MANILA, Philippines - Both the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and the administration Team PNoy coalition urged Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia yesterday to identify the financiers of their surveys.
UNA campaign manager Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco accused SWS of refusing to disclose the funders of its surveys, which he said was a violation of a resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“We have formally written them asking them to disclose their subscribers who are paying for the surveys, but they refused,” Tiangco said.
For his part, Team PNoy spokesman Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo said the administration coalition is supporting UNA’s call for pollsters to disclose their subscribers and funders.
“But the more important issue to us is the result of their surveys, not who is subscribing to these opinion polls. We are leading 9-3 in the latest SWS survey and 8-4 in the Pulse Asia poll,” Quimbo said.
Tiangco said they are not questioning the survey results but UNA is taking issue with SWS for its alleged refusal to reveal its survey financiers.
“We subscribed to the first SWS survey in November, but now we are subscribing to Pulse Asia, whose latest poll is more favorable to us,” he said.
Quimbo said Team PNoy candidates Bam Aquino and Grace Poe were the biggest gainers in the latest surveys, while two to three UNA candidates were the biggest losers.
He said Poe’s ranking shot up despite UNA’s decision to drop her as guest candidate, along with senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda.
Tiangco conceded to Quimbo’s statement, saying UNA candidates Gregorio Honasan and Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile shed some points due to the controversies that hounded Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the “three kings” of the alliance.
Honasan is closely identified with the Senate President who has an eyesight problem, and has since limited his appearance in UNA’s campaign sorties.
“But another big loser is Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV of Team PNoy,” Tiangco said.
UNA described Bam’s sudden good showing in poll surveys as like a “God Save the Prince!” operation.
Tiangco said the latest survey figures showed some statistical variances that may have been brought about by progressive political choreograph. He said some unseen hands were behind the “big gains” that benefited Bam.
With 63 more days to go before the elections, Tiangco said jockeying for position has intensified among the candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) coalition who want to make it to the Magic 12.
“The LP has to save itself from embarrassment and secure its position in the 2013 elections. Even those in Team PNoy are aware that dumping is a political reality in their slate, and that they have to contend with as the election draws closer,” he said.
Tiangco said the extraordinary rise of Aquino in the surveys has raised big questions on whether or not the LP has begun canceling out its own senatorial bets to favor the President’s cousin.
In the latest Pulse survey, Bam is the biggest gainer with 42 percent, placing 4th-9th in February, from 13th-15th in January.
His father, Paul Aquino, was a campaign manager of former President Gloria Arroyo during the 2004 and 2007 elections.
Tiangco said Bam and his father should tell the public if they believed Arroyo cheated the late Fernando Poe Jr.
“Bam should also explain why he did not quit as chairman of the National Youth Commission under GMA,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tiangco said it has been a surprise that LP campaign manager Franklin Drilon remained silent on Macabangkit Lanto’s appointment to the Comelec.
“Up to now the Search Committee and Drilon have suddenly remained quiet. We also wonder what is Drilon’s plan B now that Lanto has given in to the public’s clamor for him to decline the Comelec post. Lanto would have been the missing piece in Drilon’s dream equation of a 12-0 win,” he said.
Tiangco said the Feb. 24-28 Pulse Asia survey is a useful gauge for every candidate to see the bigger picture and for the coalition to work harder and get its message across.
The UNA campaign manager challenged Quimbo to answer whether or not the administration party actually subscribed and commissioned the Feb. 15-18 SWS survey.
Tiangco said the LP should not gloat over the latest survey figures since the scores are not so far apart and the rankings are constantly moving.
“The LP is only telling one side of the story based on the Pulse Asia survey. They would never acknowledge that the 8-4 they are suggesting can easily turn out to be a 6-6 because Dick Gordon and Migz Zubiri are within the 11-16 range, which means that within that particular period when the survey was conducted, Gordon and Zubiri have a big chance of landing in Number 11 and 12,” he said.
Quimbo said Tiangco appeared to be unfairly judging Bam on the basis of guilt by association.
“UNA is attacking our candidates when they are making a good showing in surveys,” he said.
Meanwhile, Team PNoy candidates who did not fare well in the latest Pulse Asia survey were not discouraged by the result, and saw it as a challenge to work even harder during the campaign.
Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, who went from 11th place in January to 13th in February, said the race for the bottom half of the so-called Magic 12 is very competitive, and rankings remain fluid.
However, Pulse Asia indicated that Angara was still within the 10 to 15-range, which the senatorial aspirant viewed positively.
Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, who remained in 18th place, said the result only inspires her to fight harder to get her message across.
Another Team PNoy candidate who did not make it to the top 12 of the Pulse Asia survey was former senator Ramon Magsaysay, who remained at number 17. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Marvin Sy