MANILA, Philippines - Former President Joseph Estrada and Sen. Manny Villar on Saturday downplayed the results of the latest presidential survey of Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) which had Sen. Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III regaining the lead over his closest rival.
The Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) presidential bet, who went around Quezon province, said commissioned polls are often biased for those who paid for the surveys.
"Kapag ang nagpa-survey LP, mataas si Noynoy. Kapag nagpa-survey NP (Nacionalista Party), malakas si [Sen. Manny] Villar. Kami wala kaming pampayad sa survey kaya mahina kami (If the survey is commissioned by the LP, Noynoy is leading. If it's commissioned by the NP, Villar is strong. Those who have no money to pay for surveys are usually lagging behind)," Estrada said.
Last year, Estrada said he would rely on survey results before choosing whether to run or who to support.
However, the former president, whose 6-year term was cut short in 2001 by a military-backed urban uprising, clarified that he also believes in surveys.
"Malayo pa, hindi pa masyadong credible iyan because marami pa ang undecided. They (voters) can always change their minds," Estrada said.
Villar: What's TNS?
Villar, for his part, said he is not actually familiar with Taylor Nelson Sofres, the firm that conducted the survey. He believes that he is still gaining on Aquino due to the warm public reception in his campaign sorties.
Villar was in Cebu on Saturday where he greeted and shook hands with people at a market in Lapu-Lapu City and at the Pasil Fish Port in Cebu City.
Despite his unfamiliarity with the firm that conducted the survey, the Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer said he would still respect the survey's results.
"Hindi ko alam kung ano ang TNS, ngayon ko lang narinig yan, pero ok lang sa akin. May mga surveys na ako ang lamang, meron naman si Noynoy. Ginagalang ko naman lahat yan. Ang ginagawa ko ina-average ko sila. So, siguro ok naman din yan. Di ko lang alam kung ano yan pero ok din naman siguro yan," he said.
Taylor Nelson Sofres is a global market research firm with an office in the Philippines.
Villar also greeted Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and asked for his blessings. Vidal said he has known Villar for a long time.
Villar told Cebuanos that if elected president, he will focus on alleviating poverty.
Aquino leads by 11 percentage points
The January 28 to February 3 survey said Aquino was chosen by 41.54% of 3,000 respondents while Villar was picked by 30.63%. Estrada placed third with only 11.66%. (Read: Noynoy regains lead over Villar in new survey)
Aquino thus had an 11 percentage point lead over Villar and a 30 percentage point lead over Estrada.
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 LP bet garnering 37% and the NP standard-bearer getting 35%. (Read: Aquino, Villar tied in Pulse Asia survey)
Administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD was fourth with 5.21%, the same as in the last Pulse Asia survey, while Bro. Eddie Villanueva got 2%, Senator Richard Gordon got 1.7%, Senator Jamby Madrigal got 0.22%, also statistically the same as what they got in the January 22 to 26 Pulse Asia survey. -- with reports from Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News; Reno Tallada, ABS-CBN Cebu