MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis Pangilinan of the Liberal Party (LP) described as "part of the dirty tricks" the latest result of a survey that reportedly showed Sen. Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party (NP) as the leading candidate in the presidential race.
Last week, Atty. Mike Toledo, campaign manager of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, was quoted saying that a Campaigns and Images Inc. survey showed Villar number 1, administration candidate Gilbert 'Gibo' Teodoro number 2, and Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III of the LP number 3.
The report claimed the survey was allegedly commissioned by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
But in a statement on Monday, the PPCRV denied they had commissioned the survey.
PPCRV chair Ambassador Henrietta de Villa said it has never been the policy of PPCRV to commission, participate or be involved in any survey whatsoever, nor has it authorized any group to do so.
"We express concern on this clear effort to mislead the public," Pangilinan told reporters who attended a briefing at the Liberal Party press office at the 3rd floor of VGP building in Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
Pangilinan said that the opponents of the LP tandem are using dirty tactics to shift the public's attention.
LP senatorial aspirant, Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, said the latest spin to the story is a clear indication of the alliance between the Villar's camp and Malacañang.
"Sa totoo, si Villar ang nakikinabang sa spin," said Hontiveros.
Atty. Alex Lacson, another LP senatorial aspirant said, "marami na talagang senyales ng Villarroyo alliance."
Secret weapon vs Pacman?
Pangilinan also said the LP was briefed a few days ago by Pulse Asia on their recent, still unpublicized survey, but he refused to disclose details about it.
"Sa Pulse Asia na lang kayo magtanong. Ang masasabi ko lang ay masaya kami sa resulta", said Pangilinan, grinning in front of reporters.
Pangilinan, husband of Megastar Sharon Cuneta, was also asked if there's any celebrity that LP is lining up to match the presence of Pacquiao in Villar's campaign.
He smiled and said: "Balak sana namin si Clottey, kaso natiklo, hindi nanalo."
But tongue-in-cheek, Pangilinan added: "Di namin ilalabas ang secret namin".
Teodoro brushes off 'dirty tricks' tag
Meanwhile, Teodoro brushed off the "dirty tricks" accusation of Aquino's camp.
Teodoro was in Aklan on Monday to open the Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet in the town of Makato.
He also held a dialogue with students and teachers in Kalibo.
The administration candidate said he prefers to be number one on election day rather than rely on survey results.
Teodoro also belied former President Joseph Estrada's claim that members of Lakas-Kampi-CMD have signified interest switching parties.
"If they jump ship, they probably are not worthy of the support of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD," he said.
Fifteen of the 17 mayors of Aklan are members of the administration party, as well as the governor and congressman who will be running unopposed.
The town of Makato has adopted Teodoro as its "honorary citizen." Teodoro believes he will be able to capture the Aklanon vote. -- with reports from Jorge Cariño, and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News