MANILA, Philippines - Mudslinging and black propaganda in the May 10 presidential polls may have increased the undecided voters.
Pulse Asia surveys show an increase in undecided plus "refused to answer" survey respondents from 3% in January to 6% in February to 9% in March or nearly 1 in 10 voters in the latest survey.
According to Pulse Asia's chief research fellow Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, many voters are apparently getting turned off by the negative campaigns being done by some of the rival camps.
There's the Liberal Party's accusation that Sen. Manny Villar is the "secret" candidate of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as captured by the tag, "Villaroyo." Villar's claim that he came from humble beginnings has also been debunked.
There's also the claim that President Arroyo is not supporting the administration's official candidate, Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro.
The most recent mudslinging hit leading presidential bet Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III after a fake Ateneo de Manila University psychology department went viral and charged that the bachelor candidate was not mentally healthy.
"Naiinis sa mudslinging, naiinis sa black propaganda...Ang negative campaigning ay hindi talaga acceptable sa mga tao," Tabunda said.
Liberal Party vice-presidential bet Mar Roxas said it wasn't the LP which started the mudslinging.
"Sino ba ang nagma-mudsling? Ni minsan ba, may lumabas sa bibig ni Sen. Noynoy Aquino na kahit anong maitim na panalita o maanghang na pananalita?" he asked.
Loren Legarda, running mate of Villar, said she's saddened that the number of undecided voters is rising as more mud is thrown around by the candidates.
"Nagsimula sila mula last year pa, walang ginawa kundi blogs at text na milyon-milyon piso ang ginugugol, puro pananira na lang," she complained.
Tabunda said it would be benefit voters if candidates elevate the quality of the campaign.
She said the undecided voters could rise even more as mudslinging worsens among the leading presidential bets. -- report from Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News