWS [Social Weather Stations] and Pulse Asia.")
According to the TNS website, it first set up an office in the Philippines in 1983. It offers "full service operations covering all aspects of marketing research and consulting" and claims to be "No. 1 in the Philippines for customised market research."
"Almost 30 years of research experience has made us experts in understanding the Philippines trade and consumer environment. These insights are critical to helping our clients make their important business decisions," TNS Philippines says.
"TNS Philippines offers in-house field and data processing services backed by stringent quality control procedures to make sure the analysis and recommendations we deliver are accurate and timely," the firm says on its website. – report from Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News