MANILA, Philippines - Bagumbayan presidential candidate Richard Gordon on Tuesday threatened to sue survey groups, saying they did not ask his permission to include his name in pre-election surveys.
Speaking to ANC, Gordon admitted that polls showing him lagging behind in the presidential race are affecting his candidacy.
"We don't know how the questions are framed. We don't know the methodology or what the system is. We know it's a form of mental conditioning. We didn't give permission to have our names to be placed there or our names to be published. It's very, very unfair to us," he said.
Gordon said his lawyers are mulling the filing of a damage suit against institutions such as Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations because of the effect of the pre-election surveys on his campaign.
He said the lawsuit is meant to protect his rights as a candidate "to run and let my message be known without any hindrance from survey groups who do not really have my permission to conduct surveys on me, let alone to publish how I am faring in their surveys."
He said he chose to pursue his bid for the presidency despite the lack of resources only to be thwarted by the pre-election surveys that showed he is lagging behind in the race.
A Pulse Asia March 21-28 survey earlier showed Gordon getting only 2% of voting preference, compared to survey frontrunners Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino III (37%), Manuel “Manny” Villar (25%), former president Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada (18%), and Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro (7%).
A Social Weather Stations survey conducted on March 28-30 also revealed the following scores in the presidential race: Aquino (37%), Villar (29%), Estrada (17%), Teodoro (8%), Eduardo Villanueva (2%), Gordon (2%), John Carlos De Los Reyes (0.2%), Jesus Nicanor Perlas (0.1%), and Jamby Madrigal (0.1%).
In response, Pulse Asia chief research fellow Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda said she knew of no law that prohibits the conduct of pre-election surveys and the publishing of the names of the presidential candidates.
Tabunda said Gordon's reaction is common among candidates who lag in the surveys. "I cannot blame them because when they do their sorties and their rallies, they get warm response. But what they don't get is that the people who go to their sorties and rallies are their supporters. They are not seeing those who are not normally supporting them," she said.
She admitted though that funders often look at survey results on which candidate they would rather support. She added, however, that the surveys could be used as a check on possible election cheating since the electorate would have an idea on the probable results on election day.