MANILA, Philippines - A party-list congresswoman highly critical of President Gloria Arroyo and a Marine colonel detained for involvement in a failed mutiny against the government were the biggest gainers in the latest survey of senatorial candidates conducted by polling firm Pulse Asia.
Liberal Party's Risa Hontiveros Baraquel jumped nearly 9-percentage points in Pulse Asia's April 23-25 survey, moving her within striking distance of getting into the winning circle of 12 senators for the May 10 elections.
Support for Hontiveros, an incumbent representative of Akbayan party, increased from 11% in end of May to 20% in the April survey, which means she could have placed from 11th to 18th if senatorial elections were held on the day the survey was held.
Hontiveros's 8.5-percentage point gain was the biggest among 61 individuals running for senator.
Hontiveros came out the winner in audience and on-line voters in ABS-CBN's Harapan senatorial debate on April 19, or before four days before the start of Pulse Asia's latest survey.
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She performed well against Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) senatorial bet Francisco "Kit" Tatad on their debate about reproductive health.
The Harapan debate was shown on ABS-CBN's free TV, Channel 2; its 24-hour news channel, ANC; and, Studio 23.
The second biggest gainer in the survey was detained Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, who jumped from 10% in end of March to 17.5% in April.
Querubin's TV ads with Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar were widely shown prior to and during the survey period.
Querubin, with a low awareness rating of 64%, was chosen by 17.5% of survey respondents.
If Querubin makes it to the Senate, it would duplicate the astonishing feat of then detained Navy Lt. Antonio Trillanes IV, who won in 2007, despite being detained on charges of rebellion and coup d'etat.
Hontiveros and Querubin were the new names in a race that has been dominated by incumbent senators and re-electionists.
Dominated by incumbents, reelectionists
The top 15 in Pulse Asia's latest senatorial survey were:
Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. - 52.8%
Jinggoy Estrada - 50%
Miriam Santiago - 47.9%
Juan Ponce Enrile - 40.6%
Franklin Drilon - 38.4%
Pia Cayetano - 38.1%
Vicente "Tito" Sotto - 32.3%
Sergio Osmeña - 32.2%
Ralph Recto - 30.1%
Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos - 27.7%
Teofisto "TG" Guingona III - 23%
Manuel "Lito" Lapid - 21%
Risa Hontiveros Baraquel - 20.2%
Jose "Joey" de Venecia - 19.6%
Gwen Pimentel - 19.2%
"Of the 61 individuals, running for senator, 18 have a statistical chance of winning if the May 2010 elections were held during the survey period. Five of the probable winners are from the Liberal Party (LP), three from either the Nacionalista Party (NP) or the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), and two are with the Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats," Pulse Asia said in its April 30 media release.
The survey was done among 1,800 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus/minus 2%.