Senator Manuel 'Mar' Roxas II gained ground in the latest opinion poll of Pulse Asia, allowing him to join a pack of five leading candidates for president in the 2010 elections.
Based on the May 4-17 survey of Pulse Asia, the race remains tight with Vice-President Noli de Castro, Senator Francis Escudero, former President Joseph Estrada, Senator Manuel Villar, and Roxas in a statistical tie.
De Castro was chosen by 18% of respondents; Escudero was chosen by 17%; Estrada by 15%; Villar by 14%; and, Roxas by 13%.
The survey has a margin of error of plus/minus 3%.
"If the May 2010 elections were held today, [these] five individuals would garner the same percentages of votes cast," according to Pulse Asia Inc. Chief Research Fellow Ana Maria Tabunda.
Roxas was the biggest gainer from the February 2009 survey, gaining 5 points.
Senator Loren Legarda was sixth with 7% in a statistical tie with Senator Panfilo Lacson (4%) and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay (4%).
They were followed by Senator Richard Gordon (1%), business tycoon Manny Pangilinan (1%), Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno (1%), and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro (1%).
The survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above.
Respondents were asked to choose their preference for president from a list of 16 names.
Survey leaders react
Roxas, for his part, said that his rise in the survey mirrored the success of his pro-poor programs.
"Nararamdaman na ng taumbayan ang aking pakikipaglaban para sa mahihirap... Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga taong naniniwalang mababago ko hindi lang ang kanilang mga buhay kundi ang pamamalakad ng ating bansa," Roxas said in a statement.
"Malaki ang utang na loob na tinatanaw ko sa taumbayan, lalo na sa aking mga kababayan mula sa Visayas na patuloy na sumusuporta sa akin," he added.
De Castro also thanked his supporters, and said that he will continue to devote his efforts towards helping build the nation.
"My heartfelt thanks to our people as their trust in me has not wavered. In return, I will work doubly hard in performing my duties as Vice President, chairman of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), OFW presidential adviser and chairman of Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (TFAIR)," he said in a statement.
"Instead of engaging in partisan politics, I will continue to devote my efforts toward nation building and developing the economy. The people's support inspires me to come up with programs that are more beneficial to our countrymen, especially the poor," he said.
"Good governance and sacrificing our own interest should be the core of every socio-economic blue print for progres," he added.
Binay, meanwhile, said the new survey results showed that Filipinos are now seeing how he has run Makati City.
"Nakita ng mga kababayan natin ang bunga ng wasto at tapat na pamamahala sa Makati. At may tiwala sila na kung nagawa sa Makati ay kayang gawin sa buong bansa," he said in a statement.